Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Guest Post Vanessa Morgan


My latest horror novel, Clowders, takes place in a tiny town in Luxembourg, Europe. Tourists describe this town as 'quaint' and 'a haven for cat lovers'. Locals, however, call it something else... cursed. Local legend has it each time a cat dies, nine human lives are taken as a punishment. Is this place fiction or truth? Let's find out.

About ten years ago, I visited a tiny but charming town in Luxembourg: Clervaux. As soon as the car entered this community surrounded by woods, I knew it would once become the setting for one of my stories.

I already used of few elements of Clervaux in my horror novel Drowned Sorrow (which actually takes place in New England), but as soon as I started working on Clowders, there was no doubt about it that the story would be set in Clervaux.

While drafting Clowders, I mainly used my travel pictures and Google Maps as research, but once the plot was complete, I went back there to have a clear understanding of the topography and to describe places such as restaurants, shops and the castle.

The only things that aren't based on reality are the people that inhabit the town, the many cats in the area, and, of course, the curse.

Have you ever visited Clervaux? Would you love to go?

To celebrate the release of Clowders, let's dive into five disturbing facts about cats that are sure to creep you out.

1) People report more sightings of feline ghosts than human ones.
More people claim to have seen, heard or felt the ghost of a deceased cat than that of a human spirit. The feeling of a cat jumping on your bed and taking place on the pillow next to yours. The clicking of claws inside the house. Hearing soft meows. But not a single cat in sight.

2) They sleep with their eyes open.

Being asleep with open eyes reminds us of death, which is why so many of us find it creepy. Luckily, cats only do this once in a while, but it happens more frequently as they age.

3) Cats have a third eyelid.

This third eyelid – also called palpebra tertia or haw – becomes visible when cats are ill or when they are dozing off. It's a creepy sight but completely normal. It's supposed to keep their eyes healthy by removing debris and redistributing tears.

4) Cats see things that you don't.
Cats can stare at the same spot for minutes at a time or follow something unseen with their eyes and heads. Some people believe cats can see ghosts and aliens.

5) Cats make weird sounds in the middle of the night.
Cat owners often wake up in the middle of the night because their cat is 'talking' to someone. With whom are they communicating? And aren't cats supposed to meow only at people?

Which of these cat facts creep you out?

by Vanessa Morgan
Genre: Horror, Suspense

Clervaux, Luxembourg. This secluded, picturesque town in the middle of Europe is home to more cats than people. For years, tourists have flocked to this place – also known as “cat haven” - to meet the cats and buy cat-related souvenirs.

When Aidan, Jess and their five-year-old daughter, Eleonore, move from America to Clervaux, it seems as if they've arrived in paradise. It soon becomes evident, though, that the inhabitants' adoration of their cats is unhealthy. According to a local legend, each time a cat dies, nine human lives are taken as a punishment. To tourists, these tales are supernatural folklore, created to frighten children on cold winter nights. But for the inhabitants of Clervaux, the danger is horrifyingly real.

Initially, Aidan and Jess regard this as local superstition, but when Jess runs over a cat after a night on the town, people start dying, one by one, and each time it happens, a clowder of cats can be seen roaming the premises.

Are they falling victim to the collective paranoia infecting the entire town? Or is something unspeakably evil waiting for them?

Their move to Europe may just have been the worst decision they ever made.

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