About the Book  Young couple Ally and Lauren move to the small town of Wyndhamton in southwest England to open a café together with the help...

Author Spotlight || James Parsons, Author of The Woken Bones

About the Book 

Young couple Ally and Lauren move to the small town of Wyndhamton in southwest England to open a café together with the help Ally’s old friend Kev. With his own life going nowhere, his mother Daphne made him a proposition. Once owner of a shop on the high street, she wants them to have success again but to get it they must agree to include her former business partner Lydia. Daphne soon becomes a daily fixture offering advice and wisdom in the café as business starts to take off.

Kev called in some friends to help renovate the café with the promise of jobs but as the days pass, they disappear one by one. Lauren spends more time training with the mysterious Lydia in the disused shops behind the carved doors on the high street…

With a history of witch trials centuries ago, superstition and fear survive and is quietly apparent on the high street and in the ways of the people. Shopkeepers of the high street start to witness the familiar sight of years ago by their homes at night of the macabre tall figure which waits for offerings as the folklore recalls. Kev too sees this woman of the shadows with her tortured souls by her side as she visits after midnight with her silent threat of what will be taken should she not be respected…

As Lauren is gone from the café after an emotional confrontation with Ally, she leans on Kev. Daphne has a desire to find something deep inside the café which may secure her renewed success and control over the dangerous forces she has woken on the high street…

What does Kev see outside his window late at night? What are those disturbing sounds out in the garden after midnight he hears and cannot ignore? The local legends of witches seeking revenge he used to mock and hope for with his friends, may prove to be something far too real…

For Daphne to return to success on high street and Kev to be with Ally like before what are they prepared to lose or encounter? How many must suffer or make an offering to the witch?
The local legends and lore of vengeful witches to be heeded and bargained with must be remembered and respected but to Ally it sounds so ridiculous…

What would you offer a witch to save a life?
What lies behind the carved doors of the disused shops of the high street?
Rattle the bones, the witch comes home…

Where were you when you first thought "I need to write this story?"

Having written my second full length horror novel and been submitting it to publishers for around twelve months as covid and lockdowns arrived I decided to try out writing a few short novellas and self-publishing them as many other authors were doing so and I figured I could put them out to readers sooner and on a regular basis once completed. 

Did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Since my first couple of books were published, I suppose I have over time I have learned to prepare notes and use time more efficiently with first drafts through to final draft though each book of project is different. 

What's your favorite "bad review" that you've gotten?  

I'm not sure any stand out specifically but possibly some comments about being derivative or not having that special something to keep the reviewer turning the pages to the end. But no one book appeals to everyone. 

What comes first for you - the plot or the characters?

More often the plot but this is something I've considered over time, and I have built up a collection of notepads and files with many characters and plots to pick from and play around with or build upon should the desire be there. Sometimes a special or unique character does seem to form in one's mind as if from nowhere as does the initial seed of a plot.

Do you have any writing superstitions?

I don't think so, but I suppose I have my routines and like to have notepads, pens, laptop in a certain place, take breaks at possible the same times. 

Is there a word you find yourself using too often when writing?

There probably are a few or phrases also and that is something which is an irritant at the back of one's mind. I try to be aware of this, add in some different phrases, descriptions, nouns and more especially with character dialogue.  

A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there any songs you had on repeat? 

Sometimes I might find myself listening to a particular band and their back catalogue while working on a draft.  With my previous horror novel I was listening to goth metal band Paradise Lost a lot. Quite often if writing horror I put on the Hellraiser score soundtracks, Twin Peaks music and other David Lynch soundtracks but also bands ranging from Depeche Mode, Johnny Cash, Mastodon, Faith No More to Bjork, Beatles, Public Enemy and more. 

Do you have a favorite line that you've written? What is it and why do you like it?

That's hard for me to say objectively. I often find myself proud of particular chapters or how a character or plot has been developed through a story.

What is something about the genre that annoys you?

There are cliches in every kind of genre but when you easily see what seems like a story written with little imagination or a premise which initially seemed to suggest a great story tragically wasted or only slightly opened up but not nearly enough. 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don't dwell too much on the first draft, on sentences or phrases, just get it down without thinking too much about it. Have courage and believe in what you are are doing.  

What advice would you like to pass on to aspiring writers that is unconventional but true?

Don't try to emulate or follow trending in fiction. It might seem like the thing to do but it will probably be better to follow your own instincts and get your own strange but intriguing ideas down on the page and ultimately more satisfying. 

Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us anything about it?

I have a number of notepads full of many ideas, concepts, characters and projects waiting to be explored. I have one final novella from the covid/lockdown times which I hope to publish early next year and after that I have possibly half a dozen or so fiction work which I've been waiting to get right into. They may be less straight forward in terms of genre and horror, slightly more surreal or fantastical possibly. 

Which of your characters was your favorite to write and why?

Often it can be the lead character, but I have found myself finding interest especially recently in final drafts with some of the supporting characters as I try to give them more dimensions or have them be useful to the story and realistic. 

Would you and your main character get along?

At this point after writing a few books and more short stories maybe less so but that may be a good thing. Early on as a writer there can be that tendency to find the lead character may be too much like yourself or an imagined better version of the author. More often now my main characters are possibly less like me but still fascinating individuals. I am possibly less like Ally from my new book as she is a little loud and headstrong and maybe more like Lauren who is more introverted and thoughtful. 

Killing off characters your readers love - Risky or necessary?

It all comes down to the plot. I've looked back over some of my fiction, especially the horror work and sometimes think more characters should have died as it is horror fiction, but it should come down to events in the plot not simply to have bodies and bloody spilled left, right and centre. 

Did any of your characters surprise you while you were writing?

Possibly in The Woken Bones I became gradually more surprised by Kev, his mother Daphne and Gina who I developed more toward the final draft, and they revealed themselves and how they were useful to the plot or unique in their own ways toward the end of writing. 

You've watched a movie 50 times and you still aren't tired of it. What movie is it?


Which animal (real or fictional) would you say is your spirit animal and why?

A fish, simply because I had many of them as a child and teenager. They are quiet most of the time but often calm and graceful. 

Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or a cottage surrounded by fairytale creatures?

Probably haunted mansion even if that turned out to be a very bad decision, I probably could not resist. 

What would you say is your weirdest writing quirk?

I usually write long hand in notepads for the first draft at least and sometimes find myself doing some calligraphy over names and chapter headings or notes in the margins. 

Using only emojis, sum up your book.


You've just gone Trick or Treating. What do you hope is in your bag? 

What do you pawn off on your kids/SO/random stranger?

I would be very happy with some funsize snickers but pawn off mini eclairs chews or toffee sweets. 

What is in your internet search history (researching for your book) that you would want someone to wipe if you were under suspicion from the police?

With the new book things like witch trials, torture devices and things like that which I suppose would make police raise some eyebrows. 

You wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare. What was it?

The places I know and are familiar to me burning and melting around me as I have no voice and seem to be shrinking while everyone else runs through the streets tall like crazed giants. No idea what that means. Ask Freud. 

What cliched tattoo would your main character have?

Tribal dragon with nun-chucks. 

What movie completely scarred you as a child?

I saw many 'video nasties' growing up in the late eighties but sometimes it was the more bizarre or strange and trashy ones which left a mark. Scenes from Dario Argento's Phenomena some of the A Nightmare on Elmstreet movies did leave a lasting impression.  

What's the strangest thing a fan (or other author)  has said to you?

At a convention promoting my first horror novel I plucked up the courage to say hello to an author I admired a lot. We had a chat and the author they led me to meet another couple of authors to ask they if they thought I resembled a very famous author. It was strange but it was also a compliment. 

If animals could talk, which one would be the rudest?

How about a lion, they're kind of arrogant and full of themselves. 

Your main character is at the hardware store. What do they buy?

Cigarettes, a rock music magazine, a lottery scratch card and some popping rock candy. 

Which of the Golden Girls is your personality most like?

I'd like to say Dorothy but probably Rose. But that's not a bad thing right? 

If you were bitten and changed, would you want it to be by a vampire or a werewolf?

Probably a vampire as I'm a tragic romantic and couldn't resist the possibility of living for a few hundred years. 

You're riding through the desert on a horse with no name. What are you going to call it?


What are your SM links? Can we follow you and pretend we're besties? 

If twitter continues, I'm there as @Parsonsfiction but also Instagram as parsonsfictions, mastodon as parsonsfiction. Facebook under James E Parsons


From working in animation/film production, moved to writing screenplays and onto fiction. Have had two science fiction books published, debut horror novel in 2018 and back in 2022 with horror novella and new horror novel.