When meeting authors for the first time for an interview I usually wait at a table in a local cafe with their book in clear view. Occasionally I'm tempted to say "I'll be the lady wearing the red carnation and carrying a copy of The Times." This time I forgot to leave any sign to indicate my journalistic intentions. I was rather enjoying my coffee and scones too much.
"You must be Heather," uttered a voice beside me.
The shock of being caught by an author with my mouth full of scones and cream prevented any enquiry as to how on earth she knew it was me. But I was to learn that this was no ordinary author.
Pam McCagh is a psychic. In England she is also known as the Dream Catcher or Pam from England. An international clairvoyant, McCagh works in both England and Australia with television, radio and charities, helping to connect people with their loved ones.
Born in Leeds, England, McCagh had a near death experience during an attempted suicide. She was 28 at the time. It was during this experience McCagh believes she crossed to "the other side". From that moment her psychic abilities grew and she now believes she can hear and feel those of the spirit world.
Today we're meeting for a different reason - ghost writing, or automatic writing to be more precise.
McCagh, who confesses to have no experience or knowledge of book publishing, has penned Sleep Never Comes: for those that did not reach the other side. Written in just nine weeks, Sleep Never Comes is a compilation of stories from lost souls that have not crossed over to the other side after death.
"I was told a long time ago that I would write a book," laughs McCagh, "which was so funny as I wouldn't know where to start."
The psychic now has many more books of similar stories - and there is still more to come.
"It's just such an unusual feeling that comes over me," she says, explaining how she hears their stories.
"I just have to stop everything and write."
Some of the stories found in Sleep Never Comes are difficult to read. Like The Whisperer, which tells the story of a little boy trying to save his dying mother. Or the tiny girl still waiting for her mother to return from a train crash in Waiting for Mummy. There are some stories of hope such as The Post Box, which sees a terminally ill woman refusing to commit to her fiance. The Sergeant and His Men and Who Will Tell my Wife give a moving account of the last moments of the war dead.
You don't need to be a believer to enjoy Sleep Never Comes, but it helps to have an open mind to consider its possibilities. For anyone who has lost a loved one, it's comforting to know that there are people like Pam McCagh telling their stories.
Once the interview was complete, McCagh turned and said that when she heard about our meeting, she wrote my description on a slip of paper. It was shown to me. Out of the ten or so characteristics at least eight were spot on. My age and my "chubbiness" a dead give away - not helped, of course, by my consumption of the scones and cream.
For more information and to purchase a copy of Sleep Never Comes ($35) visit <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.pamfromengland.com">www.pamfromengland.com </a>