Posts in Books
Shelf Help

There’s magic in a bookshop.  A palpable, near hypnotic, almost blissful sense of wonder.  Which can, if I let my guard down, led to me leaving with a pile of books and my wife pointing out the restricting mathematics of shelf space.  I suppose it’s fair to say it primarily exists in the second-hand variety of the bookshop.  First hand bookshops are very nice, don’t get me wrong.  All those uncracked spines.  All that shiny furniture.  The sale tables grouping together all the books that're now the cornerstones for TV shows or movies.  The recognisable brand coffee shops with free wi-fi and the illusion that their chairs might be comfortable.  Still, there’s something antiseptic about those places.  Something clinical, in a private healthcare sort of way.  

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 For the record, I’ve been struggling to express this idea since it hit me.  This felt like a good place to thrash it out.  Show my workings.  I think that, whilst sometimes we will buy what we need, there is a more interesting relationship between us and buying what we want.  I think, in some cases, what we’re actually chasing after is already in our head.  

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The King

Growing up in the 80s, there was really no avoiding Stephen King.  My parents never read horror, but his stories were everywhere.  They were discussed on TV, they were whispered about on the playground.  Carrie was already a palpable hit for both him and De Palma.  The likes of Christine, Cujo and Firestarter were infamous.  As was Thinner, sneakily written under that tissue paper thin alias he occasionally ducked behind.  The Shinning was dividing people between preferring the book and the movie; an early precursor to so many comic book movie arguments that were waiting for us in the 21st century.  As I grew up the names of his stories became the stuff of legend.  Pet Cemetery, It, The Stand, Salem’s Lot.

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Restoration Man

    Back then, I’d only just started writing and self-publishing horror stories.  I’d finished a few: The Low Road, The Narrow Doors and The Compressionist, but I was still finding my feet.  At first, I didn’t even think about trying to make a story out of my nightmare.  If I’m being honest, I just wanted it out of my brain.
     It was only after a shower and a mug of coffee, that I realised I had to try and do something with it.  I was trying to be a horror writer.  It would be a shame to waste the fear jangling through my system.  So, instead of distracting myself, I sat down and began to work with it.

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Thinking about releasing something new has got me remembering the first novella I published with Kensington Gore Publishing.  The Compressionist wasn’t the first horror story I wrote.  No, that was The Low Road, back in the days of invisible self publishing.  That was followed by The Narrow Doors, which came from attending a cremation and thinking about those patronising advice books they used to publish for girls decades before.  Well, that and a first draft ending that freaked me out.  The Compressionist found me wanting to try something different.  

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