A FORMER Black Country journalist whose spooky debut novel is based on real-life ghost stories from the region is to give a talk at Dudley Library next week.

Gary Phelps, writing as GJ Phelps, has had a life-long passion for horror stories and while working as a journalist he heard many a spooky tale.

Some of the real-life hauntings he uncovered during his 30 years in the news industry have formed the inspiration for his debut novel 13 Doors which he released earlier this year.

The book follows the journey of a reporter Joe Baxter who sets out to spend the night in 13 different haunted locations across the UK.

It is largely set in Birmingham, and locations such as the Victorian graveyards in the Jewellery Quarter and the Birmingham Catacombs but it also takes inspiration from sites such as Birmingham’s back-to-back heritage houses and Dudley’s Black Country Living Museum.

Gary, an award-winning journalist who worked his way up from junior reporter to eventually editing nine newspapers including the Black Country Bugle, will be talking about his career and how he came to create the novel at an event at Dudley Library on Thursday November 16, from 6.45pm.

He will also read an extract from the novel as well as selling and signing copies; there will also be a Q&A session.

Gary said: “I’m really looking forward to meeting people at Dudley Library to share some of those real stories and explain how they shaped 13 Doors into such an unusual book, which looks at ghosts in a different way.

“I would also be interested in hearing their real ghost stories too - which I could use in my next book!”

Stephanie Rhoden, Better partnership manager for Dudley Libraries, said: "We’re looking forward to this reading and finding out more about his inspirations and writing experience.”

The event is free and light refreshments will be available. Doors open at 6pm.

Tickets and more details are available from Dudley Library on 01384 815560.

13 Doors is published by the Book Guild Publishing, priced £9.99 and available from book sellers including Amazon.