Author and Scriptwriter

'Among the most important writers of contemporary British horror.' -Ramsey Campbell

Friday, 13 March 2009

More Nice Things, And Some Shameless Self-Promotion

Just as I start getting interested in the world outside my front door again, there's more work- a back-jacket blurb for my story collection, plus pitches for radio plays to be produced at Dark Smile Productions' board meeting on Sunday (go check them out, you blog readers!) And soon I'll be having to put the finishing touches on the collection itself. And I was hoping to dash off a few short stories before getting down to the business of starting a second novel. There are times when I wish the day was 36 hours long instead of 24. But then again, as my ex-housemate used to say, it's better to be busy, so I've really no complaints.

Especially not since reading this review at, by Richard Wright, of the anthology We Fade To Grey. Of course, if you don't want to check out the whole thing (modern life is so hectic, after all), here's the bit that's really brightened my day:

'Rounding it off, and worth buying the whole book for, is Simon Bestwick's The Narrows, a claustrophobic, unrelenting nightmare, bleak but compelling, that raises questions, and leaves you to answer them. Brilliant stuff, by any objective measure...'

For some reason, that story really seems to have struck home for a lot of readers. If you're wondering why- well, of course, you'll just have to buy the book, won't you?

Cough. Please excuse the shameless self-promotion above. But buy the book anyway.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

...And The Tide Goes Out

It was a beautiful sunny day in early September when I got the call saying Abaddon Books were commissioning a novel from me. It's now a beautiful sunny day in early March, and it's now in their hands.

Yup, that's it. I did a final spellcheck this morning and emailed the final draft of my novel Tide of
to Jon Oliver at Abaddon. 'Tis all in the lap of the Gods now... well, actually, it's in Jon's lap, but you know what I mean.

I caught the train to work that day- normally I get the bus, but the phone call had delayed me. For some reason I kept listening to Enola Gay by OMD over and over again on the journey. With a Tony-Blair-esque grin pasted to my face that probably traumatised small children for weeks afterwards. I remember the buzz of it- knowing I was going to get a novel published, but not yet embroiled in all the bloody hard work of making it happen. A couple of days later, of course, I had to buckle down and get on with it.

So, five months later, how do I feel? Odd, so far. It hasn't quite sunk in that it's over. Not completely over, of course- Jon will almost certainly what this or that tweaked or changed, there'll be proofs to read and lord knows what else- but virtually every spare hour of the past few weeks has been devoted to rewriting and redrafting.

Sometimes the writing process was the biggest buzz ever- at a couple of points I got bogged down and it was a long, arduous slog to get through it. So, not an unadulterated joy, but it was worth it.

The first draft, just so you know, was just shy of 117,000 words. The final version that went out today was 93,221. There was a lot of deadweight in that middle section.

Of course, at some point, I need to start thinking about a second novel. That'll come soon... and all the work will start again... but not today. Today I'm going to sniff the flowers, feel the sun on my face, see if my friends still remember who I am... and also, yes, I'll probably listen to Enola Gay. Over and over again.

Thanks for listening to me babble. Have a fun day!