Bloody hell, I enjoyed that! This weekend saw the inaugural Horror in the East convention in Lowestoft, a place which, as you know, is very close to my heart (not least because I pretty much destroyed it in THEM OR US!).
I go to a lot of events, and I decide not to go to many more. I’m a fussy sod – much as I genuinely love talking to other authors and publishers etc., I have to say I prefer meeting readers. Many conventions seem to be one thing or the other, but Horror in the East was a straight down the middle collision of both. Relaxed, informal and well supported by both the local and the horror community, it was an absolute pleasure to be there. Congratulations to Emma Bunn and Jo Wilde for putting together such a superb event. I’ll be back for more Horror in the East on 1st – 2nd November 2013, and I hope to see many of you there.
Pictured: the excellent Horror in the East line-up. From left to right: (front) Richard Cosgrove, Andrew Hook, Joseph Freeman, Michael Wilson, Conrad Williams, (back) Sean Page, me, Adam Baker, Adam Millard, Joseph D’Lacey, Simon Coleby, Ivan Bunn, Iain McKinnon, Henry Baker, Paul Huggins. (Photo pinched from Adam Millard on Facebook – hope you don’t mind, Adam!).
Last night I had the honour of interviewing James Herbert again – this time at Foyles in London, in front of a sell-out audience of more than 200 people. As I said in my previous piece, it’s hard to quantify the effect James’ books have had on me and on my writing. I don’t profess to have slavishly read everything he’s written, but his style, approach, attitude and (of course) his success are an inspiration to anyone who writes horror. There’s no doubt in my mind that discovering his books as a teenager was a pivotal moment which set me on the path to doing what I do today. Thanks again to James, his team, and the staff at Foyles. A truly memorable evening.
By the way – the audio quality isn’t great, but I stumbled across a brief clip of James and I on YouTube this morning. It’s embedded at the bottom of this post. (Thanks to YouTube user astroduckula – I hope you don’t mind the link, and I hope you enjoyed last night!).
And on the subject of James Herbert… my friend Michael Wilson (the brains behind THIS IS HORROR), recently interviewed James for SCREAM magazine. The interview appears in the latest issue (pictured) which is available now.
And on the subject of This is Horror… the second in their series of chapbooks – THIN MEN WITH YELLOW FACES by Gary McMahon and Simon Bestwick – is released this Saturday, 22nd September. There will be an exclusive launch event in Manchester on Saturday featuring Ramsey Campbell and Conrad Williams alongside Gary and Simon. Click here for details. I believe there are a few copies of JOE & ME (my entry in the series) still available. That’s a story no AUTUMN fan should be without, but I’ll say no more about that for now…
I’m planning a lot of events for the latter half of 2012, but this is one I’m particularly looking forward to.
Earlier this week I posted about a new edition of THEM OR US (see here). You might remember that the book is set in Lowestoft, the most easterly town in the UK, and a place that I have family connections with. Cast your mind back even further, and you might recall that when the book was launched last November, we held an event in the town (and subsequently destroyed the place courtesy of some great post-apocalyptic artwork – click here for a slideshow).
As a result of the success of the event last year, co-conspirators Jo Wilde and Emma Bunn have organised a new horror convention to take place in Lowestoft this November – AUTUMN: HORROR IN THE EAST.
Details are just beginning to emerge, but here are the important facts: 1. The event will be FREE to attend, and 2. Loads of excellent authors have already signed up including Adam Baker, Jasper Bark, Conrad Williams, Wayne Simmons, Simon Bestwick, Iain McKinnon and myself.
Come and join us for a weekend full of horror and Haters down by the sea! Keep an eye on the official website and Facebook page for more information as and when it’s announced.
I’m really excited to confirm that I’ll be at the SHOCK AND GORE horror festival at the Electric Cinema in Birmingham next month. Running from 6th to 8th July, a host of great films will be screened from classics such as VIDEODROME and MARTIN, through to new movies such as RED LIGHTS and DETENTION. I’ll be taking part in a literary session at 6pm on Sunday with Conrad Williams, Sam Stone and Jasper Bark, after which I have the privilege of introducing a screening of Tod Browning’s still powerful 1932 film, FREAKS.
For more information, click here to visit the festival site.
I promised to tell you about two new projects this week: here’s the first.
Many of you will already know about This is Horror – an excellent website which, in its short existence, has developed a large following and a reputation for being a key resource for finding out about all things horror. The founders of the site have plenty of enthusiasm and ambition, and are about to branch out into a new venture: the This is Horror Premium Chapbook series. These chapbooks will be released every quarter and will showcase original stories from (in TiH’s words) “some of the very best names in the genre today”.
I’m honoured to have been asked to contribute a story, and I’m very pleased to announce that my piece – Joe and Me – will be the launch title.
I don’t want to say too much at the present time, I’ll just give you the salient facts: the chapbooks will be strictly limited to 500 copies, and Joe and Me will be launched in early June (with a launch event to take place in Warwick later in the month). Pricing, subscription and ordering details will be made available very shortly, but for now you can find out more by visiting this page over at www.thisishorror.co.uk. My story will be followed later this year by tales from Conrad Williams, Joseph D’Lacey, and a collaborative story from Gary McMahon and Simon Bestwick.
So what’s Joe and Me about? Well again, I won’t give too much away at this stage, I’ll just say that if you have even a passing interest in the AUTUMN series, you might want to check it out!
A quick post to comment on one excellent event and for some last minute publicity for another. Last weekend I was at alt.fiction – a great writing event held in Leicester. On Saturday I took part in a panel discussing adaptations of books, films, comics, games etc. into different formats, and on Sunday I was there for another Mammoth Book of Body Horror panel along with the book’s editors Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan, and fellow contributors Simon Clark and Conrad Williams.
Myself, Simon Clark, Conrad Williams, Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan (photo courtesy of Paul Kane)
It was great to meet Graham Joyce too, and to be there for the premier of Black Dust – an excellent short movie based on one of his stories. Thanks to everyone who supported the weekend and to the organisers for having me.
I know I’m leaving this next bit late, but don’t forget that I’ll be at Waterstones in Cardiff tomorrow, signing with Wayne Simmons. Wayne’s launching his new novel DOLL PARTS – the sequel to DROP DEAD GORGEOUS. Please come along if you’re in the area. We’ll be there from 12:30pm onwards.
I hope not to leave it another two weeks before posting again. With a little luck I’ll be back in a few days to let you know what I’m working on now that the HATER and AUTUMN books are done and dusted. There’s some good stuff coming…
I spent much of last week sitting around a swimming pool in the sun (wish I was back there now…). As well as making me realise I’m writing for the wrong market if I ever want to make serious money from books (I was the only one reading horror while a huge volume of chick-lit and formulaic pulp fiction was being continually consumed all around me), it was a great opportunity to read a few books because I wanted to, not because I’d been asked to or I’d promised to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always happy to blurb whenever I can, but there’s something supremely satisfying about choosing a book from your shelf and reading it because you’re in the mood to read it, no other reason.
The book at the top of my pile last week was ONE by Conrad Williams.
“This is the United Kingdom, but it’s no country you know. No place you ever want to see, even in the shuttered madness of your worst dreams. But you survived. One man.”
ONE blew me away. Beautifully written (I am supremely jealous of Williams’ descriptive skills), it’s the story of Richard Jane, a diver working on a rig in the North Sea. As Jane and his colleagues rise to the surface, dead fish and bodies sink the other way – the first indication that something terrible has happened. By the time he makes it back to dry land several days later, it’s clear that the world he remembers is gone forever. The land around him is scarred beyond recognition, every living person dead. The rain burns like acid, and the sky is a constantly swirling mass of browns and reds. Bewildered and terrified, Jane has no option but to walk virtually the entire length of the devastated country back to London, back to his son.
I’ve had a blast over the last couple of weeks getting out and about. I usually spend too much time sat in front of this computer, so it’s been great actually getting out and meeting people again! With three more AUTUMN novels and the final book in the HATER series out in 2011, I’m planning to arrange many more events like these. If you want me to come visit your neck of the woods, drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do!
There’s a slideshow below (if you really want to see a series of photos of an angry looking bald man and some books), but I wanted to share some of the best bits with you. Firstly, it was brilliant to finally meet some of the folks I’d only ever spoken to by email before: Dawn, Peter, Ryan, Will, Scott, Clym (one of the stars of the Darker Projects adaptation of Autumn no less!), Richard from Scream Magazine and many others.
Grimm up North was a success again this year in its new venue (The Dancehouse theatre, Manchester). The Adaptations panel was particularly good fun when I shared the stage with Conrad Williams (author of the superb One), and genre favourites Christopher Priest and Ramsey Campbell. But for me, my evening with Wayne Simmons at No Alibis in Belfast was the undoubted highlight of the week.
No Alibis is a fantastic little independent bookstore in the Botanic area of Belfast. They specialise in Crime and our event was their first (but hopefully not the last) foray into horror. It was an exceptionally cool evening as Wayne and I read from our books then discussed our writing and the differences and similarities between our approaches to the living dead in front of a really appreciative audience. A wonderful night.
Every stop on my brief mini-tour of the UK was fantastic, and I want to thank everyone who helped put the events together: Emily at Waterstone’s Oxford Street, Sim, Steve and the team from Grimm Up North, Steven at Waterstone’s Leicester (bookseller extraordinaire and part time zombie construction worker), Adele from Un:Bound (read Un:Bound’s coverage of the Leicester signing here), Wayne and Rebecca, Dave at No Alibis, and Mark and Adam at Waterstone’s Colchester. And thanks too to everyone who came out to say hello.