Former Oakham man is inspired by spooky house to pen new children’s book

Author Gavin Neale, who grew up in Oakham EMN-160729-154345001

Author Gavin Neale, who grew up in Oakham EMN-160729-154345001

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When Gavin Neale stumbled across a spooky pet cemetery while house hunting it gave him an idea for the children’s book he had always dreamt of writing.

The 36-year-old, who grew up in Oakham, was searching for a new home in Leicestershire with partner Rachael Webster when inspiration struck.

The couple were viewing the garden of one of the properties on their list of favourites when they saw the cemetery.

Gavin said: “A corner of the garden had been gated off and there were up to a dozen monuments inside.

“I soon realised it was a pet cemetery. I was thinking it through – wondering what I could do with that bit of the garden if we bought the house.

“I thought perhaps I could remove the monuments and put a shed on there. That’s when the idea of a haunted play house came to me.”

IT worker Gavin pitched the book, titled A Ghost Called Dog, to lots of publishing firms but eventually ended up funding it himself.

Now, four years after his moment of inspiration, the book has just gone on sale at Walkers in Oakham and other good bookshops and online booksellers.

Gavin, who now lives in Countesthorpe, near Leicester, said: “It’s early days, but I’ve had a lot of good feedback.

“My nephews and nieces enjoyed it too, and I’m now working on a sequel.

“I’d always wanted to publish a book and it’s great to see it in print.

“I tried all the big publishing houses and although that didn’t work out, I didn’t give up.

“I’m a big music fan and like a lot of small bands that have published their own material and that got me thinking about self-publishing my book.”

Gavin went to Rutland College and left Oakham at the age of 19 when he left to study at Anglia Ruskin University, in Cambridge.

A Ghost Called Dog is described as a thrilling adventure, aimed at children aged eight to 12, and is full of mystery, magic and spooky fun.

Perfect for early independent reading it is a book that children will love to read on their own.

Central characters Abby and Chris get more than they bargained for when their parents take them to their new home.

Who are the two spooky old women from down the road and why are they so keen to befriend the children? Where have the cat and dog come from that nobody but Abby and Chris can see?

When their mother disappears, the children are forced to confront an ancient evil.

A Ghost Called Dog has a recommended retail price of £6.99 for the paperback and £3.99 for the e-book.