Yep, just as many horror writers have a preference for running-for-fun, death metal and tattoos, as well as fried animal products (Ian Woodhead knows what I’m talking about) I’m striking a blow for lying in bed while stuffing hot cross buns into my big fat gob. And big Steve-Harris style hair.

Frank Duffy and Stuart Young were kind enough to nominate me for this round-robin bloghop.

Stuart Young’s post is here:

Frank’s blog is inactive at the moment, but you can read all about him here:

So, here’s my contribution. Excuse the crumbs and butter; I’m on my third bun.

What’s the working title of your next book?

The working title is likely to be the final, published one: FAIRLIGHT. It references the name of the fictional seaside village I’ve used in many of my Lovecraftian short stories, most recently the English Civil War novella SHADRACH BESIEGED (coming early 2013); I wanted to write a full-length novel that ties in with the themes and events of those stories, and explore further the history of this village.

Where did the idea come from for this book?

The idea is of a near-future Britain where teenage self-harming threatens to become an epidemic, but that’s only the start. I went through an episode of self-harming many years ago and whenever I look at the scar, the first thing I think is: what would happen if cutting yourself opened portals to another dimension? What if alien creatures or demons used this method to gain a foothold on the Earth? What would the authorities’ response would be, and how would the parents cope with this? And how could it be defeated?

What genre does the book fall under?

It’s a horror novel. A supernatural thriller, with emphasis on cosmic terror.

What actors would you choose to play the parts of your characters in a movie adaptation?

I’m going to cheat on this one, because I’m still itching for a movie of THE CARETAKERS to be made. I’d like Sean Connery as John Franklin, the evil Head Porter of All Souls College, and David Warner as David Searles, the anguished Master of All Souls. In fact, when I started writing the novel, all those years ago, I based the character of Searles on David Warner.

If he’s not available, I’ll go for Ian Richardson, because he was great as the Master in PORTERHOUSE BLUE.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of FAIRLIGHT?

“In death there is rebirth. In pain there is salvation. In mutilation there is evolution. What will YOU see when you cut yourself?” Okay, not much of an elevator pitch, so let’s try again:

Self-harming and an ability to transcend death and dimensions. A battle for the future of humanity, fought against an alien invader beyond human comprehension, with our own children as weapons. Sums up the book pretty well.

Will it be self-published or repped by an agency?

Agency? What, you mean get an agent? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

How long did it take you to write the first draft?

It’s been stop-start from the word go, because of other writing commitments, editing, eBook formatting, and so forth, but I got the initial 90,000 words done in six months There’s still another 30,000 words to go, which I aim to have done by the end of the year.

What other books would you compare this to within your genre?

Once again, I’m going to cheat: nothing like it has ever been written before. It’s true! But it will appeal to fans of Lovecraftian fiction and cosmic horror, and anyone who enjoys a fast-paced thriller with memorable characters, action and suspense, and a unique monster. The Manxome Foe is truly special, I promise…

Who/what inspired you to write this novel?

I guess it stems from that self-harming episode of my youth, but I hadn’t planned on this being my second novel. I just had the idea and started to write, with no synopsis, no character bible, and no idea where the story would end. Very rare for me to write in that way, but I’ve been doing it with short stories recently and I wondered if it would work for a longer piece. Before I knew it, the novel was practically writing itself. Ideas just came from the blue, and I realised it was a chance to give the town of Fairlight a larger canvas; exploring the town’s history and deepening the mythology.

What else about the book do you think might pique potential readers’ interest?

Although Lovecraftian in theme, it makes no reference to the Mythos. There’s no Cthulhu or any Deep Ones, but the creatures are inter-dimensional, and as alien as you can imagine. It’s also a good versus evil battle, as these creatures have an otherworldly opponent, but the “enemy of my enemy is a friend” does not apply here; the entity that the characters unwittingly enlist in their war cares nothing for mankind, and is just as destructive as the invaders…

At the heart of the story, though, is a lost teenage girl and her father’s attempts to save her, and the hell he goes through (and the price he has to pay) to free her. The core of the story is very human.

Sample chapters can be found here:

Thanks for reading, chaps and chappesses! I’ve invited Suzanne Robb, Ian Woodhead, Lisa Jenkins and Serenity J Banks to take part. As soon as I hear from them I’ll pop the links to their pieces on the comments below.

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