I daren’t even look at the date of the last update I wrote. Let’s just all agree that it was a long time ago. I absolutely definitely didn’t say anything about promising to update more regularly. I wouldn’t be so stupid as to say something like that. No way. You betcha.
Anyway – hello again. Lots of news in this one.
Firstly, the big news is that – finally – my new book is out. SLATER’S PIT (link to purchase here) is a bit of a left turn for me after two books with the Graces. It’s set in a town very much like the town I grew up in, on a street very much like the street I grew up in, in a house very much…well, you get the picture. What it isn’t is autobiographical, before you ask, with the characters taking on a life of their own once I’d gotten stuck into the story.
The idea – like all of my ideas – came from one single image. It’s similar to the image that illustrates the cover of the book, and, as you’ll (hopefully) discover, is the centrepiece of the story. From that one image I’ll start to wonder how it would fit into a story, and then, once I work out a way to get to that image, will then try and work out where to go from it.
There’s a field behind my childhood home, and next to that field is a pond. And all around that pond is an old, dark wood, which, when I was younger, used to scare me a little bit, especially at night. It’s funny now, though, because that wood looks smaller and friendlier than I thought it was as a kid. Perhaps it changed, or perhaps I have. Or perhaps there’s something in the wood that’s changed.
I also wanted SLATER’S PIT to have something else that was different for one of my books – illustrations. I love those old Sherlock Holmes stories, from Strand Magazine, which would have those lovely, atmospheric black and white drawings with little headings like “Holmes reclined in his chair and smoked his pipe”. Given that SLATER’S PIT is very much all about atmosphere, I wondered whether I could find someone who would be able to create that same feeling from their art that I was trying to achieve with my words.
There was only ever one person on the shortlist.
Stipan Morianis a very good friend of mine. We met – amazingly – on Twitter, when I sent him a message saying how much I loved his artwork on some thread or other. From there we got to chatting, and then over time, we became pals. One of the many things I love about Stipan’s work is how restless he is – he is always pushing himself, constantly experimenting with technique and medium, all in the hope of making his art better. It’s been such a thrill for me to see his comic art flourish in his first major series,20th CENTURY MEN, written with Deniz Camp.
So, I was thrilled when Stipan agreed to provide the internal illustrations for SLATER’S PIT. I’m excited for people to find the book, and to find those illustrations for themselves too. Here’s the one illustration I’ve been sharing online. Get the book to see the rest…
Finally, my website has been given a new lease of life as well. Stuart Grant of Digital Authors Toolkithas spruced the old place up, and now I have a website to really be proud of. I’m really grateful to Stuart for his hard work.
So, there we are. Let’s see if the next update is with you sooner.
(Feel free to drop me a line – always happy to hear from you.)