Monthly Archives: March 2017

The Park Gates Are Open!

‘Bryant & May: Wild Chamber’ is here at last – it’s my biggest B&M novel and took a little longer to write than usual because of the huge amount of research I did. However I ended up discarding about 80% of it, something I nearly always do. Not every novel has a lot of research, […]

The Voyage Of The Lucky Dragon

One of the joys of spending hours creeping around secondhand bookshops is the array of unknown stories that get put in your way. I was not aware of Ralph Lapp’s book about this dark episode in Japanese/US history. On Friday 22 January 1954 the Lucky Dragon set sail from a port south of Tokyo and […]

More On Overlapping Time

In my ongoing look at overlapping time, here’s a rather lovely example. A singer who has a new album out at the moment first sang when Sigmund Romburg had a hit with The Drinking Song. Dame Vera Lynn was seven when she started, and she’s 100 now. The ‘Forces Sweetheart’ is to have her face […]

Should Writers Be Topical?

Anyone with half a brain will know that we live in extraordinary times, but most writing doesn’t reflect the present. Part of the reason is that for fiction writers the gestation period is so long. The distance from the idea to the final version of the book, then to finding the publisher, and then to […]

How Much Time Do You Spend On Social Media?

Last night I spoke with a writer who does no social media at all. Every morning I start my day by doing two hours of social media work. I love writing this site, hate Facebook because there’s simply too much on it to cope with, and enjoy Twitter because I like reading the articles people […]

Celebrating 20 E-Books: ‘Red Gloves’

Quietly and without fanfare (that’s how we like it) my last three e-books snuck out into the ether this month. Red Gloves Volumes 1 and 2 and the new collection Frightening became available in new online editions. Frightening tidies up the short story backlist with the remaining new stories I produced in the declining days of the horror story […]

The Bad Boys Are Back

There’s a running gag in the Bryant & May books about Bryant and Gilbert & Sullivan that reaches its head in the the new novel out next week, ‘Wild Chamber’. I’m drawn to partnerships, the push and pull of people who can’t live with or without each other, and whatever one thinks of their music, […]

‘London. It Begins With Me And Ends With Me.’

That’s a quote I used from an anonymous teenager who was quite rightly pointing out that we each only get to see our own slice of a place in a particular time. The buildings remain in one form or another and become fascinating to us because we know they have seen other eras. As I […]

At Last The 1984 Show

Sales of the George Orwell novel have unsurprisingly risen in the last few months, along with Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ and other grim dystopian novels, most of which saw the rise of totalitarian states, but in entirely the wrong way; nobody imagined that we’d reach it with our own complicity, via votes. Growing up in […]

My English Is Not Your English

As proof that the English language is always changing, in the British Library, the Evolving English WordBank now contains 1,500 contributions to date, many of which are dialect words. This is a system that records new words or old dialect ones from the public, but it turns out that some in current use have a […]