A question which I am frequently asked is “where do you get your ideas from?” In many cases something occurs to me and I jot it down for future reference and expansion. It either works or it doesn’t.
There are occasions when something springs to mind from either a personal experience or maybe related to me by family members when I was a small boy. One of these ideas came to me from my grandfather who was Tamworth’s only professional photographer, upon his return from the Boer War and through to the 1950’s. He had a wealth of unusual stories to tell, one of which spawned my novel ‘Accursed’ many years later.
The Reverend William MacGregor, vicar of Tamworth, was also a keen Egyptologist who made several expeditions to the pyramids, bringing back many of his finds. During the 1920’s he returned with a pair of mummies. My grandfather was requested to photograph them. These formed part of the MacGregor collection in the vicarage until, in the vicar’s own words, they began to “niff a little.” So he gave them a Christian burial within his own grounds. Sadly, many years later, the Vicarage was sold and became a Working Men’s Club with the mummies’ graves lying forgotten beneath the tarmac of the car park.
Surprisingly few, if any, of the local residents knew the story of the mummies. I wrote a magazine article about these strange events which in due course led to me appearing in a short TV documentary. The landlord of the WMC was far from impressed and commented, “before you know it folks will be digging up the car park!”
Anyway, it was a germ of an idea for a novel. Of course here the mummies were evil, seeking revenge on those who had stolen them from their original last resting place in Egypt.
“Accursed” was first published by New English Library in 1983 and then re-issued by Arrow in 1988.