Book of the Month: Spectre Collectors A New York Nightmare

Spectre Collectors: A New York Nightmare cover

Spectre Collectors: A New York Nightmare is the second in Barry Hutchinson’s hilarious series about a teenage boy, Denzel, and his ghostly friend Smithy.

In this edition, Denzel is sent on a mysterious mission to New York. Denzel and Smithy are excited to see the Big Apple, but things are not at all how they expected. There are only two other Spectre Collectors in New York and the city hasn’t had any spectral activity in years (much to the disappointment of Denzel and Smithy!), but lately there has been some strange things happening. Their new colleagues. Weinberg and Martinez need their help to find out what’s going on. Soon after they arrive, the four Spectre Collectors are drawn in to a terrifying adventure involving a giant floating shark, an enormous gorilla, a Viking ship and its very evil crew.

Like in the first edition of Spectre Collectors: Too Ghoul for School, Barry combines humour, mystery and friendship to take the reader on a gripping journey leading to a nail-biting cliff-hanger. Young readers will be captivated by Denzel and Smithy’s adventure, and desperate to find out who are the strange voices Denzel hears, and who is coming…

Hear more from Barry in our Q&A below, and enter our competition to win one of five copies of Spectre Collectors: A New York Nightmare!


Q&A with Barry Hutchison: 

What was your inspiration for the Spectre Collectors series?

Spectre Collectors is based on the brief real-life ghost-hunting adventures of myself and a friend of mine when we were kids. We'd just seen Ghostbusters, and decided that we, too, were going to catch ghosts. We came up with the name 'Spectre Collectors' and decided that we were going to start with the ghost that was rumoured to haunt Old Inverlochy Castle, just 3 miles or so from where we lived.

Unfortunately, we didn't have access to Ghostbusters-style Proton Packs. What we did have access to was my mum's hoover, and we reckoned that would do the job.

So, the two of us set off from my house one night, with this ancient vacuum cleaner strapped across the crossbars of both our bikes. We pushed that piece of junk for 3 miles through mud, lifted it over fences, and trudged through the rain until we reached the castle. It was only when we arrived there that we realised there was nowhere to plug it in, so we had to turn around and walk home again.

That was our one and only attempt at catching a ghost.

Why did you choose New York for the setting of your second book in the Spectre Collectors series?

I visited New York when I was 17 or so and fell in love with the place. Everything you see in the movies actually happens - steam rising from the ground, taxi drivers shouting abuse out of windows, pedestrians shouting back, it's exactly like you imagine. It's also so far removed from where I grew up in the Highlands of Scotland that it seemed almost like a different world. Looking up at the buildings towering overhead, I felt like I was at the bottom of the ocean, gazing up at the surface far overhead - which is exactly what happens to Denzel and Smithy in this book.

I also liked the idea that somewhere as huge as New York would have only two Spectre Collectors, on account of there having been no ghosts spotted in decades. Until now, of course...

What tips can you give for aspiring writers on writing books that are both scary and funny for younger readers?

I think before you can try to elicit an emotion - any emotion - you first need to have experienced it yourself. If you want to write horror, you first need to know what it's like to be scared, so try to find some scary (but safe!) things to do. Ride a rollercoaster. Do a bungee jump. Speak in front of a big audience. The more experience you have of being scared, the better you'll be able to use that emotion in your writing. The same goes for writing comedy, really. Tell jokes, have fun, find out what makes you laugh until your sides ache, and try to find ways of using that feeling in your own writing. There are certain things I don't think you can learn from an instruction manual, and writing horror and comedy are two of them. Just go out into the world, be bold, try new things, and have a laugh about it, and it'll all feed your writing.


About Barry Hutchison

Barry Hutchison is an award-winning children's author and screenwriter. He wrote his first novel at 12 years old (18 pages long and terrible according to Barry!), his first screenplay Curse of the Bog Women at 17, and published his first book Invisible Fiends in 2008. Since then Barry has written over 70 books and visits schools and festivals across Scotland. 


We have 5 copies of Spectre Collectors: A New York Nightmare to be won - just answer the question below. The competition closes on Wednesday 31 October 2018 at 5pm. All entrants must reside in the UK.