I first read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods in my late teens. It was winter time and I fitted it in between college classes and bus stops and it struck such a chord with me. The book is full to bursting with rich imagination, and images from that first reading that have stuck with me ever since. Which is why I won’t be watching the new TV adaptation of the book. (more…)
I just enjoyed a city break to Budapest. It was fantastic; great sights, great bars, great beers. I recommend it. But for my two nights in Hungary I was dogged by a monster, a monster that stalked me, never farther away than the snatch of its claw. It got its teeth into me while I waited for my flight at Gatwick Airport and wouldn’t let go until I defeated it. The monster’s name was Cujo. (more…)
Well, as per tradition, it’s time to plan my New Year’s Resolutions for 2017.
I’m a great believer in self-development, which is why I like to take this opportunity to look back on what I tried to achieve in the last year – and to see how far I got! I think that setting clear, quantifiable targets and letting others know you’ve done so is a fantastic motivator for actually doing them. But it’s by seeing how (or if…) I’ve achieved them that helps me see where I’d like to push myself next. (more…)
It’s been a while since my last blog post, and I’m sorry. But I’m sure you’ll like what I’ve been up to: finishing my novel.
Back in March I talked about Writing a Novel: The Midway Point. Midway wasn’t a bad estimate; I started After Life (yes, we have a title now) last November, and I finished the first draft on the last day of July. Of course, writing a novel isn’t like competing in a race – it’s like a triathlon, and there a few finish lines to make it through. But first thing’s first: let me tell you all about finishing my novel. (more…)
I first read Robin Jarvis’ The Whitby Witches when I was a child. I can’t have been any older than ten, because by the time I finished the series I had yet to leave primary school. And actually, I didn’t read them – my mum read them to me. It was probably her eyes that first alighted upon that fateful tome, bound with a leering hound front cover that arrested both our attentions in that little library up the road. We devoured it swiftly and ordered the sequels shortly after. After reading and loving those too, I requested the boxset from my Grandma for Christmas (she lived near Whitby) so I could own those fantastic stories for myself.
In between writing stories and blog posts I like to drum. It’s a smashing hobby; cathartic as well as creative. I think I started when I was sixteen, but I’ve improved a fair bit since my first off-beat battering of Smells Like Teen Spirit. I bought my own drum set, a Mapex Tornado Rock Fusion, back in 2013 after finishing university, but it’s evolved and spread a bit since then, and received a DIY tattoo on the bass drum. I pulled it out of its usual corner today and gave the whole thing a polish and spruce up, since I’m toying with the idea of recording some covers for YouTube. Let me show you around… (more…)
It’s been about three months since I started work on my novel, Rosetta, and a little over two months since I described my first impressions of writing it. I hit 50,000 words last week – a little over half my forecast completed word count, which means I’m near enough halfway through. At the very least, I’m in the thick of things, and I’ve got some new reflections on the subject of writing a novel to tell you about. Some of them are pretty surprising; at least in light of my first impressions. (more…)
Earlier this week I ambiguously tweeted that I’d written to Ludovico Einaudi – composer of, among many other beautiful piano pieces, The Waves. I didn’t mean that I’d written a letter to him, though that’s how it came across – I only meant that I’d listened to his Islands album whilst writing.
I tend to listen to music whilst working on my books, and was overjoyed to find Stephen King does the same, as he notes in his fascinating On Writing. Whilst King prefers ‘loud music – hard rock stuff like AC/DC, Guns ‘N’ Roses and Metallica’, I prefer soft stuff – instrumental, electronic, classical… Music that I wouldn’t usually spin in the car or that I’d learn the drums to. Background music, I suppose, though I don’t want to mislabel any of the excellent albums below as merely sonic wallpaper. (more…)