Graduate Amy McLean has released her third novel – penning her first while she was studying English Literature at the University.
Amy’s writing is heavily influenced by the conversations she has with her Auntie, a Spiritual Messenger. She said: “I've grown up around spiritualism and the knowledge of spiritual presence. Not only did it seem natural for me to incorporate this into my writing since it’s something I've been fascinated about since my pre-teen years, it's a very intriguing approach for me as a recurring theme in my books.”
Amy’s novel, Hallow Be Thy Name, tells the story of Lucy Hallow, a Spiritual Messenger who uses her gift to help others. Set between present-day Hampstead and Victorian London, spirits are brought forward to offer counsel to the earthly characters, and Lucy provides a bridge between the two timelines through her abilities to see and hear spirits.
The book is the second of the young writer's to be self-published through CreateSpace, and the first in the new Hallow series Amy is currently working on. It incorporates the Spirit world to portray layers of guidance to the living from those no longer on earth.
“It’s utterly enthralling to learn from people who love their subjects.”
Amy said: “From my own perspective, I never know which spirits are going to come forward to my Auntie to provide their own spiritual input for my work. Earth and the heavens alike are full of stories, and I feel blessed that I have been given the opportunity to tell some of them.”
Talking about further inspiration for her writing, she said: “I love looking at the ways in which events in the past have shaped the world today, and in particular our outlooks and attitudes towards life. The growth of active spiritualism in the 19th Century echoed a lot of the emotions I wanted to portray in this novel, and I do wonder how spiritualists would be perceived today if it were not for the rise in the interest in communicating with the deceased.”
Amy who was born in Aberdeen, and spent the first ten years of her life in the North East, has made the region her home. She graduated with a First Class degree from the University of Sunderland in 2014.
Amy added: “Studying Literature at the University of Sunderland invited a range of genres and writers onto my radar, and such a varied mix finally enabled me to find a writing voice that I enjoy and one with which I feel comfortable working with.
Any prospective English students coming to @sunderlanduni's Applicant Day tomorrow? You're in for a real treat!— Amy McLean (@McLeanAmy) February 22, 2013
"Choosing Sunderland was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. English literature became my passion and I thoroughly enjoyed every module. The lecturers each have their own quirks and insights, and it’s utterly enthralling to learn from people who love their subjects. It's impossible not to enjoy learning about literary greats such as Byron, Shelley and Shakespeare.
"Not only is the degree brilliant but there are so many opportunities to get involved with great projects and work outside the course. In my first year I was a reviewer for a local newspaper, a blogger for the University and I had a column in the student magazine.
"I absolutely love the University of Sunderland. I couldn't recommend it enough as I just know that everyone else will enjoy it as much as I do! I found myself a job in the North East after I graduated too, so it looks like I'll be here for some time!”