Jonathan Broughton on Sussex Horrors

Today we are happy to host author Jonathan Broughton on Sci-FI & Scary as part of the Confessions Publicity Tour for the Sussex Horrors novel. This morning we’re featuring a guest post from the author, but make sure you tune in later for Gracie’s review of Sussex Horrors.

You’ll find Jason’s contact information at the bottom of the page.

Jonathan Broughton on Sussex Horrors

‘Everyone can remember a time when he has carefully searched his curtains, and poked in the dark corners of his room before retiring to rest…’

This quote from MR James, Provost of King’s College, Cambridge and writer of supernatural tales, beckons with that tingle of fear mixed with heady excitement to come a little closer towards the extraordinary.

We react to fear in different ways, especially in stories. It’s very personal and what frightens one person might not frighten another.

My stories in ‘Sussex Horrors’ were written in Hastings on the South coast of England, UK. It is a town full of Regency architecture, some of it rather run down, surrounded by rolling wooded countryside.

Whenever I travelled on the train, I was always surprised by the wildness of the woods and the untamed nature of the fields and hedgerows that we passed. Who saw these places, except those of us who looked out of the window? Who went there? Who knew what lay beyond those trees, that dip in the hillside? There are old places here unchanged for hundreds of years. And old places have their own special history that we either don’t know about or have forgotten.

In ‘Sussex Horrors,’ ‘Furzby Holt’ is one such forgotten place. A colony of zombies lives out their existence in a remote settlement, but when they are visited by a young man collecting census forms the conflict between the old and the new (and the diseased) exposes gaping chasms of misunderstanding that can never be bridged.

In all of my stories, everybody wants something. Most of them are thwarted by circumstances or the unexpected. ‘The Pensioner Pirates of Marine Parade’ is an exception. Here, Clarissa and Daphne know what they are up against and they are determined to fight back.

This is one of my favourite topics – the plucky individual pitted against faceless bureaucracy. This is my only Sci-Fi story to date, too.

The discussion about old age is very current in the UK. There is an increasingly elderly population living longer and longer without the infrastructure in place to take care of them, should they need it.

This is another type of fear. We are all going to grow old, we can see what’s coming towards us, but what is going to happen if we need help? It all, of course, comes down to money. My story offers a solution, but not a very nice one.

Hastings is beautiful in nice weather and wild and exhilarating in the storms. There are far horizons where lightning can sometimes be seen flashing over France, but on other days, thick sea mists roll in to dim the sun and blur the outlines of people and buildings. Such weather events may be dramatic, but they are ‘normal.’

What if ‘normal’ shifts to ‘bizarre, inexplicable?’ I wrote ‘You Have One Message,’ before the Hadron Collider in Lucerne, Switzerland completed its first successful test.

At the time, newspaper articles were rife with scare stories about the possible emergence of Black Holes because of the scientists’ meddling with the laws of quantum physics. What if… it went wrong? I set the story in Hastings, but the impact of such a calamity would be world-wide. And who knew what might happen if the experiment failed and disaster struck?

Fear and horror affects all of us in different ways. It’s good to be scared, sometimes. Fear has helped our species to stay in existence for tens of thousands of years, because anything might happen to us at any time.

It’s still a wise idea, even in today’s world, to check the darkest corners of our room.

Three Sussex authors … Twelve horror stories.

Take a terrifying journey to a coastline associated with candyfloss and amusement arcades, and see it stripped to the bone.

Whether it’s seagulls that prove to be more than a nuisance, the mysterious inhabitants of a forgotten village, or a fisherman whose Easter eggs are not for consumption, the horrors are always there … and much closer than we care to admit.

Stories include:

Mark Cassell’s
– The Rebirth
– The Commission
– Demon Alcohol
– Away in a Mangler

Jonathan Broughton’s
– The Stealth of Spiders
– You Have One Message
– Furzby Holt
– The Pensioner Pirates of Marine Parade

Rayne Hall’s
– Seagulls
– Normal, Considering the Weather
– Scruples
– Double Rainbows

Please note: Some stories contain moderate blood and gore.

My Amazon Author page:

My Facebook page:

And my Twitter handle:  @jb121jonathan

6 thoughts on “Jonathan Broughton on Sussex Horrors

  1. Yes, you’re right Rayne. The house I lived in was built in eighteen-sixty-three as were all the houses along my street. So I’ve always associated Hastings with that sort of era, when it was ‘the’ seaside town to visit. Much of it is though, of course, much older.

  2. Yes, I also noticed that when travelling by train. Even though Britain (and especially the South East) is generally built-up and has a high population density, there are these vast expanses of lush semi-wild green in Sussex. Mostly pasture for sheep and cows and farmed fields, but even those have an untamed aspect to them. Anything could happen there, among the peacefully gracing sheep…. 😀

    1. Hi Olga. The Conquest Hospital in Hastings is now up on The Ridge. Interesting to hear that it used to be in St Leonards. Most towns and cities change over the years, but I think a lot of Hastings is much the same as it was when it was first developed at the end of the 19th Century – it has a faded elegance which is fun to write about.

      1. Isn’t Hastings older than the end of the 19th century? St Leonards started at the beginning of the 19th century, and I believe Hastings is older. Or am I mistaken? (Maybe I’m just confused and need a second cup of morning coffee before I read blog comments, lol.)

        1. I think you’re right, Rayne. I guess I ‘m referring to the end of the 19th Century when Hastings became a very fashionable seaside town. Certainly, the house I live in was built in eighteen sixty three. In fact my whole street was built in that year, so I’ve always associated Hastings with that period of time.

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