Thursday, 27 June 2013

London-based frights and other writing news

When Paul Finch (multi-talented author and editor bloke) asked me to contribute to Terror Tales of London, I got a bit of the fear myself. I actually venture to London fairly regularly, but it's pretty much always to the same bit: Charring Cross Road and Soho, the place with all the book shops and the arty folk. And that's where my knowledge of London pretty much comes screeching to a halt. Take me out of Zone 1 and ask me to go anywhere else and I start to feel the jitters. Wood Green used to be about as exotic as it got for me, London-wise. (That far flung and strange land). And that was only because that was where our distributors of the time were based. Oh, and thanks to various lunches with Christopher Fowler, I now know a bit more about the rapidly changing Kings Cross. But here was Paul asking me to write a story set in a city which I knew only a little bit. So, of course The Horror Writer is set on Charring Cross Road, but a Charring Cross Road from the past, one where Murder One was still in its larger store, and before it went the way of many other book retailers on that stretch. The actual story is inspired by two bookshops in Kent. The Bookmark in Rochester is one. It no longer exits and, sadly, the owner - my chain-smoking, sweary, jazz-loving friend Graham - died a few years ago. The other is still there, Baggins Bookshop, and those familiar with this literary haunt will recognise some of the labyrinthine corridors in my story.

And this anthology is not just brilliant because I'm in it! I find myself in the company of writers I've known and admired for years: Nina Allen, Adam Nevill, Christopher Fowler, Nicholas Royle, Barbara Roden, to name just a few.

Paul Finch is a terrific editor and this anthology, complete with its 'true' stories concerning London's dark history, is a real gem.

Which means you should buy it. And you can do so by ordering directly from the publisher here, Gray Friar Press.

I don't get to write as much as I like, but I'm thrilled to bits that after many years of tinkering I'm actually getting somewhere with my fiction. Today sees yet another story acceptance, and more on that soon.

Happy Reading.