The Sleepless has now been out in the world for three weeks and we held a very successful launch at Stirling Uni (picture on left with Kevin MacNeil). We've also been delighted with early press and reviews including a generous review in The Herald (available here) and a blog tour which is still underway over on Instagram and other social media platforms, organised by the wonderful Love Books Tours.
Lots of events to come in early November -- see post below -- so please do come along to those if you're around and would like to hear more about the book!
As publication of The Sleepless approaches at the end of September, I have lots of events and appearances to let you know about; see list on graphic to the right. Details and ticket info below:
The middle two events are co-headliner events with the wonderful Donna Moore and the Cupar event is part of Book Week Scotland.
Early responses to The Sleepless
In advance of publication in September, proof copies of The Sleepless have been making their way out to early readers and we've been delighted by the response! On the left is what Rachelle Atalla, author of Thirsty Animals, had to say and Ellery Lloyd, author of The Club picked for Reese Witherspoon's Book Club, said that it is "a dazzlingly smart and compelling thriller, which will grip you from its unforgettable opening scene and will linger with you long after you have finished it... These are characters and situations – vividly rendered, unsettlingly plausible even at their most terrifying – which will haunt you, a novel which will keep you up all night."
More soon and you can join the cult early too by pre-ordering here!
Rare Stories Out Now!
My short story collection inspired by words marked as 'rare' in the Oxford English Dictionary is now out in the world, with readings at Forth Friday in Stirling (photo on right) and Words with Seagulls in Falkirk to celebrate. I'll also be visiting Denny Writers to talk short stories at the end of May and I'll be headlining the Balloch Open Mic Night in early September.
If you'd like to grab a copy of the collection then it's available via this link as both Kindle and Paperback version.
Short Story Collection
Back in 2018, I wrote a sequence of short fictions based on words marked as 'rare' in the Oxford English Dictionary. It was an A-Z, with each story being around 1000 words long. I'm delighted to say that Bridge House Publishing have taken on the manuscript and that it will be published as rare stories in March 2023.
Plenty more information to come -- including how to buy copies -- but for now please enjoy the cover, to the left, and if you'd like a sneak-peak of the stories then a couple have been published and are still available online. You can read 'flatter-blind' on the Honest Ulsterman website here and 'deericide' is printed in Issue 35 of Northwords Now, which is available here.
Reviews and Updates
As Man at Sea approaches its three-month anniversary there have been a couple of lovely reviews to let you know about. The first, in The Bottle Imp, calls the book a 'tense, intriguing thriller that explores the secrets and betrayals of war'. You can read that in full here. The second, in SNACK magazine, talks about the book as a 'magnificently moody novel' and a 'graceful piece of writing which moves you almost imperceptibly as you read.' It can be read on p.54 of the online version, available here.
Finally, in terms of updates, I have a new short story 'The Piano Tuner' in the latest issue of the excellent online literary magazine Guesthouse. You can read that here.
Image is of Zabbar, Malta, where much of Man at Sea is set
One Month In...
Man at Sea has been out in the world for a month now and so massive thanks to all who've taken the time to help launch it into the world and to those who've read and reviewed. Your support is hugely appreciated. It's been particularly gratifying to read to live audiences again in Glasgow, Stirling, Aberdeen and Edinburgh and to have pieces on the influence of my grandparents in the Stirling Observer and The Conversation. They would also have been very chuffed -- as I was! -- by the lovely review in The Herald, which is the paper they got each and every day. You can read that review here.
We're delighted to have a variety of launch and signing events coming up to celebrate the launch of Man at Sea on 30th June 2022. Please see list/dates below:
30th June, 7pm: Waterstones Argyle Street, Glasgow. Tickets available here
1st July, 7pm: The Book Nook, Stirling. Tickets available mid-June.
9th July, 10am-2pm: East Grinstead Bookshop. Walk-up.
14th July, 6pm: Foodstory Cafe, Aberdeen with Rachelle Atalla. Tickets available soon.
Cover Reveal and Pre-Order
On the left is the final cover for Man at Sea. The book itself is coming on 30th June 2022 from Fly on the Wall Press and it's available for pre-order, either directly from the publisher or from Waterstones. Click on either to follow the link and complete your purchase.
Plenty of events and advance publicity to come, but for now here is some advance praise from Kevin MacNeil: Intimate and expansive, this tantalising thriller pulses with mysteries, secrets, and surprises. Man at Sea is both timely and historical, at once rich in implication and action. Like the sea itself the story is swift, deep, exhilarating, and ultimately unpredictable.
Man at Sea announced
I'm delighted to say that my third novel, Man at Sea, will be published in June 2022 by the fabulous Fly on the Wall Press. The novel is part historical-thriller, part family-saga, set in Malta during WWII and then twenty years later as the island seeks independence. More information on it and on Fly on the Wall through the link below:
Image opposite is of anti-aircraft tracer fire in Malta during WWII. Copyright of Imperial War Museum.
I'm really pleased to have a short story, Scavengers, in the Stryvling Press Anthology Pharos, out now and available through this link. This is an anthology very close to my heart because it includes work from the first ten years of the MLitt in Creative Writing at Stirling University. It's a course I'm very priviledged to teach on and the collection stands as testament to the fantastic writers who've come through our doors in recent years...
I also have a short story titled Delivery available up on the excellent Fictive Dream website, available here.
Agent for New Novel
Delighted to share that I've signed with agent Joanna Swainson, of Hardman and Swainson, for the next novel which is a thriller set in a commune on the west coast of Scotland. We've been working on the manuscript over the past few months -- well, I've been working on it for the past few years -- and we'll hopefully be in a position to share further news on that front soon. Very exciting!
I'm really pleased to announce that I'll be one of the seven participants in the Scottish Film Talent Network's Write4Film scheme this coming year. The scheme develops the screenwriting skills of writers from other forms and culminates in the pitching of a short film script and feature outline to producers and directors. Looking forward to getting started!
'Bird-Trapping' Extract in New Writing
An extract from my work-in-progress novel dot dot dash has been published in the New Writing journal. It's the story of a young boy, Joe, in wartime Malta and his attempts to capture a Luftwaffe plane as they fly across the island on their bombing sorties. The extract is behind a paywall, but there are fifty free views, so if you're quick then you could have a sneak preview of the novel before anyone else! Follow this link.
Stories in Northwords Now & Freckle
I'm delighted to have two short stories out in literary magazines this Spring. One of my Rare Stories, 'deericide', is in the latest issue of Northwords Now: http://northwordsnow.co.uk/ I've also got a story, 'In the Event of Landing on Water', in Issue 6 of Freckle magazine (image on right) alongside new writing from Kevin MacNeil and Garrett Carr.
Stirling in 50 Objects
The University of Stirling is 50 years old and, to celebrate, there's a book detailing the history of the institution as told through 50 objects; a mix of short fiction, non-fiction, poetry and reportage. My story centres on the 'graduation cap'. You can buy a copy through the university's online shop here.
Overland to Malta Paper
I'm delighted to have a critical essay on my current work-in-progress in the latest issue of Text Journal, produced by the Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP). It's an essay which documents a research trip I took, by train and ferry, down to Malta to research my next book, dot dot dash. In making the journey, I also took the time to reflect a little on Brexit and on the Scottish Independence Referendum. You can read the full text here: http://www.textjournal.com.au/oct17/bell.htm
Hello, welcome to the new-look website. I've decided to migrate across to a different server, but will continue to update this News & Events page. Look out for a new writing venture -- 'The Rare Stories' -- in the New Year as well!