How Did That Happen?
To say that the 2014 publication of my debut collection was ‘a dream come true’ would be stretching the truth. In all honesty, I had never considered the possibility and had even turned down an earlier suggestion, not thinking I had sufficient material of a good enough standard. Anyway, my brief moment as a footnote in the history of short stories had occurred in the seventies when editors of the calibre of Mary Danby, David Sutton and Kenneth Bulmer had used some of my work. I doubted that more than a handful would remember or be interested in a name that had gathered a lot of dust.
Following my initial burst as a writer of fiction I had been seduced by poetry, editing two magazines and self-publishing a number of chapbooks. Life intruded, however, leaving my wife and I devastated by a loss from which she, in particular, never fully recovered. Writing was pushed to one side as I spent a number of years concentrating on her, and then I lost her too.
Johnny Mains, renowned ‘horror’ writer, editor. publisher, commentator and historian, had previously contacted me when researching Mary Danby’s Fontana horror anthologies. He called again and, finding me at such a low ebb in my life, encouraged me to start writing again. This led to some anthology acceptances (plus some rejections, but that’s par for the course), which in turn led to Peter Coleborn of The Alchemy Press stating an interest in publishing a collection of my work. It was his idea that the collection should cover my whole writing life, and include poetry as well as short stories. I still had doubts regarding the amount I could put together – I had never been a prolific writer – but surprised myself by ending up with a quite substantial volume of over three hundred pages.
Both the fiction and poetry cover all my writing interests: science fiction, horror, mainstream and the downright quirky. Music references find their way into a number of stories and a selection of jazz poems are included, as are one grouping which are presented as poetry but were originally song lyrics.
All in all, it might not have been a dream come true, but it was a wonderful surprise, and I am eternally grateful to Johnny Mains and Peter Coleborn for their parts in springing it upon me.