So, the time has come to announce the imminent release of my new short story collection, The Echoing Green and Other Stories.
What can I say about it?
Well, the stories are stronger than my previous efforts. They are more focused and thematic and have the confidence of a writer who has found his voice. Although mythological beings are still present in the stories, there are more creatures of pure imagination. The plots are as ingenious and inventive as The Chronicles but, again, there is more focus and less rambling. Because they are more thematic, the stories are, I hope, more thought provoking. There is also more of a social conscience present, especially in the stories, ‘John Frost and the Angel’ and ‘Home’. This is something that was missing from The Chronicles.
The Echoing Green and Other Stories was written in a very short period of time. I always write fast as the stories seem to flow through me. The process was the same as for the other books: I’d cook up a few ideas in my imagination before sitting down at the computer and getting to work. I never have trouble coming up with ideas. It seems like I can turn them on and off like a tap. It’s a very deliberate process: there is thinking time and there is writing time. I’ve never had writer’s block.
So, altogether a more mature, confident and controlled effort that will, hopefully, satisfy most readers.
I should also mention the cover art. This time, instead of the easy option of finding a design on Shutterstock, I’ve gone with an original work of art by the very talented Diana Muller. ‘A Head Full of Hills’ is most fitting for both the title and content of the book. The cover is classier than the previous books, and I hope the content lives up to it.
In what way is the collection similar to the previous books?
Well, the influences are the same: the early work of Yeats, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker and Stephen King. And the strangeness and originality of the ideas is still there. As in previous books, the dialogue is probably the strongest aspect of the work. There is the same playfulness and humour about the stories.
So, altogether, I’m very pleased and proud of the way the stories in the collection turned out.
I hope you enjoy reading them.
The Echoing Green and Other Stories will be available to download or order as a hard copy, right here, next week.