Sidmouth author pens ‘creepy’ debut novel Crone

Sidmouth Gifts owner Jeannie Alderdice

Sidmouth Gifts owner Jeannie Alderdice - Credit: Archant

Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of places - and for a debut Sidmouth novelist it was stuck in traffic looking into the foliage of a hedge, imagining an old woman’s face staring back at her.

The artwork for Jeannie Wycherley's Crone by Jennie Rawlings at Serifim

The artwork for Jeannie Wycherley's Crone by Jennie Rawlings at Serifim - Credit: Archant

It was an image that stayed with Jeannie Wycherley and became the starting point for Crone, a creepy mystery and literary thriller set in East Devon.

She renamed the towns and villages and re-imagined some of the buildings, but Sidmouth, Ottery St Mary, Wiggaton and Feniton all figured largely in her mind as she wrote, and the waxing and waning of the road past The Bowd to Wiggaton is a really important route in the story.

Jeannie, who owns Sidmouth Gifts with husband John, said: “This is a dream come true for me. I wanted to be a writer when I was a little girl, but real life got in the way. I began writing seriously when I was made redundant in 2012.

“They say write what you love, and for me that’s the horror and dark fantasy genre. I’ve had success with a dozen or so short stories over the past few years, but Crone is my debut novel.

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“It is the twisted tale of an ancient crone who lives deep in the forest and wreaks havoc on the unsuspecting rural community nearby. When a bereaved mother discovers the truth about her son’s ‘accidental’ death, she makes it her mission to destroy this evil. Along the way we meet a number of oddball friends who want to help her solve the mystery of who the crone is and why she’s intent on destruction.

“I’m really proud of it and hope I’ve done it justice.”

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Jeannie said she loves writing flawed and multi-faceted characters and, while she is not currently planning a sequel, she is not sure she is finished with all of the characters.

She is also two-thirds of the way through writing a gothic ghost story set on the Jurassic Coast.

Crone is available in Winstone’s and on Amazon.

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