Monthly Archives: April 2018

Creativity Versus Fish

It happened again last week. Someone threw the example of the fishing industry at me in their argument for Brexit. Passion always overrides the facts; they had passion. I had facts. I knew I would lose, because nobody wants facts thrown at them. They only confuse people; look at Mr Trump. So, a few facts. […]

The Evolution Of Suspense

I consider myself a bit of an expert in scaring people. I spent my whole childhood in a state of irrational fear, and started writing horror stories as a way of exploring my own worst-case scenarios, and by doing so curing them. There are a couple of hundred short stories of mine knocking around, although […]

Chapter One: ‘Nyctophobia’

Solaris Books have a brilliant art department whose ingenious covers really help to sell a book. When I came to write my next novel for them, they took the idea of fear of the dark literally with their lightbulb image (left), which I loved. Originality often goes against the grain for book illustration, which tends […]

Fishes Out Of Water

Apart from ‘Boy Meets Girl’ there are very few plots that have names, but ‘Fish Out Of Water’ is one of them. What is it about this time-honoured idea that plays so well again and again? Comedy is largely about discomfort and embarrassment, elements that dominate many comedies. Lately, there have been several transplanted wholesale […]

London: Deaths, Executions, Markets Etc

More wanderings toward the Thames bring me to the Bourne Estate, not the name of a film starring Matt Damon but an Edwardian housing estate in the middle of Holborn that few office workers get to see. Constructed from 1905–1909, it’s regarded as one of London’s best examples of tenement housing. Most of the blocks are […]

The Friday Song

While turning out some boxes (mostly binning old British newspaper interviews full of ludicrous misinformation about me) I came across a letter from a friend who was saying farewell to all of his pals. He had grown up in a small American town where he was mercilessly bullied about his sexuality, so he moved to […]

London Off The Tourist Map: No.3 – Belgravia

Who now lives in Belgravia, long the home of dodgy Russians and old-school Tories? Near Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace Gardens, the upscale streets of Belgravia are defined by elegant townhouse residences, foreign embassies and fancy hotels. But it was once well dodgy. Known as Five Fields, it was a place to cross at your peril, […]

The Dragons Of London

The weather is delightful at the moment so I decided to stroll down to Smithfield Meat Market, as you do, in a combination of research and nosiness. After blogging about the place recently I wanted to see if the work on the Museum of London had started. Something big has begun because the entire area […]

Our Friends In The North

You know the North, it’s where all the bad people live. ‘Winter is Coming’. France is stuck with Brittany, Spain with the Basques. But whisper the heresy…in England it’s not actually very grim up North. The weather yes, obviously, but it seems to me that many Northern writers got stuck with a hometown tag they […]

London Off The Tourist Map: No. 2 – St James’s

St James’s is part of Westminster, and is not an area one naturally strolls through, but it’s used in a lot of films. It’s an odd spot, though, formerly residential (albeit built for the aristocracy), now entirely corporate and the home of embassies. St James’s Palace is the most senior royal palace in the land, […]