SUCCESSFUL crime writer Susi Holliday has swapped law and order for things that go bump in the night.

The author, who penned the Banktoun Trilogy, has released The Lingering.

It marks a step away from the crime writing series and instead explores the supernatural.

Ms Holliday, originally from Haddington, said it was a genre she had enjoyed while growing up.

She said: “I started off reading more horror stuff than crime.

“When I was younger, I read a lot of Stephen King and Dean Koontz.

“Then I started reading a bit more crime and when I started writing I was straddling the two and did not know which to go with.”

The Banktoun Trilogy – made up of Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damsel Fly – followed the fortunes of a small community partly based on the author’s home town.

However, this time things take a different kind of dark turn, with the new novel set on a commune which has been established on the grounds of a former psychiatric home with a disturbing history.

Ms Holliday, who grew up on Haddington’s West Road and Somnerfield Crescent, said: “It is a standalone thriller which is part psychology, part supernatural.

“It is a little bit different from the previous books. I just fancied doing something a little bit different.

“My first book had some hints of supernatural but it did not go into any big detail. It was more police detective-type stuff and I decided to go back to the beginning and do something a little bit different and a little bit creepy.”

Ms Holliday, who has released the new book under her pen name of SJI (Susan Jennifer Inglis) Holliday, splits her time between London and Longniddry, where mum and dad Allan and Alison moved, having previously run Inglis Newsagent and the Plough Tavern in Haddington.

She said the idea of the story had been in her head for a while but it was a case of getting it down on paper.

Ms Holliday, 44, said: “The thing is when you are writing, it is quite difficult – even when you have the idea planned out in your head.

“Getting to write it is always tricky and people think you can just get out a few words every day.

“Getting it out of your head is hard work but really satisfying when it is finished and you send it to your agent or publisher.”

Ms Holliday, who combines her writing with working as a pharmaceutical statistician, said: “There is a lot of online buzz because it is different from previous work.

“I’ve picked up new readers but also kept the crime ones, even those saying they don’t like ghost stories like my writing and like it.

I think the difficulty is that it is difficult to get an original ghost story and keep it going.”

The book is available to buy via Amazon.