‘Where the living are the ghosts, and the dead are the ones being haunted’.
I have been thinking about ghosts since childhood, mostly because I was terrified of them. So scared, in fact, that I honestly thought I saw them as a boy. Of course, I realise now that I never did – well, probably never did, anyway – but I have spent a lot of time wondering what they may be if they do exist. And the connection with time travel is obvious – if ghosts are real, then they are points of contact between the world of the past and the world of now. But could they also be points of contact with the future?
Many people claim to have met lost loved ones in dreams, or to have dreamt about the past, and many people say they have encountered ghosts when awake. Putting these things together, and stirring in the explosive elements of a thriller – danger, mystery, suspense, and a stack of cool gadgets – led me to write Haunters. But I won’t deny it might also have been belated attempt to deal with that childhood fear. Perhaps that’s why, in the book, only children can dreamwalk. In any case, what if ghosts aren’t something to be scared of at all, but something to be really excited about? I’d much rather that! I certainly wish my ghost-hunting, 12-year-old self could have read this book.
Fancy reading an extract? Here’s page 39:
‘We can go into the theory later,’ said Professor Feldrake. ‘In practical terms, what it all comes down to is this: if I dream about Stonehenge, or the Eiffel Tower or Mount Rushmore, it’s all in my head, okay? But if you dream about these things…’
David glanced over at Petra. She was watching him as closely as the professor was.
‘You’re saying I can actually go there?’ David said. ‘But that’s crazy.’
‘It may sound crazy to you now, but that’s exactly what I’m saying,’ said the professor. ‘At least, your mind can actually go there. Your body stays exactly where you left it, fast asleep. Now, earlier Roman asked if you’d ever seen a ghost. So… have you ever wondered what ghosts are?’
‘Not really. I just thought they were meant to be the spirits of dead people.’
‘I don’t know anything about the dead,’ said the professor, ‘but I can tell you that some ghosts at least belong to the living. You see, that’s how you appear when you dreamwalk. Like a ghost.’
‘But…’ David screwed his eyes shut for a moment as he tried to make sense of what he was hearing, ‘… my Eddie dream – you said I was back in the year 1940.’
‘Yes!’ Professor Feldrake’s face lit up, like a kid who’d just been reminded it was his birthday. ‘And that’s the real wonder of dreamwalking. Don’t you see? It’s not just that you can go anywhere you want, it’s also anywhen. Freed from the body, your dreamwalking mind can ignore the laws of nature, David, even time itself.’
‘You’re time-travellers?’ said David, amazed as the thought finally hit him.
‘No.’ said the professor, the look on his face becoming suddenly wistful. ‘You are. I can only dream.’
Haunters was published in May, 2012 by that plucky little publishing outfit, The Chicken House. Read an early review here. And if you are good enough to buy the book, I hope you enjoy it! The US edition (pictured here) was released in June 2013. Read its Kirkus review here. Haunters is available in Australia, New zealand and Canada. There are also Spanish and Dutch editions as well as an audio version.
‘Reluctant readers and adventure/suspense junkies will gallop through this volume and haunt the shelves for the sequel (Adventure. 10-14).’ — Kirkus
‘The mystery of dreamwalking grabs the reader in the first few pages and doesn’t let go until the exciting conclusion. For a first-time author, Taylor demonstrates a rare ability to hold the reader’s attention, and the sequel to this pulse-pounding story will be highly anticipated.’ — BookPage
‘Haunters is thoroughly entertaining from start to finish. Fans of Colfer, Horowitz and Higson could do a whole lot worse than picking up Taylor. Recommended.’ — Robin’s Books