THE RAVENGLASS EYE was published at the end of September! So this blogpost about it is a little late, I know. But I missed the publication date due to being halfway through a chaotic housemove; we’re just about sorted now. (Also, if I’m being honest, I thought the book came out at the end of October. But don’t tell anybody that).
The book is about Edie – a chef in the small, West Cumbrian village of Ravenglass. She’s always had visions, but has never been able to control them. Following the ritual sacrifice of a local pet dog, though, events conspire to offer Edie the chance to get a little more from this gift; though it’s not really an offer. It’s never an offer. It’s more of a deal…
The book’s had some positive reviews so far; in fact, so far, they’ve all been positive. A few extracts:
Within twenty pages I was hooked. Fletcher is an accomplished stylist. He writes with levels of subtlety and quietude that are rare in the world of horror fiction…powerful enough to make your skin crawl. – Bookmunch
Fletcher writes with an engagingly light touch, in an artfully meandering style which reflects Edie’s numb, perplexed state of mind. – Starburst
A study of the mundane, but also of deep, dark legends and again miscreant human behaviour. It’s a kick-in-the-teeth to formulaic horror for sure, and, damn the small-gods of trite-prose, may we blessed for it…We are enjoying a steady renaissance of British Horror fiction my friends, and Tom Fletcher is up there the best of them in punching a hole through the mundanely cobbled pulp we’ve been dealing with this past decade and beyond in a hearty, healthy manner. – Spooky Reads
Click on the links for the full reviews. There’ll be more to follow.
Spooky Reads have also interviewed me recently; you can find that here. And Richard Hirst (known on Twitter as @vivmondo) discussed horror fiction in general with Alison Littlewood and myself for his podcast series Bookish. Follow that link for more information and details of how to download it.
I want to run a giveaway to celebrate THE RAVENGLASS EYE coming out. I’ve only got one copy left, but I’ll bundle it with a copy of THE LEAPING and a copy of THE THING ON THE SHORE as well. So one prize, but all three books. Actually there are four books – I’m also including a copy of a short collection that was published by the Lancashire collective They Eat Culture, in 2010. This was published to celebrate the first birthday of Preston’s very successful monthly live-lit night, Word Soup, and it includes work by Mollie Baxter, Peter Wild, Socrates Adams, Nicholas Royle, J.A. Brunning, and Sarah Hymas, amongst others (such as myself). And it was edited by none other than Jenn Ashworth. It’s a bit special because it was never put up for sale; it was a free gift for attendees at the party. As such, it’s very limited edition.
All four books will be signed and / or personalised. Or drawn in, or doused in fake blood, or singed, or whatever. Whatever you want. Just let me know.
To be in with a chance, leave a comment below. I’ll draw the winner at random from all the commenters one week today; that’s Wednesday 14th November.
So – thanks for reading, and good luck!
PS – I’ll send the prize anywhere in the world, you don’t have to be a UK resident to enter.
I’m only speaking for myself here, and not all writers everywhere, obviously, but more and more I have been thinking of novels as articulations. The process of writing a novel is, for me, the process of trying to articulate something – a sense, a feeling, a truth (even if only personal) – that requires a novel for its full articulation. Something important. Every sentence, every minor character, every scene – even (especially) those that might at first seem redundant – is a part of that attempted articulation. So me writing a novel is me trying to articulate something. But I don’t know what that something is until I’ve finished the book. As a consequence, I feel as if I always fail in this articulation. That’s not to say that I’m not proud of my novels, or that I think they are without merit, but they are all failed articulations.
I am happy with this though. The process – the attempt – results in novels that I believe are interesting and worthwhile. They are more maps than treasure – maps given to the readers for them to see if they can find the meaning, the sense, the feeling / truth that I thought required eighty thousand words or however many for its conveyance – but that is better, I think. For the articulation to be powerful, for it to be felt, for it to be successful, the reader has to complete it with their own life, and what matters to them.
The ‘automatic’ winner, i.e. the person who left the last comment before the deadline, is… DAVE HARTLEY. Who very nearly won last year, but just missed the deadline, in that instance.
The other two winners are… BEN BROOKS and RED NEWSOM.
I’ll be in touch.
Please Smile My Noise Bleed is the name of an album by Múm, and it’s what I’m listening to as I work on a new short story. Mainly because I really like it and haven’t listened to it in a long time, but also because the story was partly inspired by the name of one of the tracks on it – ‘On The Old Mountain Radio’.
Every Múm album has a little piece of writing hidden in the sleeve somewhere. Here’s the piece from Please Smile My Noise Bleed:
there go the old mountain days and nights.
by now they have disappeared into a shack up the road.
they say they have developed a technique to split
a noise in half like a fruit.
and they were kids that
used to sleep at night.
Seeing as it’s World Book Day, I thought I’d run a book giveaway competition here on the blog. I’m going to do it the same way as I did the chapbook giveaway competition nearly a year ago now – that is, an Exquisite Corpse – because people enjoyed it.
I’ll provide the first few lines in the comments. (They’re from The Thing on the Shore).
1. Comments which are not intended as part of the emerging story don’t count. (‘This is a stupid competition’ etc).
2. Only contributions made before 12 noon on Thursday 15th March count.
3. Your contributions may be as long or as short as you like.
4. You may make as many contributions as you like.
5. In keeping with the title of this blog, whoever ‘ends’ the story – i.e. whoever leaves the last contribution before the 12 noon deadline – will automatically win copies of the books.
So – whoever leaves the last comment will win copies. The other two winners will be drawn at random from all of the other contributors.
Last time, there were a couple of instances of people commenting simultaneously – I suggest that everyone tries to finish their contribution with a complete sentence, and that way there’s more chance of one comment flowing on to the next in a way that makes sense (even if they’ve been written at the same time).
If you’re reading this, I urge you to join in. Even if you’ve already got the books (or just don’t want them) it might be fun. (I hope it’ll be fun).
For the first time in a long time I’ve gathered together all the books that I currently am planning to read, and sorted them into the order in which I intend to read them. I did this because the list was growing and I knew that I’d start to forget about books I’ve bought / been given and not yet read, due to them being out of sight somewhere beneath / behind other books.
So. My plan is to take them off the right hand end, and keep adding to the left hand end. I’m actually currently reading Infinite Jest already, but as it’s quite big and it’ll take me a while yet, I’ve included it.
I think because IJ is quite big, I’ve arranged for a few relatively short books to follow. These are mostly books I’ve had for a long time, and I’ve been looking forward to them for ages. I’ve had the comic-book Joseph, by Nicolas Robel, for years, but because it’s so small I had actually lost it between two other books.
There are ten novels, two non-fiction books, three anthologies, two short story collections, and the aforementioned comic.
1. Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace
2. Everything’s Fine – Socrates Adams
3. The Best British Short Stories 2011 – Edited by Nicholas Royle
4. Vault – David Rose (not the David Rose that may somehow be connected to Johann Hari, but another one)
5. Joseph – Nicolas Robel
6. Richard Yates – Tao Lin
7. Screwtop Thompson – Magnus Mills
8. A Matter of Blood – Sarah Pinborough
9. The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Mohsin Hamid
10. A Book of Horrors – Edited by Stephen Jones
11. Gutshot – Edited by Conrad Williams
12. King Rat – China Mieville
13. Salem’s Lot – Stephen King
14. Department 19 – Will Hill
15. Bleeding, Blisters and Opium: Joshua Dixon and the Whitehaven Dispensary – Michael Sydney
16. Nightmare Movies – Kim Newman
17. The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde
18. The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury
One other reason I wanted to put all of these books together in one place was so that I could kind of lust over them, in an anticipatory kind of way, a kind of feel-a-warm-glow-of-excitement every time I walk past the shelf kind of thing. And I do, almost. Except what occurs to me mostly when I look at these books is that only one is by a woman. A Matter of Blood, by Sarah Pinborough. And although I will be slipping The War Tour by Zoe Lambert surreptitiously in towards the right-hand end when I finally get a copy, that’s still only two. Yes, there are female writers in the three anthologies but the anthologies are all edited by men, and anyway, that doesn’t restore balance.
It’ll be a while before I buy any more books I think, but when I do get to that point I’ll be bearing this in mind. Not because I feel guilty about it, but because I want to read widely. I want to read a variety of things by a variety of different authors and types of author.
What do your to-be-read piles / shelves look like? What do you notice, looking at them, that maybe you wouldn’t have noticed if you hadn’t arranged them as such? Do you arrange them at all? Maybe you are sensible, and don’t.
The sibilant hiss of a car outside at night, receding down the road away from your bedroom window. The sound of a car in the dark. What is really good is if you hear a motorcycle somewhere in the city during the night, at a distance. The best is if you are trying to go to sleep and you are lying motionless in bed with your eyes closed and you hear a distant motorcycle and you listen to it intently, every last drop of its engine sound, without moving at all, without opening your eyes at all, and you can absorb it completely, beginning to end, that time it spends within earshot somehow physical, despite its distance, and you’re just lying there, and it has been raining.