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Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Moor by Sam Haysom - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Anniek

James is living with his grandmother and isn't looking forward to go on the walking trip everyone is talking about. He isn't as fit as his friends, but when the others all decide to go he goes along as well. The four teenagers team up with the new boy in town, Tim, and his father who will be the team leader. When nightfall comes the group sits around the campfire and the evening of course isn't complete without an old ghost story. This story scares James more than he cares to admit but he's putting up a brave face. Six people went on a walking trip, only three of them came back. What happened on that dark weekend on the Moor?

When the boys wake up in the morning they discover that one of them, Gary, is missing. Tim's dad thinks that Gary has already started walking to beat everybody to the finish. They pack up their gear and follow the trail that they've set out. When another member of the group disappears the boys want to get help as quickly as possible. There's a storm coming, so they have to be fast. They're in a secluded area of the Moor and they don't have cell reception unless they walk closer to the road. Why was the trail set up miles away from any nearby road and will they reach help in time to save their missing friends?

The Moor is a bone chilling story about the dangers that lurk around in the dark. I love ghost stories and I think it's very scary talking about them while sitting around a campfire. It gives the story an extra creepy atmosphere and I could perfectly imagine how scared the teenage boys must have been when they went to their tent. Being alone in a secluded area seems like a bad idea to begin with and The Moor showed me that it's indeed better to stay together at all times. I couldn't wait to learn more about the boys who went missing and about the ones who made it out.

Sam Haysom has a gripping and descriptive writing style. He also has a vivid imagination, which meant I could perfectly picture the Moore in my head and his numerous unexpected twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat. I'm a big fan of creepy stories and loved this surprisingly scary book. The Moore is a promising debut novel and I can't wait to read Sam Haysom's next story. I'm greatly impressed by this thrilling adrenaline rush of a book.


If you like to read stories about the monsters that live in the dark you'll love The Moor.

About Sam Haysom

Sam Haysom is a writer and journalist covering culture and entertainment for Mashable. He wrote the bulk of his debut novel, The Moor, during National Novel Writing Month in 2015. You can read all about his experience on Mashable’s website. He’s also written a number of short stories, one of which won first prize in a monthly competition run by the dark fiction website Spinetinglers.

A graduate of Cardiff University, he grew up on the edge of the New Forest and now lives in London.


Twitter // Amazon


1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Hello! My name is Sam Haysom and The Moor is my debut novel. I write fiction in my spare time; for my full-time job I work as the Deputy UK Editor for Mashable, writing and editing a mixture of culture, tech and entertainment stories. I've always loved writing and reading; I grew up devouring Goosebumps and Point Horror, then quickly discovered Stephen King in my early teens. I've never looked back :)

2) What’s the inspiration behind The Moor?

I guess the first seed was sewn back when I was a teenager. I took part in an event at school called Ten Tors, which basically involved a group of six of us navigating a route across Dartmoor over a long weekend. Sort of a competition. I remember thinking at the time that it'd be a good setting for a story -- we were out in the wilderness on our own, for the most part, and moorland definitely has the potential to be nice and creepy. Especially at night…

3) Can you describe the main characters of The Moor in five words each?

James: Friendly, but anxious. Too nice.

Gary: An insecure and troubled bully.

Tim: Socially awkward. New at school.

Tom: The confident and athletic leader.

Matt: The mediator. Don't underestimate him.

Mr Stevens: Tim's dad. Charming but strict.

4) The Moor starts with a ghost story around a campfire. What do you like the most about scary stories?

There's something fun about being scared that's hard to pin down. I guess it's a bit like that feeling you get when someone tells you not to look at something -- you know it's a bad idea to look, but a part of you wants to anyway. Being scared is like that. A part of you doesn't want to hear what happens at the end of the ghost story -- you know it's going to be something bad, after all -- but another part of you does. It creates this weird sort of squirmy, nervous energy. I also really love the tension-building aspect of scary stories -- the way the suspense slowly ramps up to breaking point.

5) How did your writing journey start?

It actually started with poetry, and my grandma. I can't remember where the idea came from, exactly, but one day my gran and I decided to pick a random topic to each go away and write a poem about. For a while we did it every month. We'd pick a deadline, write our poems, then read them to each other when the date arrived. Then we'd pick a new topic and start over. This must have been when I was in my teens, I can't remember when exactly. Then, at university, I took a creative writing module as part of my English literature degree.

I wrote more poetry, and also some short stories. In the years after university I started writing more short stories, which I eventually began submitting to various websites. One of them ended up winning first prize (and £100!) in a monthly horror competition run by a dark fiction site called Spinetinglers. That was a hugely exciting (and hugely important) moment for me. In the years after that I kept writing short stories, then eventually worked my way up to novels.

6) Which monster do you fear the most?

When I was a kid, the Goosebumps book that gave me the worst nightmares -- easily the worst nightmares I remember having as the result of a book -- was called The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight. So I guess... scarecrows?!

7) How did it make you feel when you found out that Owen King read your book?

So, so happy. It's been one of the most exciting moments for me so far, I think. I know I mentioned Stephen King earlier, but I really can't stress enough how big a fan I am of the whole King family. To have someone like Owen say they'd read and enjoyed my book meant an incredible amount to me.

8) What makes your heart beat faster?

Even though I'm nearly 30 years old, I still have moments -- normally after I've watched a particularly unnerving horror film -- where I wake up in the early hours of the morning from bad dreams. Maybe around 2am or 3am. If I have one of those moments and I'm on my own, I'd be lying if I said my heart rate doesn't pick up ever so slightly. (Yes, I know I'm lame.)

9) When things go bump in the night, what would be your first thought and course of action?

I'd love to say I'd pick up a weapon and step bravely into the face of the unknown, but the reality would probably be closer to blockading the bedroom door and immediately calling the police.

10) What are your plans for the future?

I've recently finished writing my second novel, The Flood! The characters and the story are different, but the genre is the same. I've just finished the first round of tweaks my agent suggested, and I'm really pleased with how it's all progressing. Watch this space :)


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of The Moor by Sam Haysom.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. The Moor sounds like a creepy, atmospheric story full of suspense with a sense of dread lingering throughout.

  2. Just the kind of book I like. Several friends have read this and recommended it to me. I'd love to win a copy!

  3. The moors are a perfect setting for creepy stories and this sounds like a really creepy one! Well done!

  4. It sounds spine tinglingly scary! I love it!

  5. Love a good atmospheric book that's a break from the norm xx

  6. The Moor sounds awesome! Very well done.

  7. I am off to visit Mashable’s website

  8. This novel sounds really creepy and scary, this would have shivers running up and down my spine - a page turner I would say.

  9. Oooo sounds even better than I thought it would be. I love to be scared!
    sherry @ fundinmental

  10. THE MOOR sounds like it will grab hold of me. Got to love that.

  11. This sounds like a thrilling and scary read. Can't wait to read it!

  12. It sounds a really creepy story! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Very spooky mystery

  14. Scary I will have to read peeping between my fingers

  15. This book is worth the read. I want moor of the moor.

  16. This looks like just my sort of read!!!

  17. The cover is creepy cool! I like a good spooky story.

  18. I'd love to read this too, which sounds creepy. In my homeland there are a lot of ghost stories. Although this story gives me goosebumps and nightmaren sometimes, it remains interesting as book to read. Looking forward then for the review of The Flood. All the best with this second novel too.

  19. This sounds totally creepy and I'd love to read it!

  20. This sounds a really gripping book

  21. Sounds scary.I would love to read!Thank you for giveaway.

  22. The book cover for The Moor looks like it's threatening rain and has a sense of foreboding.

  23. Thanks for the great prize and competition. Good luck everyone!

  24. Thanks for the giveaway and for the hard work of writing