Friday 11 March 2016

Interviewing myself about Spooking

This went out of print last month. I’ve reedited it and I’m now going to self-publish it, both as a Kindle edition and a hard copy.
Here I interview myself about the novel.

1)      What is Spooking about?
It might be described as a paranormal romance. In fact, it has been described as such. However, there isn’t a vampire to be seen. The supernatural elements are quite gentle. Arguably it also a story about grief and mourning. It does have a reasonably upbeat ending, however.      

2)      Did you start with the story or with the characters?
In some senses one always starts with the characters. Story always comes from the tension between the players. Having said that, I normally have a two-line version of the whole story in my head. I then flesh that out into a full story arc and eventually produce a chapter break down. As I write, however, I find I need additional or different chapters and the characters start to take on a life of their own. Spooking was no different.   
3) What led you to write it?
The idea came, as they do, out of the blue. I always have two or three ideas for other novels whilst I’m working on the current one. I dread the day I run out of ideas. So far so good.  

4)      What real-life events or people inspired events or characters in this book?
The novel is set in two real places – the south coast in Hampshire and Bangor in north Wales. We used to live in Hampshire and I studied for my PhD in Bangor. The little blue car that crashes into the river is based on the car that my son and daughter used to drive.  It was a blue Ford Fiesta. It was a super little car. It too was called Binky. I now own another Ford Fiesta – a bright red modern one. Both of them have been very nice to drive and very reliable.
The actual story is completely fictitious.
5) What authors or stories inspire you as a writer? (i.e., who are the authors or stories that, if I like their stories, I will probably also like your stories?)
There are so many. Here are a few:
Michael Morpurgo
Philip Pulllman
Maeve Binchy
Neil Gaiman
Aiden Chambers
Charles Dickens
Monika Feth
Kate Atkinson
Gustave Flaubert
Emile Zola
Heinrich Böll
If you asked me again tomorrow I’d probably come up with a slightly different list.    


Wednesday 2 March 2016

Newslettter 2 March 2016

I’m very pleased to report that I’m now back into the swing of things and have pretty well re-established my writing routine. The university is still keeping me busy: I currently have eleven hours of teaching and I am doing two school visits this week – World Book Day looms. Next week I drop down to ten, the week after six and for the rest of the semester five. But the marking comes in again next week- 33 scripts followed by another 72 the week after. Ah well.   
The year is just whizzing by.         

Bridge House

We’re still open to submission until the end of March. Remember our theme is “Baubles”. Short, snappy, sparkly stories that brighten up the darker nights like baubles enhance the Christmas tree. We’re not talking about things that give you a good belly laugh nor anything that is overly sentimental. Feel good is fine, yes, but just a light touch. You’ll know it when you think of it. Check out full submission details here.


Remember, we’re always open to submissions. Find out how here. I’m now making the selection for The Best of CafeLit 5. I’ve been encouraging my students to submit. I hope to read some of their work there soon.


We’re currently looking for collections of Flash Fiction. See our submissions page here.
We’re also looking at creating another imprint. We’re not sure what to call it yet.  Maybe “Revive” though that may be a little too obvious. It’s all about republishing books that have gone out of print. This is sparked really by what I’ve said about Spooking and a few other titles below.         

Creative Café

We’re always looking for new cafés.  If you visit one of the cafés in the project and would like to write a review of between 250 and 350 – nice, too to have a couple of pictures – send it to me here. Do the same if you find a new café.
I’m now going to send out a welcome letter to each new café that’s added. This will also offer them the opportunity to join the mailing list. 

School Visits

I’m proactively promoting my school visits associated with The House on Schellberg Street project. I’m still offering visits on this for a donation towards the project. I’ve devised a whole interactive workshop. It would be a real asset for any school teaching the Holocaust at Key Stage 3. Even if a school can’t afford a donation, I’d be happy to run the project.
Here’s some further news about the Schellberg project. I’ve added in a page referring to “deleted scenes”. You know, just like you get on some DVDs.
There is also now a page of links to some articles about the process of writing the novels.    
Query for a school visit here.

The Red Telephone

There will be a new call for submissions next autumn. We’re leaving it quite a while now so that we can give our current authors all of our attention.  
I’d like to remind you of our new enterprise - something between a mentoring system and an online course. Though publication is not guaranteed, we will at least look at your full book if you’ve attended one of the courses. We’re offering it for free to a few people at first. We’ll refine as we go along based on feedback from our clients. We’ll then continue to offer it at a discount for a while before going to full price when we’re completely happy with it. We’re not sure what the full price will be. Again, we’ll be guided by our current clients. Find out more here.      

Books and short stories

I have now finished the final edit on Girl in a Smart Uniform. I’m adding the glossary.
Spooking is now out of print. I’m still deciding what to do with it and three other books soon to go the same way. The Lombardy Grotto, Kiters and The Scum Bag. Shall I self-publish? How big an edit will I give to each one? Or shall I just take the view that these were just part of my journey as a writer. Now it’s time to move on.
Do I want to go the self-publishing route anyway? It works for some people and is very much more respected now than it used to be. There’s a lot to decide so in some ways it’s rather useful being busy at the moment. I’m confident that I’ll eventually make a good decision.       

Looking Forward

Yes, I know I’m being rather secretive. You’ll know a lot more in the summer.  


This month I’m giving away a copy of  In The Shadow of The Red Queen, a Bridge House publication. The first person to message me via Twitter that they’d like the book  -  @gilljames – gets it.