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Here's everything that happened at The Riff Raff October writers' night

The candles were lit, the bats were dangling, the cobwebs strewn across the walls…only the very brave had dared venture out for our spooky writers’ fright night on Thursday 12th October.

In keeping with our haunted, Halloween theme, we had selected five debut authors whose first books were written specifically to thrill your nerves and chill your bones. With our cosy room at Brixton's Effra Social packed out yet again, it was time to dive in.

The first author to the stage was Amanda Reynolds, author of the superb Close to Me. We had it pegged as a psychological thriller but, as Amanda told us with a wink, is actually ‘amnesiac domestic noir’.

Before she read, Amanda shared some of her publishing journey and dispelled one of the great myths about writing a book: that you must start immediately. “It’s not always the right time,” she said. Instead, “Enjoying life will enrich your writing.”

Amanda came to writing later in life herself and her book is all the richer for it: her opening passage sees protagonist Jo falling down the stairs and waking up sure of nothing but that her husband is a sinister presence. Our audience was hooked.

More advice was to come. “You are a writer; you don't need permission to write,” said Amanda, acknowledging that writing can also wrack up the guilt. Her solution? “Be a little bit selfish.”

And in terms of ramping up the excitement: “Add in a robot.”

What story can’t be improved by the addition of a robot?