Inspiration: Dr Gribbles and the Beast of Blackthorn Lodge

Continuing my series on inspiration and influences for my books (which I began earlier this year), here’s a look at stories which informed my novel, Dr Gribbles and the Beast of Blackthorn Lodge.

This is a gripping tale for all ages with action and thrills to spare, involving spies, monsters, haunted houses, mad scientists and lots more besides. Inspired by the nightmares of my youngest son, here are five stories that also informed Dr Gribbles and the Beast of Blackthorn Lodge.

Frankenstein (Mary Shelley) – An obvious influence. Whilst I don’t pretend that Dr Gribbles is a particularly weighty addition to the canon of literature on the dangers of playing God, those themes are present in my novel nonetheless.

Moonfleet (J Meade Falkner) – The chapter near the start of the novel, with John trapped beneath the crypt, definitely influenced the scarier, early sections of Dr Gribbles inside the “haunted” Blackthorn Lodge.

The Goonies (Film) – This film was a more obvious inspiration for Uncle Flynn, but the sequence where the gang hearing growling from the cellar and think the villains have a monster chained up is a clear influence on the section where Tim and Rob find the Creature in the cellar of Blackthorn Lodge.

The Living Daylights (Film) – In addition to obvious spy thriller influences, the novel is set in 1987, the year this film was released. Another homage to this underrated Timothy Dalton James Bond adventure can be found in the names of two key characters, Saunders and Whitaker (in The Living Daylights, Saunders is the MI6 Head of Section in Vienna, and Whitaker is an arms dealer villain).

An Unspecified Popular Fairy Tale – I cannot actually reveal the name of the fairy tale in question as it would make the ending of my novel too guessable, but if you read Dr Gribbles it will become very obvious that I’ve created my own rather demented take on said fairy tale.

You can download or buy print copies of Dr Gribbles and the Beast of Blackthorn Lodge from Amazon here.


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