An Interview with Shani Struthers

Updated: Jun 11

Shani Struthers is the author of twenty novels, nineteen of which are supernatural thrillers. Her various paranormal series have proved popular, including the Psychic Surveys Series, This Haunted World, Reach for the Dead and Jessamine.

In this interview, Shani shares some insights into her writing process and provides some encouraging advice to aspiring writers.

When did you first decide you wanted to become an author?

I’ve always loved reading and writing – they’ve been twin passions. When I was a kid and a

teenager, I’d read voraciously, loving authors like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Danielle

Steele and Catherine Cookson – a bit of an eclectic mix!

I studied English Literature at Sussex University and then, a couple of years later became a copywriter for the travel industry. I did that until I was around forty, on a freelance basis, and then I sat down and wrote my first novel – a romance called The Runaway Year. I sent that off to no less than ten publishers and eight accepted, so I knew I was on my way. That was in 2013.

I then wrote two more in the Runaway series before switching to my first love, which is the paranormal. I wrote The Haunting of Highdown Hall and that too did very well. Since then I’ve written 18 more paranormals, publishing on average two full-length novels and one novella a year.

Why do you write? What drives you to do it?

Giving free reign to your creative side is wonderful – there is nothing like the buzz of actually

developing a story from scratch, for me, it sort of feeds the soul. Besides this, I’m not

much good at anything else. I can’t cook, sew, hate housework and can’t count for toffee.

Writing is what I’m good at, so I’ve developed that skill over the years.

What initially inspired and now inspires you to write psychological thrillers?

I mentioned that I started off writing romance, but after three books I felt I’d exhausted that

subject – it just required too much imagination, ha ha! Seriously, I didn’t want to keep

repeating the boy meets girl, falls in love thing – there are a lot of romance writers out there

and they do it so well, so it was best left to them if my heart wasn’t in it (although I have an

incredible fondness for those three books and adored writing them!).

The paranormal, well, it’s an endless source of fascination and there are so many ways to treat the subject. I can go full on dark as I do in books such as Blakemort, or I can add just a hint of the supernatural as I do in Jessamine and Comraich.

At the time I started writing The Haunting of Highdown Hall, there just seemed to be a dearth of good ghost stories available. A lot of them focused on blood and gore, which is not my style at all. I prefer the less is more approach, which Shirley Jackson encapsulated so well in one of my all-time favourite books: The Haunting of Hill House. So I added to the genre and today, there seems to be plenty to choose from!

Do you tend to base your settings and characters on real places and people?

I tend to place characters on a mix of people I know, although the very popular Theo in the

Psychic Surveys series, was based almost wholly on my mum, right down to the pink hair!

As for settings, I use real life haunted settings, sometimes I rename them so I can utilise

artistic license, other times I don’t.