"Hello, dear reader. Please, come inside. No, don't be so jumpy - that howling is just the wind. Pray sit down. No, not on that chair, sit on the comfy one. By the fire. See how I make every attempt to put you at your ease? Please relax. Ha ha, no, the sword above the mantelpiece is just for show. Howling noises? What do you - ah! No, that's the kettle. I put it on so we could have a nice cup of tea. Do you take sugar? Why do you look so pale? Ulterior motive? Nothing bad, I assure you. I just want to try and sell you a copy of my book..."
Turner has now been published! Read a bit about the background here or watch my recent talk about the novel's genesis. As many of my readers will know, the book is a tense rural thriller / horror about an outbreak of apparent insanity on a remote Welsh island. The novel is a labour of love and a homage to my favourite horror tropes, films, novels, games and comics. It has been a stormy road, and there have been casualties along the way, but Turner is available for your delectation as an e-book - or in print, if you prefer. This page lists the main purchasing options, and I will keep updating it as it filters through to new distribution channels. In some cases, such as if you have a Kindle, you can buy the book through the device itself. Note the discounts I have included - 20% on the e-book at Smashwords; 10% discount on the print version at Lulu. I have also allowed people to read the first 60% of the novel for free at Smashwords.
Last Sunday I was on BBC Radio Wales' Phil the Shelf literary programme talking about my novel, and Jo Fletcher, who has her own publishing imprint, said of me: "he's really rather a good writer [...] he's got a very nice turn of phrase; he does some super descriptions [...] I thought ‘that's an author thinking straight’ [...] I would actually like to see what he does next." Phil Rickman summarised it as "Good writing, good psychology" and during the interview with me likened it to "The Wicker Man in Wales", which is a great compliment. It is true that the setting does resemble The Wicker Man, but my novel shifts from suspense to action later, and soon becomes a different beast once the chainsaws, tortured Mancunians and mad scientists come out to play. That's the only problem with receiving feedback based on only seeing 25 pages, but the description was certainly accurate for the sample I sent.
In terms of feedback, you can see a selection of the positive comments I received from the Authonomy community in the promotional trailer above. Robin Wade, of the Wade & Doherty Literary Agency, said, "I think you’ve developed a really imaginative and convincing plot, and you draw believable characters, especially Tom and Lord John [...] it is certainly an impressive achievement." I now look forward to seeing what feedback I get from people buying the book. I will be eternally grateful for any ratings and reviews on the online stores, since these are key to getting readers to try something new. Do be honest about what you liked (or didn't) - readers can tell a genuine review from one that is perhaps overly-glowing, and written by the author's mother!
The finished novel is not radically different from the first draft, hand-written by the light of a hissing gas lamp in a shadowy chapel house on a distant island. My literary editor, Janet Thomas, made a number of suggestions, and the most radical was to change the ending completely. She was absolutely right, and for that I am indebted to her. The new ending is longer and many, many times more satisfying. Thanks, Janet! I then worked with Sue Walton of Sue Proof: polish was applied; mistakes that had slipped in during the fever-dream of writing were removed; and I was told off for regularly missing a comma out. Thanks, Sue!
Dear reader, if you get the chance, please would you consider also taking a moment to spread the word about my book to anyone you know who might be interested? (Also, do you know anyone who would maybe like a copy as a present?) Thank you so much for your support!
"And so you brave the storms outside again, do you? Well I hope the tea warmed you up, and strengthens your resolve for what you might face. Evil walks abroad, in dark and storm. I wish you a safe journey home, and if you meet the red goblin of the woods - run!"