Honor’s Ghost

“Those who forget their past are destined to repeat it.”
Robert A. Heinlein

Honor’s Ghost is about the universal hope that our children won’t inherit our fears and repeat our mistakes.

Psychiatrist Honor Sinclair’s marriage is fracturing in the face of ruinous financial peril. Against her ethical principles, she participates in highly paid clinical trials for a new psychiatric drug, Instil, for minor depression and anxiety. When the trials go wrong and the drug is suddenly withdrawn, pressures upon Honor intensify, and she longs for the seemingly miraculous cure of her Instil clients. She tries the drug herself, and begins to suffer inexplicable and terrifying side effects. Hallucinations haunt her, and she comes to realise that they could be eerie echoes of the experiences of her great grandmother, Annie, which have parallels in her own unraveling life. Honor’s challenge is to find the strength to break the pattern, so that she is not destined to repeat it.

Currently seeking representation for publication.

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“We continue the chain of generations and, knowingly or not, willingly or unwillingly, we pay debts of the past: as long as we have not cleared the slate, an invisible loyalty impels us to repeat a moment of incredible joy, or unbearable sorrow, an injustice or tragic death. Or its echo.”  

The Ancestor Syndrome, by Anne Ancelin-Schutzenburger 


The first stories I can remember were told to me by my grandmother, who enthralled me with tales of her mother, known as Big Mama, who gave birth to twenty children and talked to invisible spirits.

When I started attending classes in creative writing in 1999, I used these family tales in writing exercises, creating a montage of glimpses into the lives of my great grandparents, Annie and Bill Gifford, people I knew only from family mythology.

Fascinated to know more, I researched the facts of their lives. On finding their graves, I discovered a clue to a devastating secret, which became the inspiration for Honor’s Ghost. I want to tell my great grandparents story in a particular way: to show the imaginary impact of the traumatic events of their lives, that were passed down to her fictional great granddaughter, Honor, as surely as her rare green eyes, in trace memories that left a legacy of unconscious fears and repeating patterns of behaviour.

I have been writing this book, on and off, for twenty years, editing it over and over. I’m having one last go to get it right.  And then it will be published, one way or another.