Josh vs The Loft: an update (in other words, I've finished writing Alumni - Reverberations)

Alumni – Reverberations is finished! Now I wonder what all the fuss was about. :D

To explain further/recap, here’s the Author’s Note I’ve added to the start of the book:

As a way of making light of how long it’s taken me to finish this novel, I’ve spent the past five(!) years saying, “Josh has been stuck in the loft for [x] years now.” That was where I left him at the end of Reunions, published in April 2017—dangling from the loft hatch in his former ‘surgery’, a space he previously rented but now owns.
It might, therefore, be somewhat confusing to find that Josh is not stuck in the loft at the beginning of this book. This isn’t because he cunningly escaped while the author was under siege from burnout. Rather, the five-chapter epilogue of Reunions and the first seven chapters of Reverberations overlap. This was always my intention—to add in the ‘how did we get here?’ background to events at the end of Reunions—but it should, I hope, also serve as something of a Previously…in Hiding Behind The Couch.

Either way, all you need to know is that at the start of this story, Josh isn’t stuck in the loft…yet.

Reverberations ended up being a bit longer (149k) than I’d aimed for (80k). Partly, it’s because I switched from writing the next ‘season’ (#8, which would have been titled Alumni) to writing a follow-up to Ruminations, and I’m still undecided which of those it is (hence Alumni – Reverberations).

Ruminations followed Josh and Sean to university at the start of their academic journey. Reverberations, set twenty-plus years later, likewise focuses on Josh and Sean, along with one of their alumni, Genie. The story is told from the points of view of those three characters with brief appearances from ‘The Circle’ – the central cast of Hiding Behind The Couch – and other alumni caught up in some ghostly goings-on…


Genie was still smiling as she exited her room, ready to give her best efforts to seeing Xander’s ghosts, but the smile quickly turned to horror as she reached the top of the stairs. All four portraits had tipped sideways; the one immediately to her left—her great-great-great-grandmother’s—continued to sway until, before her eyes, it lifted free of its hook and slid down the wall. The frame broke apart on impact with the step, one half staying where it fell, the other still attached to the painting, which bounced, end over end, all the way to the bottom of the stairs. A further noise had Genie grabbing for the banister: the familiar tinkle of a small bunch of keys dropped onto the bureau.

“Hey, Mum. I’m home. Where are you?”

Nige is almost done with his alpha-read, after which comes beta-reading, editing, proofreading…and it still needs a cover. On that score, AI (DreamStudio) came up with some interesting ideas for the prompt ‘A dream of a haunted attic, dark objects, Ouija, abstract, scales of justice, therapy’.

I WILL release Alumni – Reverberations before the end of 2022.


Mysterious happenings are mounting up for Josh, Sean and their estranged alumni.

Josh Sandison-Morley was born a sceptic. Why else would he insist there’s no such thing as ghosts when he’s eliminated every plausible explanation for the noises in his former therapy rooms?

Sean Tierney’s having some ‘performance issues’. His GP says there’s no physical reason: his blood pressure is under control, and he’s stayed off the booze, ergo it’s all in his head. In the circumstances, being a palliative clinical psychologist isn’t proving (self-)helpful.

Despite two decades of friendship and their grand plans to open a private psychotherapy centre, neither man confides in the other. That is, until news reaches them both, via different avenues, that their experiences are but part of a bizarre cluster of unexplained phenomena, for which there is only one common denominator.

Whether real or the product of overwrought imaginations, Josh, Sean and their alumni must lay to rest the spectre of a once-beloved friend…or admit defeat and crawl back under the safe, weighty stones of the jobs and relationships they’ve left behind.


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