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Halloween may be over for another year but author Nathan Toulane, who grew up in Highams Park, is keeping the ghostly theme alive in his new horror and thriller novel, Tabitha Bates set in Chingford and Stratford.

One day a man called Jonathon Mayhew, who is a complicated character afflicted with fears and phobias, buys an antique chair.

However, this is no ordinary piece of furniture, as the chair’s previous owner, Tabitha Bates, died. Through the upholstery she uses terrifying visions about World War II, Adolf Hitler, and mankind’s most evil deeds to disturb Jonathon and her ethereal voice manipulates The BBC World Service in order to carry her presence from the world of the dead via the radio waves into the world of the living, allowing her sinister appearance to emerge in mirrors and the dark shadows of the night.

Nathan (47), explains why writing the novel brought back memories of growing up in east London and why he chose the name Tabitha Bates…

What inspired you to write the novel?

I’ve always been intrigued by objects, inanimate objects, like a piece of furniture, or another earthly possession, and if they can record their former owners’ mannerisms within them. Even after the owners’ demise. I’ve often wondered if the dead, be they good or bad, could use their precious objects to communicate, like some kind of transmitting apparatus—conversing and disturbing the living when given the chance.

In addition, east London has a wealth of history, vitality, different cultures, and is a great place to set a story in. It’s a melting pot of so many events - going back to the 1840s. There is such an appeal to the area, making it easy to come up with ideas.

Some parts are also autobiographical and I wrote the book in the first person narrative to emphasise this.

How did you to choose the title?

I decided to call my novel Tabitha Bates as a nod towards Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Psycho, with the main character in the movie having that surname. Plus, I've always liked the name Tabitha. I remember watching the television sitcom Bewitched in the 1970s and Samantha Stephens, the witch, had a daughter called Tabitha. So I decided to put the two names of “Bates and Tabitha” together.

Do you have a lot of memories from around east London?

I have a lot of fond memories of east London, as that is where I grew up as a kid. I used to live in Winchester Road, Highams Park from the early 1970s until 1980 and went to school at Selwyn Juniors. I remember the hot summer of 1976 and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Street Party in 1977 with fondness. There was a real community spirit in those days. Then on Saturdays I used to go and see Leyton Orient with my grandmother, Edith. She lived in Tyndall Road, Leyton at the time, which wasn’t far from the ground - and had been an avid supporter of the team when she was a youngster.

I don’t live in Highams Park now. In 1980 my parents upped sticks and moved to Kent. I was never happy about that, as I had a lot of friends in east London and all my cousins lived not far from me, but that’s the way it goes, I suppose.

Can you tell me more about your previous novels - have they followed similar plots?

My previous novel was a horror called The Ring In The Glass and is set in Chingford as well. It’s about a priest who is an exorcist. He is sent to help a woman called Marilyn Morgan whose son has messed around with an ouija board.

Has writing always been a passion for you?

I find writing very therapeutic. When I feel down or low sometimes, especially when I look at the world as it today, writing short stories, a blog post, or something else brings me out of my sullen mood and gives me something to hang onto and be positive with.

Is writing your full time job or do you have another job too?

I would love to make a living from writing but sadly that doesn’t happen. I do writing mainly for the love of it and to add something to my resume.

Tabitha Bates is available on Amazon.