Lancashire lad and best-selling author Joseph Delaney has always been interested by the county’s mythical and magical past.
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW
That’s what everyone tells you when you start writing fiction, write what you know, and as a Lancashire lad through and through Joseph Delaney has certainly put the magical history of the county on the world literary map with his stories that have inspired a generation of young readers. “Lancashire is what I know,” explains Joe, “and I’m very lucky that it is a place with a lot of atmosphere. There are some wonderful Lancashire folk tales, stories about witches, the devil and even boggarts.”
Most people have heard of Lancashire witches, especially the famous Pendle and Samlesbury Witches and the event of the Lancaster Assizes in August 1612 but few have heard of boggarts – unless you are one of Joseph Delaney’s millions of dedicated readers. A boggart is one name for a mischievous household spirit in English folklore. They are believed to have caused things to disappear, for milk to turn sour, and for animals to mysteriously go lame. Boggarts, believed to inhabit marshes or holes in the ground are sometimes thought to cause nasty things to happen. “It all started for me with a boggart,” chuckles Joe, “in 1982 my wife and I moved into a house in a Lancashire village which was supposed to have one. At the time I didn’t really think much about it, but I remember writing down ‘boggart’ in an old notebook, then years later in the year 2000, when I was thinking of things to write about I came across the notebook again, and it inspired me to start writing my ‘Spooks’ series of books for children.”
The Wardstone Chronicles, set in the county of Lancashire, also known as the Spooks series of stories follow a character called Tom Ward, who is a seventh son of a seventh son, on his adventures as apprentice to a local “Spook” or master fighter of supernatural evil as he tackles ghosts, ghasts, witches and boggarts!
LIFE BEFORE SPOOKS!
As with many successful writers, literature was not Joseph’s first career. When Joe left school, he became an apprentice engineer and fitter before going back to study for his ‘A’ Levels at night school before attending Lancaster University to undertake a degree. He then went on to teach at Blackpool Sixth Form College where he spent 29 happy years. “It is true,” says Joe, “I didn’t have instant success with my writing, in fact it took my agent twelve years to get my first book published. So, there’s hope for everyone. Don’t give up.”
Joes latest book, Aberrations, which is out this spring will not disappoint his army of young, and not so young readers and will clearly also appeal to those not familiar with Delaney’s work. Aberrations is set around ancient Lancaster and local fans will be delighted to see our history at the heart of the pages of the writings of Joseph Delaney. Dark magic is at play in Aberrations as The Shole, an eerie magical mist, slowly creeps towards Lancaster Castle, enveloping everything in its wake, bringing eternal winter to its terrified inhabitants. We follow a young lad called Crafty on his journey from the midst of The Shole to Daylight World and his destiny.