Dying Embers out now

Dying Embers out now

Saturday 29 March 2014

Publication date for Dying Embers

It's been confirmed by Satalyte Publishing that my first collection of short stories, Dying Embers, will be published on 28 April 2014.

When I began writing my memoirs, back in 2012, it never occurred to me that I would be lucky enough to have any of my writing published. The only audience I could envisage was my family; even after I decided, rashly I feel, that some anecdotes plundered from the corners of my memory could be massaged into short stories.

I should explain that, although I have written a fair bit over the years for magazines (I have worked creatively for several publishing companies), writing fiction was something I had never had the courage even to try. However, I have always read voraciously, and in recent years dark fiction in particular. As I sat in a café in the Sydney suburb of Leichardt and wrote, "My father always took the cream from the top of the milk", something clicked within me. I was reminded of Robert Aickman's autobiography, The Attempted Rescue, and in particular of the strange relationship he had with his father. Could it be I had something to say? Over the next 18 months or so I worked hard to transform parts of my embryonic memoirs (and also my dreams) into something resembling the short fiction by my favoured authors.

It was a labour of love, and I found out exactly what I did not know about writing fiction. Despite everything, I found myself with a number of scenarios which I thought worked well, and 10 of them made the cut. At this point, I must say a huge thank you to Stephen Ormsby from Satalyte, who has worked tirelessly to help me smooth some rough edges from the resulting collection; and also many thanks to James Everington who was kind enough to write the wonderful foreword to the book.

It's been a great journey thus far, and my biggest hope is that others may find the fruits of my labour palatable!

Sunday 2 March 2014

My Writing Process

I have been asked by the excellent author and illustrator Andrew J. McKiernan to contribute to the world's knowledge base, by the disclosure of certain information, hitherto ungathered, regarding exactly how, when and why I write. Whether these revelations will add or detract from life's sweet experience for those who choose to absorb the details, however, is certainly a moot point. At this very moment in time, I ask myself, On What Am I Working? These days I find myself switching on my computer, and communicating via the miracle of direct-messaging, with my marvelous editor at Satalyte Publishing. We strive, us against the world, to complete the edits on my short-story collection, Dying Embers, which is due to be released upon an unsuspecting world in April, 2014. The journey began two years ago, sitting in a café in the Sydney suburb of Leichardt, remembering my father, inspired to write down my flickering memories of him for the sake of my children; in the form of a set of memoirs. From these recollections emerged what I felt might be sufficient for the outline of some short stories, suitably embellished to a degree, possibly to be of some interest to an unknown reader. You may ask me How My Work Differs From Other Examples Of its Genre, and I would reply, it was never written to be part of a genre; yet nonetheless Dying Embers struggles with its existence as an undeserving upstart alongside certain other 'strange stories' (perhaps mine are 'strange adventures'). Robert Aickman once said there was no need to ever make anything up; that the world is strange enough, so the writer need only to open his eyes, and to be mindful of his dreams. My stories are all autobiographical to a degree. I struggle with invention and so have to rely upon my memory and my observation. This means I write very much about my perception of the real world, only skirting the edge of anything beyond, making do with suggestion. Why Do I Write What I Do? I could not write anything else, so the question is, Why Do I Write? To which I would say, to exercise my mind, and to leave something behind. That something emerges letter by letter, word by word, each moment pondered, each paragraph living or dying by the pen in my A6 Moleskine notebook, from the surrounds of a local café where the bustle releases my mind from its mundane shackles; or from the bench at the playground where I take my children after school. Such is How My Writing Process Works. My computer is brought into play for the second draft, which may change a great deal from the hand-written first. Where each tale takes me is for the most part a complete mystery. I cannot take the first tentative steps until a title and first paragraph appears; and my biggest problem is always resolution, which may or may not arrive. I'm led by the hand, blind through the forest of words, never knowing until the last if a clearing exists.

Here are the questions, numbered;

1) What am I working on?
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
3) Why do I write what I do?
4) How does my writing process work?

Next week, Monday March 10th, you can check out the writing processes of these authors, who've agreed to keep the blog-chain going:
James Everington
Mark Fuller-Dillon