Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Way of the Leaves Goes Spectral

It's safe to say that I don't win things on a very regular basis.  In fact, the only things I can specifically remember winning anything in were a drawing contest when I was about seven (prize: a copy of Born Free - the book, not the film) and a raffle I went to with my gran at around the same age (prize: a bottle of shampoo, which she was nice enough to swap for her own slightly less rubbish prize.)

So it was a bit of a surprise to find out I'd taken first place in the recent competition run by Spectral Press and This is Horror - prize: every book Spectral puts out between now and the heat death of the universe and my competition-entering novelette, The Way of the Leaves, becoming one of those future releases.

Neat, right?  Leaves is another a product of the (very long) phase where I was drawing a lot of influence from early twentieth century authors like Lovecraft and Conan Doyle.  Only in this case, the reference points are more like Machen and Dunsany ... which is funny, thinking about it, because I don't think I actually read either author until after I'd written it.  Still, at least I got to the latter in time for The King of Elfland's Daughter to give me a title, so I figure that's good enough reason to claim him as a retroactive influence.

 The funny thing is, I'd been hoping for a long time to place Leaves with Spectral, ever since they started up and I read their mandate, really.  The trouble was that submissions were invite only, and since I didn't quite have the gall to ask owner / editor Simon Marshall-Jones for an invitation, matters had more or less stalled while I weighed up the odds of breaking into his house and discreetly planting torn pages from Giant Thief in the most unlikely of places.  Probably a good thing for both of us that this competition came along when it did, then!

The Way of the Leaves is booked to come out this December, making it, astonishingly, my third single-author release of this year.  Huge thanks both to Simon and to Michael Wilson of This is Horror for both coming up with the competition and then picking Leaves as the winning entry.

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