The Creative Process Blog Tour
My thanks to Hilary McGrath for nominating me for this round of the Creative Process Blog Tour, where writers get to answer four questions and whitter on about their innermost creative processes.
Note: every word below is the absolute unvarnished truth.
Except for the lies.
What am I working on?
I’m sending my completed iconoclastic vampire novel Palefaces out to literary agents. The tagline:
Cops – vampires – vampire cops.
There will, almost certainly, be some blood.
There will, almost certainly, be some rejections.
I’m half way through the writing of Sex, Lies and Croissants, a softboiled crime novel set in southwest France,
featuring a handsome but irredeemably grumpy British detective mixed up with porn stars, religious maniacs and
drunk Frenchmen with guns. First in a series, if the gods be kind.
3) BLOODY HISTORY.
I’m working through the proofs for The Bloody History of Britain, which will be published by The History Press in September. This will be my 31st non-fiction book. Expect:
Cannibals from the Dawn of Time
Anarchy in the UK (12th century style)
The Six Executions of Henry VIII
Plus Norman genocide, Nazis, Zeppelins, Jacobites, and a surfeit of lampreys.
All this and murders, torture, massacres, punishments, castrations and executions galore. You’ve got to laugh,
I’m using allure, coquetry and a packet of powerful pheromones in the hope of attracting agents or publishers to a non-fiction book on some of the stranger but universal aspects of sex and sexual culture.
5) SHERBERT LEMONS.
Notes are being made and ideas corralled for a YA fantasy involving cryptozoology, time travel and sherbert
lemons. There may also be a fantasy/high-tech film screenplay incarcerated in the oubliette.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My natural tendency when I am writing is to upset the apple cart of expectations.
When writing about vampires, I want to destroy the entire accepted vampiric mythology and create a completely
new take on their origins, behaviour and sexuality.
If I’m setting a crime novel in rural Gascony – beloved by Terry Wogan and other Brits – my hero has to loathe
other expats and everything they stand for.
In The Bloody History of Britain I avoid the clichés of history and tell stories from the shadows: how Scotland
invented the concentration camp, the reason the Wars of the Roses were like a football match, and why King John was marginally better than that narcissistic psychopath Richard the Lionheart.
My ghost books are sceptical about ghosts. My paranormal books interrogate the paranormal rather than just
going ‘Woooh!’ Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, it is my pleasure to tamper with accepted ideas and default genre preoccupations. Punk iconoclasm, that’s what we need.
Why do I write what I do?
I wrote my very first book, The Guide to Mysterious Perthshire, because I was living in Perthshire and it was
something I wanted to read – but there was simply nothing like it on the market. I write non-fiction on the weird and the strange because of a longstanding conviction that the world is weirder and stranger than most people think,
and that some of the data gathered may actually lead, one day, to a paradigm change.
And I write fiction because it is a socially acceptable way to kill people.
How does my writing process work?
I don’t actually have any ideas myself. I pay a subscription to an ideas-generating company based in the Cayman
Islands and they send me ten creative suggestions a month.
Who I nominate next…
I now pass the baton to those fine individuals and writers Kirstie Swain and Moore & Reppion. Good luck, chaps.