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Book giveaway: The Visitors Book and other ghost stories

No one leaves - or lives - without signing it. 

In this small but perfectly formed collection of supernatural short stories, bestselling author Sophie Hannah takes the comforting scenes of everyday life and imbues them with a frisson of fear and a gust of terror. 

Read one of the spine-chilling stories, The Last Boy to Leave. In the clamour and chaos of a son's tenth birthday party a mysterious boy lingers...

Meet the author Q&A

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 35 languages. Her titles include the hugely popular psychological thriller series Waterhouse and Zailer, and The Monogram Murders, her recent revival of Agatha Christie's Poirot which was an instant critical and commercial triumph. Sophie Hannah lives in Cambridge with her husband and two children.

What book or books inspired you to write these supernatural short stories? 
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill had a huge impact. But I've been really inspired by movies here. Things like The Sixth Sense, The Others, The Shining and The Innocents which are eerie and otherworldly but also very familiar. 

What drew you to this genre of fiction writing? 

Well, I love the mystery element. To me, all ghost stories seem to be mysteries - except you're not working out who did the murder, you're trying to solve the mystery of the ghost! Who is it? What is it? The two genres seem to me very closely linked.

Do you have any peculiar writing rituals or habits? 

I have a strict routine: looking at equestrian smallholdings in Wiltshire on Rightmove, and ordering at a stack of brochures before I start work, getting into at least two arguments on Twitter with misguided people... No, seriously, I like to change my routine all the time. I try to write each book in a new room (a new house if possible!). I switch and change the hours when I write so that each book has its own time of day.
Has anything spooky ever happened to you in real life?
Yes, absolutely. Once on a ferry in Greece I met a new age spiritual guru. He told me that if I opened my mind to spirituality I would see signs very soon, and that there was a mystical dimension to life. During the return journey, I spilt a whole bottle of blue shampoo in my gym bag and put off cleaning it up until I got home. When I got back and opened the bag, guess what? It was totally clean! No leaked shampoo at all! Now, that has to be a sign from on high - there's no other explanation! 

What advice would you offer to aspiring writers of ghost or horror stories?

I'd give the same advice to any writer: tell the story that you and only you can tell. Make it something that no one but you could think of. If it's gripping and original when you write it, others will want to read it. 

Tell us about your latest book
The Visitors Book is a collection of supernatural short stories. I want it to terrify you! The title story, which is how the whole thing started, is about a woman who goes to stay with her boyfriend in Walthamstow. It's an ordinary terraced house but he asks her to sign a visitors book. She accuses him of being pretentious. He accuses her of being a snob. Then she realises that this visitors book is far more sinister than she first imagined.


We have 50 copies of The Visitors Book to give away.

Fill in the form below to apply for your free copy. Don't forget, if you receive a free copy of this book, we kindly ask you to tell us what you thought of it on the discussion thread or write a review for us in our book reviews section

We'll email all those who have been allocated books once the giveaway has closed (on Monday 2 November). 

This giveaway is sponsored by Sort of Books.


Last updated: about 3 years ago