by S.A.Harris
​ Sally Harris writes as S.A.Harris and is a family law solicitor. Born in Suffolk she now lives and works in Norwich, Norfolk with her husband and three children. Haverscroft is her debut novel and will be published by Salt Publishing on 15th May.
Sally won the Retreat West Crime Writer Competition in 2017. She was runner up in the Brixton BookJam First Chapter Competition and was shortlisted for The Fresher Prize First 500 Words of a Novel Competition in 2018. She was published in their anthology, Monsters, in November 2018.
Sally has always been a reader but after the birth of her third child decided it was time to prioritise her writing. Could she even write? Courses at the U.E.A, Arvon, The National Centre For Writing and The Public House, Norwich followed.
‘The best thing I ever did was to join a writing group. Members come and go but I have made lifelong friends with some who went on to be Haverscroft’s beta readers. They have encouraged, cheered me on and given essential feedback over the time it took for the story to grow and become a novel.’
When she can find time between work and the chaos of family life, Sally is writing her second novel, Silent Goodbye, a supernatural tale set on the Suffolk coast.
Sally is a member of the Society of Authors. You can contact her via Twitter @salharris1, Instagram sallyharris6430 or her author website: https://www.saharrisauthor.com

"I signed with and agent in June 2018 but then in August they decided they wanted significant revisions if I was to work with them. The current story would become less a ghost story and more a thriller. We agreed the Salt offer which had been made in July was better for Haverscroft having regard to the current trend in horror stories. "

The Premise

Kate Keeling leaves all she knows and moves to Haverscroft House in an attempt to salvage her marriage. Little does she realise, Haverscroft’s dark secrets will drive her to question her sanity, her husband and fatally engulf her family unless she can stop the past repeating itself. Can Kate keep her children safe and escape Haverscroft in time, even if it will end her marriage?

Extract from the book

I make much of straightening the duvet and am grateful for the warmth in the bed as I slip in next to Sophie. I can see the door from here. Nothing moves. In the safety of the bedroom, my fright already begins to seem ridiculous.
         ‘Can we keep the light on?’
         Tom’s voice is already heavy with sleep.
         ‘Just for tonight, Tom.’
         I’ve no intention of switching off the lamp.
         ‘Sing our song to us, Mummy?’
         Normally I’d laugh, say they’re too big now for nursery rhymes and baby things.
         ‘ “Sing-a-song of Sixpence”?’
            Sophie nods, burrows deeper into the bed. I mumble the song into my daughter’s warm hair. Riley sneaks back onto the bed and settles himself at the bottom near our feet. I can’t help but strain my ears for every sound the house makes as I sing  
         Less than an hour since I went looking for the knocking sounds. I try and think rationally. No one’s in the house. Just shadows, wind and my overactive imagination. That’s all. It’ll seem absurd in the morning, in the daylight.
         I’m exhausted. Warmth seeps into my cold limbs as I cuddle up to Sophie’s back. Tom’s steady breathing suggests he’s sound asleep already. Riley makes small whistling sounds from the end of the bed. The pressure of him on my feet is surprisingly reassuring. I’m doubtful though, he’ll be much of a guard dog, judging by his behaviour so far. I let the song fade to nothing and hope sleep will come quickly. Sophie mumbles, her words blurring into sleep.
         ‘Who are the people in the empty bedroom, Mummy?’

 Path to publication with Salt
Haverscroft was submitted by an intermediary to two publishers, but he was not Sally's agent. Andrew McDonnell of Gatehouse Press started a Saturday morning novel writing workshop in January 2018. He volunteered to send Haverscroft to two publishers. The first rejected the novel, but Salt immediately offered publication. The whole process took only a matter of weeks. 

Haverscroft is a ghost story, but running through the heart of the novel is the story of Kate, a wife, mother and lawyer trying to salvage her marriage after a one-night-stand with her husband’s boss. Salt wanted good writing, literary in style, but perhaps more commercial than some of their back titles.
The journey to reach that submission stage however had of course been longer. Sally first started writing the novel just before joining her writing group in 2011. They saw her through the first draft, a chapter at a time, then through each subsequent draft and they heard all about the trials and tribulations of submitting to agents and publishers. Sally feels that they are as much part of Haverscroft as she is as its writer. Because of her writing, Sally has gained a new circle of friends she would otherwise never have known. She had wanted to study English at University but was persuaded to go with something more likely to lead to a ‘proper’ job. Her writing has always been there, and her advide to other writers is never give up!