I'M hunched over a computer talking on the phone to author Syd Moore, who I imagine is also at her computer, probably half sort of melting into it, because she is in the middle of turning out thousands upon thousands of words thanks to just signing up to yet another triple book deal with Oneworld.

Things are definitely going great guns for Syd Moore.

All this extra writing - which, by the way, she is exceptionally pleased to be doing - comes just after the recent release of her novel, Strange Sight, in all the book shops now, the fourth book she has had published if you count her debut success The Drowning Pool and her second book Witch Hunt.

Strange Sight is the second in her 'Strange' series about an Essex Witch Museum, witches, magic and Essex Girls.

They are a mixture of spookiness, real horror, comedy, history and above all, are darn good yarns. There are another four to be expected so far.

But it doesn't end there for Syd. The research she has carried out to create these fictional forays into the world of witches, witch trials and the history of the Witch County of Essex, is a journey which has evolved, leading the Leigh based feminist to push forward with her 'other' crusades. These include her championing causes to help victims accused of witchcraft, (something still prevalent throughout the world), and campaigns to clear the derogative connotations of the "Essex Girl" label.

'Where's the correlation?' you may ask. Well, once Syd explains, it all seems very obvious.

"The Drowning Pool and Witch Hunt were very well received. Witch Hunt was in the top ten, so it did well. But my research took me to some really dark episodes of the past - some of it was very depressing, to find out what happened to these real women - there was some really dark matter" explained Syd. "Also, it fascinated me, how even today, people know the name of Matthew Hopkins [the self-proclaimed Witchfinder General who is believed to have been responsible for the deaths of at least 300 women between the years 1644 and 1646] but they would be hard pushed to name any of the women themselves.

"These women were mainly all poor, uneducated, and labelled. Then they didn't stand a chance. The stories of these women are still important to tell. We don't know who a lot of them were."

Syd went on to explain the fates of these poor women, about the various methods of torture they were put through in an attempt to discover whether or not they were really witches, such as being bound and thrown into a body of water to see if they would sink or float, making them walk for days or sent to prison.

"In the 16th Century, prison made Broadmoor look like Butlins" said Syd. "People had to pay the gaoler for water and food. They were chained to the wall and just died there. A lot of women died in prison.

"A lot of these women had been subjected to the witch pricker. That was a dagger used for finding the devil's mark, which could be anything from a flea bite, spot, birthmark or mole. When the woman was pricked, if she didn't bleed she was considered a witch. But there is evidence that the blades used purposely retracted when they were supposedly pushed into the body.

"Although that time is far removed from us, finding out about these women has made it all far more real for me, the emotional aspect is real.

"I could see parallels between the Essex Witch Trials and the whole theory I had about the Essex Girl stereotype, which I've always been trying to challenge and change. For instance, think how an Essex girl is described. [One of the things Syd is campaigning against is that the Collins dictionary changes the definition of Essex Girl. The Collins definition states: 'Essex Girl: a young working-class woman from the Essex area, typically considered as being unintelligent, materialistic, devoid of taste, and sexually promiscuous'.] These Essex women that were taken and put on trial were also persecuted because they were of lower class, not allowed to speak for themselves, legally dumb - at that time in court women had to have a man speak for them. They were considered loose as they didn't have any protection from a man or shelter, and they were lusty and they fornicated with men and the devil.

"There are similar aspects between the women on the Essex Witch Trials and their contemporary stereotypes. There used to be a saying which you can find in lots of text, which goes 'you can't go into Essex without finding a witch or two'. Over the years people have forgotten what this really means but the reputation of 'those girls' remain. The Essex witches were the first Essex girls."

Because of Syd's work to debunk the myth of witchcraft, she has also become very interested in projects going on around the world, which work to help the modern day victims accused of witchcraft as well as educate communities who outcast them, to change their perspectives.

"People think it's something all in the past, but it's still going on around the world" she said, "Nigeria, India, Kenya, here in this country as well. Do you know there is a specialist team in the Metropolitan Police - Project Violet - which helps victims of abuse through witchcraft?"

She went on to explain how she has now also started working on behalf of a Danish charity, as the British Ambassador, which fights to save the so-called witches in Nigeria (where the superstition of witches is very common) where children have been tortured and killed because of it.

Syd had approached the charity after reading an article in the national press last year, about a young toddler who was found riddled with worms and close to death, who had been completely abandoned from his community because they believed he was a witch. He was saved by the woman - Anja Ringgren Loven - who founded the African Children's Aid Education and Development Foundation to help these kids.

"I explained my interest, and made it clear that I worked within fiction, but said I wanted to help in some way, even if it was to give out leaflets. They ended up asking me if I would become the British Ambassador".

Syd explained the charity is in the process of sending her the information she needs to carry out her role, but is looking forward to actioning it.

"There are so many ways to help" she said.

You can find out more about Syd Moore's work by following her on social media, including facebook.com/SydMooreWriter

* See and hear Syd read from Strange Sight when she appears as a special guest at a storytelling night, hosted by Old Trunk Theatre, called Damn Write.

It takes place at Chalkwell Hall, in Chalkwell Park, Westcliff, on Friday, December 8, from 8pm until 10pm.

Tickets are £5 in advance only, from eventbrite.co.uk