Virtuosity

I’m a bit old fashioned, and resistant to change; probably more so the older I get. So, when the idea of doing a virtual book tour was floated in the spring of this year, which would enable me to promote not just one, but all the books I had coming out, I had to think about it. I’d been on actual physical book tours before, and loved it – I have very fond memories of going round bookstores for the Arrowland tour with Rich (then of Simon & Schuster, now of Faber); it was so much fun, not only meeting people who bought the books but driving round with Rich and shooting the breeze. In fact, we’ve remained friends ever since.

At the same time, I was also there – almost – at the forefront of internet writery promotion, providing content and having a presence on the behemoth that was Terror Tales online back in the late ‘90s, early 2000s. But I guess I always saw this as supplementing getting out there to conventions and signings to meet readers. It added another dimension to it, yet could never really replace it – for one thing people can pretend to be something they’re not on the ‘net. And yes, I had a Myspace page when that was all the rage, then switched to Facebook when everybody was doing that – though I resented the move at first (like I said, I’m resistant to change). But I didn’t go on Twitter until 2013, after various publishers insisted I had something up there. Though, actually, I now find it thoroughly entertaining – and the interaction reminds me a lot of those old TT Message Boards.

But a virtual tour? Never done one before, and thought I never would really. Anyway, I agreed and a bunch of stuff was lined up for me, including blog posts, guest essays, podcasts and interviews – and this time the more physical stuff was supplementing it instead, like Guesting at three events (the SFF Social, HorrorCon and Liverpool HorrorFest), TV appearances and launching Monsters at Edge-Lit. I found that even though I was appearing in person at these – and had a whale of a time, I hasten to add – the online stuff was as much a part of the experience before, during and afterwards, as being there. And you know what, I’ve had just as much fun interacting with people online and getting the word out that way, as I did meeting people in the flesh over the past few months.

It’s been a busy time, but also massively rewarding – probably my best year yet for PR. And anyone who wants to check out the full itinerary, can do so below… Of course, the hard work publicising things hasn’t stopped just because the summer is over. It’s been continuing right up to this week, when I answered questions for another forthcoming online interview, and was fielding yet more about the announcement of my mass market novel from Solaris, Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell, coming out next July. You’ll find the press release for that here and a few more titbits I gave Tor.com here. Actually, that experience has also shown me the importance of online PR and how fast word can spread virally, as news posts started appearing within an hour of the original going live – and are now going global. I’m even blogging about it on here!

So, would I do something like it again? The answer is: Hell, yes! It’ll never replace getting out there and meeting people, chatting to readers and fans – indeed, I have a few more appearances lined up before the end of the year, including the obligatory FantasyCon in October – but it definitely works in terms of letting people know what you’re all about. And that can’t be a bad thing for any writer, can it?

Happy surfing!
Paul.

The full Shadow Writer summer virtual book tour: Fiona Mcvie Interview; Bitten By Books Multi-Author Event; Mass Movement Blog; Interview and Blog for Rising Shadow; ‘A Hero’s Journey’ for Sci-Fi Bulletin; ‘Top Post-Apocalyptic Films’ for Abaddon; Gentlemen’s Grindhouse Radio Podcast; ‘Modernising a Legend’ at Geek Syndicate; ‘Heroes and Villains’ at Civilian Reader; Starburst Bookworm Podcast; Barbara Donlon Bradley; Luke Greensmith HorrorFest Podcast.

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Sequelitis & Monsterama

Next year I celebrate two decades as a professional writer (and by professional, I mean when I first started selling articles and reviews for money, making my living that way… I’d actually been writing these for nothing for a few smaller press mags since the early ‘90s). Not long after I began, I started selling my stories as well, and the best of these will be brought together in the collection Shadow Casting from SST publications. And it’s a funny thing, if you’re lucky enough to have been able to do something as weird and enjoyable as write for living for such a long time, you start looking back and thinking about past stories. Thinking about catching up with characters in these stories, perhaps a little down the line. This has been happening more and more to me of late, the evidence of which is in some of my current and imminent releases.

Now, I know I’ve written sequels before – most notably my Hooded Man tales – but when I signed on to do Arrowhead, back in 2007, neither I nor commissioning editor of Abaddon at the time, Jonathan Oliver, thought it was going to be anything other than a standalone Afterblight Chronicles book – or at least that’s my recollection of events. As each book sold well, another was commissioned, until we had a trilogy on our hands – finally gathered together in the Hooded Man omnibus. At time of writing, it’s been almost five years since Arrowland and a couple of years since Hooded Man, and – as you do – you start to think about what might have happened to Robert and his band in the time since we left them. Luckily, those kind of ponderings coincided with new Abaddon editor David Thomas Moore contacting me and asking if I’d like to write a brand new Arrowhead novella, which I had to think about for precisely no seconds before agreeing to. And so Flaming Arrow was born, which has just recently been released and you can buy here. I’m really grateful for it as well, because it gave me a chance to drop in on my characters almost a decade later and write about an older Hood and generation gap between him and his son.

The same was also true of my werewolf stories ‘Nightlife’ and ‘Half-Life’, which detailed the life of my character Neil when he’s in his twenties and then in his forties. Alchemy Press bringing out my collection Monsters – with a cover by Clive Barker and introduction by Nicholas Vince – gave me a chance to finish off what I’ve called my ‘Life Cycle’ of stories. But it also gave me a chance to write about a much older Neil, trying to get through to a younger werewolf and stop him from making the same mistakes he’s made himself. You can read the results in the collection when it launches at Edge-Lit in July, but the tale did at least give me a chance to comment on the differences between generations in a more specific and recognisable way, and one I’ve experienced myself to some extent being a Dad.

Of course, some stories simply take up when the previous one left off, like my sequel to RED out soon, the novel Blood RED (another one from SST, with Dave McKean cover art and an Alison Littlewood intro) which picks up barely an hour after events in the first book. But they’re sequels all the same, fuelled by time passing and thinking more and more about adding to what the wonderful Stephen Volk once termed ‘Kane World’ (which makes me sound like Disney or something, I know). Yet it’s how mythologies and bodies of work are built up. This is something Steve knows all too well, having just penned a sequel of sorts to his awesome and award-winning Whitstable: Leytonstone.

So, that’s sequels. Why Monsterama? Well, I’ve already mentioned Monsters coming out, which has every conceivable kind of monster from vampires to zombies, from demons to witches. Fans of RED will know that this is a modern horror reworking of Little Red Riding Hood, which contains one of the most famous monsters of all time. But also Flaming Arrow, actually, features its own set of monsters – humans that have been experimented upon, and fashioned into an army that threatens Robert Stokes and his men. I do so like killing two birds with one stone… or one journal entry in this case, seeing as I do so few.

I’ll try and remedy that, though, in the months to come – as there are more books still ahead this year, and events where things are happening (as well as Edge, I’m a Guest at both the third SFSF Social in June which you can read about here and Horror Con UK in July, which you can find details about here). In the meantime, stay safe and be kind to each other people.

Catch you on the other side!

Paul.

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Looking Back…

Hi all,

Yes, I know, it’s been a while again since my last post – haven’t got any better at updating my blog since I moved to the new one. Hopefully this won’t become just an annual thing, but for those who want to follow what I’m up to on a more regular basis there’s always my Twitter feed which you can find at https://twitter.com/PaulKaneShadow and my website at http://www.shadow-writer.co.uk

It does at least reflect the kind of year we’ve had, keeping our heads down and getting on with the work after the rigours of 2013. That said, and looking back over the last twelve months – as you tend to do at this time of the year – there have been a fair few public events I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. The Gemmell Awards at the Magic Cicle in June, for example; Edge-Lit in July where I sat on the ‘Dark Borders’ panel talking about cross-genre fiction; FCon in September where I was on a panel talking about Horror TV; and the Mega Halloween signing at Forbidden Planet in London, followed by a BFS Open Day in a nearby pub. As always, making brilliant memories that I never thought I would and will stay with me forever. Oh, and if you still haven’t seen the online show I was a guest on in December – The Soska Cenobite Christmas webcast – then you can watch that here (with apologies in advance for our singing).

So, what about the work? I’m particularly proud of the two publications that were out this year: volumes one and two of the non-fiction Shadow Writer books (which you can buy here and here), but slightly less than the eight publications I had out the previous year. Fortunately, I look set to top that number in 2015 – look out for a big announcement involving some of these in January – and I’ve also been involved in some terrific projects that will be out next year. One, yet another Sherlock Holmes story ‘The Case of the Lost Soul’ out in The Mammoth Book of Sherlock Holmes Abroad, another my very first motion comic: an adaptation of Clive Barker’s ‘In the Hills, The Cities’ from the Books of Blood, illustrated by Sam Shearon. You can check out a preview of the first issue from this series here. The book releases start in February with my novelette The Curse of the Wolf, which I really enjoyed writing and traces werewolves back to the very first one, tossing in links to my mythologies from RED and Gemini as a bonus. It’s available for pre-order here.

In terms of reading and watching stuff, my favourite books I’ve read this year include Michael Marshall Smith’s superb collection Everything You Need, Sarah Pinborough’s Murder and Alison Littlewood’s The Unquiet House. Film-wise, I loved Winter Soldier, Godzilla, Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Guardians and Gone Girl. But for sheer chills, my favourite horror movies of the year have to be Oculus (which sees Mike Flanagan follow-up Absentia with an even more impressive entry), Axelle Carolyn’s haunting Soulmate and Deliver Us From Evil (a great blend of cops and exorcism). There’s also been some fantastic telly this year, including BBC drama The Missing, True Detective, Prey, Arrow & The Flash, The Leftovers, The Strain and The Walking Dead to name but a few series…

So, all things considered, not a bad year – but I’m looking forward to the next one for so many reasons. I’m hoping some of you will join me on the next step of this little adventure in 2015!

Take care of yourselves and have a wonderful New Year, people.

Paul.

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Happy New Year

Hi all,

Yet another new start for yet another new blog, since the last one decided to wipe itself on our most recent update. Not to worry, it’s the New Year – still, technically, just – and so a time of fresh starts.

And I’d be lying if I said I was sorry to see the back of last year. For various reasons – including the loss of both my parents and Marie’s mum – the last couple of years or so have been incredibly stressful and emotionally draining. So much so that we just battened down the hatches over the holiday period and had a quiet time at home with all the family together. A chance to sit back and remember – and relish – all that’s really important in life.

Anyone who’s read my story ‘Yin and Yang’ will know that there has to be a balance, though, and as if to counter some of the more trying things that have happened, my working life has been incredibly busy and productive over this period. Last year we were guests at not one, but two conventions and I had no less than eight publications released (it should really have been ten, but two books got pushed back to this year – no bad thing as it puts me ahead of the game going into 2014). There have been some pretty positive reviews of my work generally, and my Hooded Man mass market book sold out of its initial print run in under a month. My first YA book – The Rainbow Man – was also released, a story I’m incredibly proud of.

I also got to write my first feature script for a UK production company, which was a steep learning curve. But I thoroughly enjoyed it and am working now on a second. As we move into this year, I’ve just completed another non-fiction project which is going off to the publishers this week and I’ve been commissioned to do quite an exciting project that should make fans of my previous fiction happy. All in all, a very fortunate position to be in at this stage in my career and much more than I ever dreamed possible when I first started out.

And the moral of this tale? There isn’t one really. Life goes on, there are ups and there are downs, things to weather and moments to cherish.

So till next time when I’ll probably have more to report, look after each other and keep on keeping on.

Take care,
Paul.

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