Sandra Greaves

Winner of SCBWI's Undiscovered Voices 2012

The official website for Sandra Greaves, author of The Skull in the Wood , a contemporary ghost story set on Dartmoor for 10+ readers.

Hair-raising tales from Harrowbarrow

I've had a fantastic batch of spooky stories and artwork from Harrowbarrow School in Cornwall, which I visited in January. I gave a talk for year 5s and year 6s, and then ran a creative writing workshop with an impressive group of year 6s who produced some terrific work. They've been finishing off their stories and pictures, and they are truly blood-curdling!

Unfortunately I can't publish them all here in their entirety, but I've chosen some of my favourite extracts. Here they are.

"Ben staggered into the pitch-black cave. He had a torch made of steel, a bag made of leather and a pocket knife. He felt the walls, which felt like they were closing in on him. They had gushes of blood all over dead people on the floor. Ben tiptoed further into the depths of the cave. He saw a light up ahead – it was a kind of golden glow. He limped toward the light. His bag bashed against the Stone-Age wall. The ceiling collapsed and Ben dived to save his life. He looked behind him, eyes full of red-hot fear. The entrance to the cave was blocked by gigantic boulders and rocks…."
The Skull in the Cave, by Lewis - really spooky stuff!

"Please! Just let me go! PLEASE!’ She banged at the door but it wouldn’t budge. She hung onto the floorboards, but unfortunately they were snapping into tiny pieces. Then she slipped and fell into darkness. Her scream was echoing through the floor. It stopped after a few minutes and before she knew it, she was never seen again."
Kyana's spine-tingling story about a visit to creepy bungalow infested with skeletons

A spooky picture by Rupert - spot the ghostly skull in the background!

A spooky picture by Rupert - spot the ghostly skull in the background!

"Bill noticed the dark sky devouring the blurred moon. Vaguely, he just made out the silhouette of a wide-eyed white tawny owl isolated in the dull sky, a beacon against the misty brown. Threading in and out of his mind was the piercing screech he rememberd from the deserted station, blank with sound apart from the occasional snores of the slumbering guard"
Hebe's amazing 4-chapter story

"Recovering from shock, a swarm of memories flooded his brain. He remembered somebody shouting “Thomas!” He remembered a dry, flat scorched wasteland of nothingness. He remembered a needle as sharp as jealousy being lowered towards him. A dark-haired girl sprinting. Somehow they all made sense though he was not sure why."
By Thomas. And wow, Thomas, what a great description!

  Nathan's scary skull - what's in its mouth?


Nathan's scary skull - what's in its mouth?

"I feel as if my eyes have dropped out. Stumbling back, realising I need to go back in. As I slowly get back onto my feet, a shiver fills my spine, my legs tremble and my arms cover in goose bumps. I trudge into the colossal dome, a necklace of sweat forms around my neck. An eternity of stone lay before me. The deep voice boomed “This is the maze of the danger, the maze of horror, the maze of DEATH”
By Rebecca, who certainly knows how to tell a good tale!

“Wow,” Maddie exclaimed. “Look at that amazing old fairground.” She had never seen anything like this in her whole life. Just then, an idea popped into her head like the sun coming out on a cold winter’s day. She saw a small hole in the big heavily chained gate. She managed to get through but she sliced her hand on the barbed wire. She screamed. A prickle, a horrible pain, ran through her hand. But what Maddie did not know was that this would put her life in a spin forever."
By Phoebe - a fantastic writer in the making

Congratulations to you all - these are really good reads - and you are REALLY GOOD WRITERS! And some very interesting artwork too.

And a huge thank you to Miss Pinfield for sending me these and for organising the visit.


Shrewsbury Bookfest rocks!

An amazing 850 children turned out for the Shrewsbury Children's Bookfest Book Award and The Skull in the Wood was one of the six titles nominated. Children from 32 schools in Shropshire read all the titles and voted on their favourite - Bomber Dog by the lovely Megan Rix. And in the run-up to the awards, schools put their hearts into bringing the books alive - making videos, creating artwork, putting on plays and writing poems.

Greenfields Primary School in Shrewsbury produced an utterly terrifying trailer which I'll try to post here soon. And Grace from St Lawrence C of E Primary School had winning entries in the both the art competition and the poetry competition. They're both incredibly atmospheric - I love them!

Tilda in Old Scratch Wood by Grace Keeling from St Lawrence C of E Primary School

Tilda in Old Scratch Wood by Grace Keeling from St Lawrence C of E Primary School

And Grace's poem was also picked as a finalist. Well done, Grace!

I’m left right at the rim
Of the crumbling face
Of a part of the wood.
The breeze scuttles
Through my wild hair
But it nips on my skin
And tugs on the roots
Making them blood red.
I am ready to go home.
I was ready to go home
A long, long time ago.
There is a putrid stench
In the atmosphere, quite subtle,
Yet quite repulsive.
It is unpleasantly warm
Though my hands are still bitter and bleak
The piercing particles
In the scratching air,
I have no intention to move
Since Matt has vanished and left me here.
So now it’s just me
And Jez at my side
And she is the only one that cares.
It seems the hawkish, spiteful vegetation
Is observing me,
Watching me.
Swiftly I look at the foliage
I try to imagine them
Being thoughtful and generous,
But all I see is them crinkle with sin
And hiss with evil,
Unexpectedly a foul bloody stench
Fills my nose.
There is something dreadfully wrong,
I knew it all along.
Grace Keeling St Lawrence CE Primary School



Spooky stories from Cornwall

Ben Towe, the headmaster of Lewannick Community Primary School in Cornwall, has sent me two fantastic spooky stories written by his pupils after my ghost-story writing workshop there in February.

Well done, Florence and Rosie-Jane - your stories are utterly spine-tingling!

Here are a few extracts, first from Florence's story 'Drugged in Hell!!'

'Her croaky voice echoes round the hollow building. "The stables need cleaning, the horses need feeding, and I think one's dead! I saw it on the floor this morning!" She bellows at me as if I'm her pet....'

'Covered in mud, horse dung and smelling like a dead dog, Liza slowly walks home. The joyful sun disappeared and the coral moon rises. A glow shimmers as bewitched barn owls alight. Liza trips, her head buried in the oozing mud. Puzzled and confused, Liza pulls herself up. Was she pushed over by a kid? Or did she trip over a log? She soon discovers that at the bottom of her sore feet was a rotting, crumbling skull with wriggling maggots and slimy worms crawling in and out of it! It looked like something out of a horror movie! A white trail of marrow lead to a nearby muddy lane flowing through aqua-green trees....'

' A cheesy grin grew on the skull's smug face. "Nooooo!" Liza bellowed. "It was you!" she shouted at it. "I have to find out what's going on." And with that, Liza grabbed the skull and dashed to Oak Wood Library. Maybe she will get some answers, maybe not..."

Brrr! I hope she does! That's pretty scary! Congratulations, Florence!

And here come some bits from Rosie-Jane's story, 'The Demon Doctor'.

'As I walked out of the old thatched cottage to see what all the banging noise was about, all I could see was a spooky nightmare. I curiously stepped out onto the cracked path, and as I did so the door slammed behind me. I squealed in fright and ran off into the distance, branches slapping me in the face, stones scattering as I ran...'

'When I woke up, I found the old box lying hopelessly on my bed. "But the nurse put it on the bedside table," I thought warily. Now I heard voices - but no one was here. I checked my digital clock. It was only 3.15 in the morning. I didn't think anyone would be here because it was early. I listened to what was being said: "The moment you open the box...the myth will come true. Your nurse will be killed by the Demon Doctor!"

Terrifying stuff! Especially in a hospital - what a great setting for a ghost story, Rosie-Jane!

Thank you both and to all the pupils at Lewannick who took part and wrote such great stories.










Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2014

Alas The Skull in the Wood didn't win the Waterstones Children's Book Prize, announced on 3 April 2014. But it was utterly fantastic to be nominated - thank you Waterstones! A great party in their flagship branch in Piccadilly. And most exciting of all, my book was on display in the front window!

All the nominated books on display in the front window of Waterstones Piccadilly - amazing!

All the nominated books on display in the front window of Waterstones Piccadilly - amazing!

photo 1.JPG
Katherine Rundell, author of Rooftoppers, collects her prize. Congratulations, Katherine!

Katherine Rundell, author of Rooftoppers, collects her prize. Congratulations, Katherine!

What's in the box?

Widcombe C of E Junior School's wonderful librarian Hannah Sackett has sent me some pictures by year 6 students inspired by the 'finding the box' scene in The Skull in the Wood. The key is by Alex, the watch is by Ella, the scary hand by Henry, and the diamond-encrusted locket by Florence and Lizzie. Fabulously spooky! Thank you!

Florence and Lizzie.jpg

Powered by SquarespaceAll Dartmoor photography by Peter Anderson