As writers we draw on inspiration from the world around us—and beyond. So I wanted to share with you a place that’s long held my fascination and will now feature as a location in my current work in progress. It’s called Toowong Cemetery and was once the primary cemetery for Brisbane, Australia. Founded in 1866 and formally opened in 1875, it’s a beautifully scenic cemetery set over rolling hills with a view of the city in the distance. While it’s certainly not considered old by most of the world’s standards, it’s a heritage-listed site and is the resting place for some of Brisbane’s key figures—and tragic tales.
Walking through the cemetery feels like walking into another world, and it’s like you can no longer hear the endless traffic passing by along the busy motorway below. Instead, you become mesmerised by the towering monuments reaching up to the clouds, and the decrepit and long-forgotten resting places of those buried there. What horror and dark fantasy writer wouldn’t find inspiration in a place like this?
I couldn’t help but wonder about the stories behind the graves, especially the older, unmaintained one. Were there no ancestors? No one left to visit? Or are there only the ghosts Brisbane’s past left for company?
More than 20 years after her abduction at the hands of the elusive Pan, Wendy Darling is all grown up and a successful detective. But when a local girl vanishes in the middle of the night, her past comes rushing back.
Grieving the death of her mother, Detective Darling wants nothing more than to throw herself back into work. When the Lord Mayor’s daughter, Rosalie, vanishes, she insists on taking the case, triggering memories of her own past abduction. For years, Wendy struggled with her nonsensical memories of her captor, who she only knows as Pan. Yet the more she uncovers about Rosalie’s disappearance, the more Wendy is convinced her worst nightmare has come true—Pan’s back. Her fears are confirmed when the girl suddenly reappears and Wendy realizes she’s walked straight into Pan’s trap…