No: 01 Spook's Apprentice
Book No: 01 of 13
The SPooK’S APPRENTICE
Thomas Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son, has been apprenticed to the local spook, John Gregory. The job is hard and many apprentices have failed, over a third dying in training.
Somehow Tom must learn how to exorcize ghosts, contain witches and bind boggarts. But when he is tricked into freeing Mother Malkin, the most powerful and evil witch in the County, the horror begins…
“The Spook's trained many but precious few completed their time,” Mam said, “and those that did aren't a patch on him. They're weak or cowardly. They walk a twisted path taking money for accomplishing little. So there's only you left now, son. You're the last chance. The last hope. Someone has to do it. Someone has to stand against the dark. And you're the only one who can.”
“You see, lad, Mother Malkin will be what we call ‘wick',” said the Spook. “It's an old County word that you're no doubt familiar with. Just as a head of hair can be wick with lice, her dead body is now wick with her wicked spirit. It'll be heaving like a bowl of maggots and she'll crawl, slither or drag herself towards her chosen victim.”
The Spook's Apprentice' was in development for almost two years. It began as a short story of about twelve thousand words. Later, as it grew, Barry Cunningham of 'Chicken House' (the editor who signed JK Rowling) considered it for publication. He gave me some excellent advice but it wasn't until 2002 that it was finally taken for publication by Charlie Sheppard of Random House Children's Books. She had a clear vision of how to develop the story further and that first book was now well on its way to becoming a series.