I'll be talking ghosts at the Edinburgh Book Festival
I’ll be at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Thursday 18th August at 3.30 pm, talking ghost stories and mainly about my latest novel THE HUNTING GROUND, which – er – is a ghost story.
Venue is the RBS Corner Theatre. I’ll get you a couple more details once the festival guide is out ... I’ve got a feeling I’m gonna flash up some seriously freakily scary pictures at this event. Of ghosts, I mean. Or supposed ghosts. I don’t believe in them really, but still ... these pics ... well, they scared me ...
TOP TEN SCARY BOOKS etc ...
The Guardian very kindly asked me to put together a list of my top ten most frightening books suitable for a teen audience. It got me thinking and I put together this little list.
Made me reflect in a more organised way than I’d normally bother about horror stories too – and what a surprise – quel horreur! – they’re all about love!
Just about everything in life (and almost literally everything in fiction) is all about love – the having of it, the need for it, the absence of it, and our desperate attempts to claw it back or hold on to it or acquire it in all its forms.
When people are in love we know they’re capable of doing anything while in its grasp. It’s the only reason we ever accept the nonsense most fiction gives us – by which I mean the endless love stream we all tap into when we read, the DREAM COME TRUE, with any annoying intervening practical reasons why it wouldn’t be like that really safely put aside as long as our writer gives us even a fraction of a decent reason to believe. Every fiction reader is a secret romantic. Why are they/you/me reading this stuff otherwise? ... Read it here
THE HUNTING GROUND
My new YA ghost novel THE HUNTING GROUND is now out in the UK. I hope my U.S. publisher, Carolrhoda, will also publish it in due course – but it might be a while yet. There’ve been a lot of nice reviews of it in various places. Here’s a few for you if you want to get their tenor ...
From The Bookbag
From Wondrous Reads (including a brief interview with me)
From Excellent Reads
... is now out in paperback in the UK – and in hardcover in the USA. I keep getting people telling me that they like it but not the ending. Should have given a softer, more gradually-released conclusion to the reader, methinks.
You flout convention in an attempt to do what feels artistically and aesthetically right and you ... well, misjudge I guess. Sorry to those disappointed, but the answers to all the questions I’m being asked by you guys are actually all in that last chapter if you just read it carefully enough.
Anyway, I’m not gonna apologise anymore. I did write the ending I wanted. It’s a book I’m proud of.
I’m just completing the first draft of my new novel – ARAMANTH.
Anybody who can come up with a better title (it’s a planet, nice place) can have a couple of free signed copies when it comes out (plus fame and fortune of appearing on a cover of course, what are you waiting for?).
I’ve really enjoyed writing it. It’s full of wild creatures and teenagers made of stern stuff with a world to save. A classic heroic fantasy swashbuckling adventure if ever there was one. Nice change from the ice-cold ghost story THE HUNTING GROUND.
It’s odd how writing creepy stuff affects your mood, actually – all that immersion in the dark side. You don’t think it does – the relationship with your day-to-day personality is nowhere near as simple as dark fiction content = a veiled, damp mood – but it does have some impact, and you only know it when you’re back in the sunshine – I definitely felt good releasing the fetters a bit in this one, letting loose on the invention, building a world.
I’ll get it to my publisher in mid June and we’ll see what they make of it... ARAMANTH is deeply influenced, actually, by a fantasy/SF writer I’ve become (healthily, I think) obsessed with – Justina Robson.
Try KEEPING IT REAL, the first of her Quantum Gravity series. Whether you’re an adult or teen, it’s so beautifully done ... and there are 4 more glorious books in the series, too. It’s funny, really – when you come across a talent like hers you realise that almost anything is possible in fiction.
She creates ideas/characters that no one else possibly could, or even if they did they would not write them that way, so uniquely. I’m hopelessly smitten by her. Isn’t that the mark of a great writer? – you just know no one else could have written it, the vision is so distinctive... and you fall in love ...
NEXT NEXT NOVEL ...
Yeah, thinking about that, too. Might be another ghost story. I like them. I’ve been worrying the edge of a new idea for a while now, but mysteriously it won’t come right. If I can get it to do so (by which I only mean it feels like it has legs to me, of course), I might suggest to Orion that we go with this one next.
We’ll see ... Ciao ..... and be good to each other.