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Syd’s novel use of eerie Leigh myth
SYD Moore has been edging her way towards literary success for some time now.
After landing an impressive two-book deal with publishing giant HarperCollins, it looks as if the Leigh woman could be about to hit the big time.
Syd, 40, said ecstatically: “I can actually say I am a writer now.”
Although she could have called herself that anyway, given she is the editor of local underground magazine, Level 4, and has worked for or within the vein of publishing for years. She was also presenter for Channel 4’s late-night TV show Pulp in the 1990s.
Book number one, The Drowning Pool, set to be out in September, is a modern ghost novel about a woman who becomes haunted by a local sea witch legend Sarah Grey, based on the Leigh legend of Sarah Moore.
“I was really intrigued by the story of Sarah Moore, since the pub of the same name opened in Elm Road, Leigh, about nine years ago,” explained Syd.
“I became more interested from a feminist’s point of view about the myths surrounding this poor old woman.
“I had to change her name in the book from Sarah Moore to Sarah Grey, because the publisher said we couldn’t have a book written by Syd Moore about Sarah Moore.
“So one of our names would have to change and it wasn’t going to be mine!”
The story is about a young widow with a child who moves to Leigh. Eerily, she starts finding pine-cones and cockle shells in her house.
“She gets phonecalls with nothing, but the sound of the sea on the line and starts having dreams,” said Syd.
“She really feels there is a presence in her life. At the same time, she is having a lump behind her eye examined, which could be cancer, so you are not sure whether she really is experiencing these things, or if the pressure of the lump is causing her to hallucinate.
“She Skypes her sister’s friend in America, who is into new-age things, to tell her about the presence and, as she is explaining, she realises how mad she sounds.
“But the American woman says, ‘no I believe you’. After the Leigh woman asks why, the American woman replies, ‘because I can see her standing behind you’.”
Syd’s knack for storytelling makes for scary stuff. She added: “One of the HarperCollins readers couldn’t continue because she found it too frightening.”
The story’s contemporary angle, juxtaposed with the peppering of actual Leigh legends and myths could be the factor that makes this book special. Harper Collins must think so too, expecting Syd to deliver her next one by October.
“It will be of the same genre”, said Syd, “and I already have the idea for it. I’m looking at another witchy, ghosty book. I love researching the local tales and legends and Leigh is full of them.
“From my research I think the real Sarah Moore died of cancer and was buried in 1867 in St Clement’s Church graveyard... but my story is different.
“You’ll have to read it to find out what happened to her.”