Peacehaven author Richard B Gough pens ghostly Brighton tale
Peacehaven author Richard B Gough dips into the supernatural with his new book, The Black Lion, self-published at £9.99 and available from Amazon (paperback and Kindle).
Richard, aged 49, said: “In 2018 I started writing a collection of short stories about the eight phases of the moon. I had written five stories when I saw an advert for a ghost-story writing workshop at The Regency Town House in Hove. The workshop was organised just before Hallowe’en and I signed up for it. On the day, outside a storm was raging. The rain was lashing on the skylight in the kitchen and the wind was howling around the house. It was the perfect setting for a workshop about ghost stories!
“The three-hour workshop was led by Bridget Whelan and Jill Vigus who encouraged participants to step back into the past and learn how to develop our own chilling stories. It was a joy to learn new writing approaches and meet and listen to writers and sharing expertise.
“The story I wrote was about Deryk, the first name which sprung to mind, and I made him a servant in the story. The story needed developing but it led to the idea of changing the concept from the book about the phases of the moon to a fictional book about the real Deryk Carver’s life and his afterlife, combined with short ghost stories, set in and around Brighton. Deryk’s story just flew from the start. It intersperses throughout the book and it almost felt like his story was channelled through me.. The significance of the book to me is that Deryk moves to a new place and, building a new life for himself. I think he was heroic, and people still consider him to be some kind of hero.
“The book will appeal to many people who live locally and love local history. It will also appeal to people who like supernatural books, everything which has to do with ghosts, and the LGBTQ community as I’m an openly gay author and there are strong links in the book.”
Richard added: “When I first visited Brighton, back in 2000, a friend took me on a city tour and showed me The Black Lion and the pretty pub next to it, The Cricketers.
“After we went for a drink in the latter, we walked through the two narrow twittens Black Lion Lane and Ship Street Gardens, which form undoubtedly the oldest row of terraced houses in Brighton.
“I was mystified by the beauty of The Lanes, once the hub of the old fishing town Brighthelmstone, packed with popular restaurants, quaint tea rooms and twittens filled with independent jewellers and tiny antiques shops, but it was also the place where Deryk used to live. Twenty years later I’m about to launch a book about this man’s life. The main question is, what moved me to write a story about his life?
“In 2004 I wanted to change careers and I approached a couple of companies to enquire if they had any vacancies available. Fortunately one company got in touch and invited me around for an interview.
“They offered me a permanent position and I started working in an office block in Black Lion Street. Because our office was situated right next to The Black Lion, my colleagues and I would frequently visit it after work. Later the company vacated the building and our offices on the ground floor were replaced with restaurants such as Jamie’s Italian and Pho. Although I was no longer working there, I still visited the street to meet up with friends for a drink or lunch at the pub or coffee at Cafe Nero. Black Lion Street is one of those places which acted like a magnet, I was attracted by it and just wanted to go back to it. In 2019, after I did some research for my book, I found out that the pub was built in 1974 as a replica as part of the brewery using many original flints and slates. The brewery and inn stood on the site between the seafront and The Cricketers, the same space where our office was built.”
• Talk is increasing of further lockdowns in the UK. What do you think of the situation? Join the Big Conversation and have your say on everything from healthcare to how the pandemic has affected you personally and how we make our communities stronger: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/bc-worthing