Oxford student Michael has been summoned to the will reading of his old music teacher, Miss Callahan, in the remote West of Ireland. But not everyone is pleased to see him return. As mourners gather around the deceased, secrets Michael thought were long buried are unearthed, and with them a past he realises he can never escape…
Quietly compelling and deeply chilling, The Wake is a haunting story about the inescapable power the dead continue to wield over the living.
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was inspired to write an immersive ghost story after watching the stage play version of The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. I decided to set the story during a traditional Irish event, the wake, which usually takes place the night before an Irish funeral. I thought this would be a very creepy setting for my ghost story.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I wanted my protogonist, Michael, to be very skilled and talented but also have many flaws. I thought this mix of strengths and weaknesses would be very interesting in the face of a ghostly presence. I chose the name Michael because I think it is very Irish-sounding but also universally known.
The room grew quieter and quieter, the tapping on the window gently fading, sinking into the background. All he could hear now was his breathing. Except now, his breathing sounded hoarse. He could also hear a deep rattle in his chest, like a smoker’s chest. He closed his eyes and listened to his breathing closely, but the more it slowed, the louder the rattling sounded. He held his hand to his chest, pressing down his palm. It didn’t feel any different. He didn’t feel any rattle. How could this be? He opened his eyes. The room was still empty. And yet the hoarse breathing continued. The sound grew louder, as if someone was gasping for breath. It was close, in the same room. There was gasping from the corner, like someone was being strangled. He looked even closer, but there was no one there. And yet the gasping continued, louder now, just before him, until someone gasped from the armchair. Their last breath: “MIKEY!” He jumped to his feet and stumbled backwards, reaching for the doorframe, but hitting the switch instead. The chandelier crackled and burst into light. He grabbed the doorframe for support and looked up. The room was empty. The breathing had stopped. Nobody was there. He wiped the sweat from his forehead. Maybe Molly was right. Maybe he was away with the fairies after all. He flicked the switch and left the room in darkness, before heading downstairs to rejoin the wake.
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