Themes, Thursday Themes

Thursday Themes – Dean Bryant

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I’m delighted to welcome a new author, Dean Bryant, to my blog today. Dean’s debut novel, The Stairwell will be released on 30th October, but if you’re as excited as I am after reading about the themes, I’m sure you’ll be clicking on the Amazon link at the bottom to get this pre-ordered!

The Stairwell tells the stories of two separate characters, in alternating chapters; Brandon Chapman and Alice Hamilton.

The Stairwell is a horror/paranormal thriller that focuses on how these two separate characters manage the experiences that they seemingly share. Neither character understands what is happening to them, or indeed why it is happening. The book explores whether the characters are actually experiencing paranormal events, or whether trauma in their earlier lives is responsible. Early life is a key aspect of the personalities and life trajectories of both characters.

Brandon had a very difficult childhood, being raised in the care system. He feels that as an adult having never faced these issues or sought help for them that he has a darkness inside him, a part of his personality that he must keep deep inside him, afraid of what might happen if he allows it to show. Though Alice grew up in a happy family home, she struggled to make any lasting friendships. Disliked by girls for being too pretty, and intimidating to boys because of her looks, she always found herself on the outside of her groups of peers. This left her with self-esteem issues that she still struggles with.

The other main themes of The Stairwell are trust and love. Both Brandon and Alice experience traumatic events in their relationship, whilst also dealing with inexplicable violent events. Brandon is informed of secrets regarding his wife and their relationship by a stranger. He has to decide whether he should trust this unknown but very well-informed stranger or his wife.

Alice’s new boyfriend, whom she has very quickly developed strong feelings for, feels she can no longer trust him after his behaviour radically changes following a horrific accident. In order to save his life and ensure he awakes from his coma, Alice makes a deal with a voice that echoes inside her head, speaking to her from everywhere and nowhere. She must face the consequences of her choice, and decide whether or not she can still trust Niel and if he is the man she fell in love with.

Some aspects of the book are deliberately left up to the readers’ interpretation. I think that it’s important for readers to understand the characters in their own way. No spoilers, but the readers may also find that the ending of The Stairwell leaves them with more questions than answers…


Frightful visions. An unknown manipulator. A force from beyond reason.

Brandon Chapman arrives home to a horrific scene. His wife, Stephanie, is exhibiting behaviour that he can only describe as that of someone possessed – yet he doesn’t even believe in the supernatural. He soon realises that it was nothing other than a frightful, haunting vision.

After discovering a dark secret about Stephanie, Brandon meets a strange figure with knowledge about his own life that no one could possibly know. As his visions become more frequent and terrifying, he begins to question his sanity.

Brandon must either side with this figure or his wife before his daughter comes to harm.

Alice Hamilton, a shy and quiet university student, meets handsome Niel Curtis whilst on a night out with friends. They very quickly fall for one another, but their happiness is short-lived when Niel ends up in a coma after a traffic accident.

Alice fears he may never wake up again and, unaware of the consequences, strikes a deal with a strange voice. When Niel awakes, his behaviour changes drastically, and Alice – like Brandon – becomes subject to nightmarish, violent visions.

Are Brandon and Alice caught in a never-ending nightmare?

Author bio:

Dean has always loved writing, ever since his primary school teacher wrote “another cracker from the pen of Dean Bryant” on his English homework. He loves writing horror and dark thrillers as they allow him to be as imaginative as possible. He won a nation-wide poetry competition when he was 11 and went on to never write another poem.

He’s a huge fan of the classic horror authors Stephen King and Dean Koontz, with Midnight being his favourite book of all time. He studied Psychology at university which made him the friend everyone goes to for advice.

Dean lives in London with his partner of ten years, who also doubles as a beta-reader and critic. He is a type 1 diabetic, which hasn’t stopped him eating cake, he just has to do a lot of mental math first.






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