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My uncle, Keith, kindly nominated me to take part in a writing blog meme last month. I don’t normally do these kinds of things; I don’t really blog, or write (other than books). But I thought this would be a good way to promote myself as a new author, so here it is!
1. What am I working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on my debut novel, which is actually finished, so the real work has begun – marketing, publishing, organising signing events, it’s all been rather exhausting.
The book, The Angels of Islington, follows the adventures of a group of vampires who have successfully integrated themselves into the goth scene of nineties London. It’s a jolly romp, with a bit of horror and sardonic humour thrown in. I actually started writing it in 1997 in between jobs. After losing a good portion of it in a disk error, where about half of it turned into gobbledygook, I gave up on it. Then I got a job and forgot about it.
Thankfully, I decided to use it as part of a university project about 5 years ago and rekindled my interest in it, and reignited my writing fire!
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is quite different to most other vampire fiction novels, partly because it is focused solely on a specific sub-genre within London youth culture. It also features places in London that I, and many of my counterparts, used to go to when I first moved there in the nineties. So, it has become a kind of nostalgic piece. Bringing back memories of clubs gone by, and clubs that still exist today, but in much different guises. It’s like a snapshot of the scene through the dark filmy lens of gothic literature.
It also turns a few vampire myths on their head, for example, most vampires have a moral deficit, and for the most part mine do, apart from one character who as a bit more sympathy for humanity, pointedly refusing to turn his human friends or lovers into vampires. I wanted to give each vampire their own unique personality, with their own unique ideas on what is right and wrong.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I love gothic horror and I love reading gothic horror novels, such as Dracula, Frankenstein and Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. I am also inherently goth, and love all things dark. Therefore the decision to base a gothic horror novel within the goth scene seemed logical to me, and came very naturally.
4. How does my writing process work?
At the moment, I have to juggle my writing with work and other commitments. When I first wrote my novel, I was unemployed, so it was easy, I’d get up from Scot’s sofa bed, turn on the PC and get stuck in, in between the occasional visit to Finchley Job Centre and Slimelight. I’d listen to Siouxsie and the Banshees and Toyah on my Walkman. Nowadays, I generally listen to Nightbreed Radio and drown myself in peppermint tea.
My three nominees are:
Laura is one of my best friends, I met her just before we started University in 2007. She is a great writer and burlesque performer under her pseudonym Violette Haze. In her own words:
Laura was born in Hannover, Germany in 1987, and moved to the UK when she was 2 years old. Since a very young age she has had a fascination and flair with words and enjoyed keeping a diary. This developed into writing creatively, which lead her to gain a BA Honours degree in Writing and English. She enjoys writing poetry, fairy-tale parodies and the odd erotic story or two. As well as being a self-confessed bibliophile, she’s obsessed with Pandas, enjoys drinking copious amounts of tea and has just started to keep an online blog, Pandalaura’s box.
Simon Satori Hendley
Simon is a rock-star come writer and all round good-guy. I’m grateful to him for all his help with The Angels of Islington, including providing a great review, and his hospitality when Steve and I came round to photograph Cecile for the front cover. In his own words:
In 2006 Simon Satori Hendley, afraid of losing his eyesight to acanthamoeba, wrote his first novel while he still could. By 2007 he’d beaten the eyeball-munching beastie and had ‘Assumptions and Carnations’ published by Immanion Press. He followed this with a journalistic humour book called ‘Apathy: A Cause not worth Fighting For’ for publishers Crombie Jardine. Since then he has written short pieces for Terrorizer, Bizarre and Fae magazines and contributed short Steampunk stories for The Last Line compendiums.
Simon founded and ran Cambridge’s alternative nightclub ‘The Calling’ from 1995 to 2001 (or thereabouts) and founded and sang in the band Rome Burns from 1995 to 2012 despite having no concernable musical abilities! His new project Hi-Reciprocity is an amalgam of his poetry pieces and music and his latest novel will one day be completed (he promises!)
I met Mark quite recently, he’s a talented poet with a great performing voice. His poetry can be found on his facebook page. In his own words:
I grew up in Cornwall, where I had a fantastic childhood and an absolutely mediocre adolescence. I came to Cambridge in 1986 to do a degree in Modern History at the Cambridge College of Arts and Technology, and I’ve lived here ever since. I am inspired by this city and the marvelous people I’ve met here, and that feeds into what I write. I’m working on a Cambridge set novel and I’ve been writing and performing poetry since September 2014. I met Sally on a bus 17 years ago and we have been married for 15 years.