Introduction to the World of Parklife – Wollaton Hall, Nottingham

I’m working on a novel at the moment, Parklife. It’s a horror story of a group of people trapped inside the stately home, Wollaton Hall, an Elizabethan-era mansion. Volunteer teaching assistant, Chris Moore, must keep his son safe from not only the crazed animals in the surrounding forest, but also the hidden danger within the Hall. You can see a very early concept for a cover to the right (need to get my cover designer on it!)

The idea originally started as a bit of a joke – trapped in by wild animals (mountain lions, poisonous snakes etc.) is fine if you live in a country that has them, but in the UK we just don’t! That led me to imagining what it would be like to be trapped in the UK. What would trap someone in? Rabbits? Squirrels? Not terrifying. But over time, the idea wouldn’t go away, so I thought I’d write it, and as it turns out, there are enough things to be afraid of! Next came the setting. I live in a medium-sized city, Nottingham, and tucked away in the middle of the city, near my house, is Wollaton Hall, an Elizabethan Mansion inside a huge park, complete with animals. So that settled it. Wollaton Hall it was.

Since opening in 1926, Wollaton Hall has been home to the city’s Natural History Museum, with over 750,000 items, including fossils, skeletons, shells and taxidermy, housed within.

Taxidermy on its own is creepy as hell.

Built in 1588, Wollaton Hall is set inside 500 acres of parkland, which is home to herds of red deer and fallow deer (spoiler!) and is home to some huge outdoor music festivals. But what attracted me to the Hall, was its architecture:

It’s big and imposing, and looks awesome early in the morning.
More early morning mist
Look. I had a new camera.

The outside of the hall gets only the briefest of mentions in the book, which is a shame, because I hope the pictures show the potential it has for story-telling. The giant stone steps you can see in the misty picture above feature, in that there is a lot of running up them to get inside the huge wooden door that is at the top to avoid being trampled to death (spoilers). Even the roads in the park look freaky in the early morning!

This is not the first story I have written based in Wollaton Park. It was an early story that appears in A Sinister Six called The Girl in the Park. It’s a good old fashioned ghost story, set in the grounds of the Hall, Wollaton Park. Witness my early attempt at a book cover, before i decided to get clever people to do them for me! You can pick up a copy of A Sinister Six for just 99p, by clicking the image on this page.

Oh, the animals. Right. That’s what I was going to say. How did I make the animals scary? I’ll leave that one for another time. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Introduction to the World of Parklife – Wollaton Hall, Nottingham

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