Sometimes life just gets in the way of writing. This summer, mainly due to family matters, I've done no writing whatsoever, and, having already neglected both of my blogs last winter through writing furiously, I have failed too to get back to them properly. Now summer is over, and I discover my head has been rearranged by all that has happened. Although at Easter I thought the manuscript I was working on was almost completed - I had sent it out to my first readers - it now seems all wrong. This so often happens, I find: if you don't properly complete a project before you have to leave it, it can seem to crumble away: either you come back to it wondering what the heck it was all about, or you find, as I'm doing at the moment, that though you're still obsessed with it, you want to rework it radically. Things have happened in the meantime to adjust your insights entirely. Life, eh? But then how could we have it any other way: what would we write about if we didn't write about life?
Anyway, I'm jumping back in the saddle now, and just as well, since things are kicking off again. Next Saturday I'll be reading at The Word, a one-day festival for writers which will take place at The Continental, Preston (above). I'll be taking part in one of the day's events, an Unthank session at which publisher Robin Jones will talk, and Sarah Dobbs, author of the Unthank novel Killing Daniel, will also read. Unthank are an amazingly generous publisher - publishing new and established authors with little regard to anything but literary excellence (for their Unthology short-story series there are no fake and limiting restrictions on theme, word-count or style) - and I think any writer should jump at the chance of listening to Robin. (I'm very grateful that Unthank have published two of my stories, in Red Room and Unthology 5, and delighted to say that another will be in Unthology 7, to be published next summer.) The whole day looks very stimulating. Tickets (for the day, including lunch and refreshments), are £20 and you can buy them here. There'll be a book stall and authors attending the festival are invited to bring copies of their latest publication to sell.
Thursday (18th) is the day that The Wish Dog becomes available, a new anthology of ghost stories from Honno press, which includes my story, 'A Matter of Light' - the first proper ghost story I've ever written, I think! I do like a good ghost story (who doesn't?) and I'm very much looking forward to reading the other stories in the book.
And now to get back to that manuscript (and the critical work I've got lined up)...