"This rich and masterful collection of horror highlights both up-and-coming and established authors in an interesting twist on the standard anthology [...] Highly recommended for longstanding horror fans and those readers who may not think horror is for them. There is something for everyone in this one" Booklist
This new anthology contains 20 original horror stories, one of which is my own contribion, entitled "The Naughty Step". Edited by master of horror in his own right Mark Morris, it is the first of what will hopefully become an annual, non-themed horror anthology from Flame Tree Press of entirely original stories, showcasing the very best short fiction that the genre has to offer.
Order a copy here
High time I gave a shout out on this web site to the vastly talented Pedro Marques, the cover designer behind, I'm glad to say, all the fiction books I have done with the marvellous PS Publishing, so far. Whatever the dubious quality of the prose contained between said covers, the books, I always know, will look damn gorgeous. And it's always exciting to see what he comes up with.
As PS themselves said in a recent newsletter, Pedro is one of a select bunch of artists who design the whole book; interior text and graphics, signing sheets, slipcases, the whole shebang!
His most recent work for PS includes The Complete Short Stories of Mike Carey, and The Divide, playwright Alan Ayckbourn's debut novel. He also worked on the interior book design and cover arrangement using Dani Serra's artwork for Angela Slatter's collection The Heart is a mirror for Sinners.
Pedro is currently working on up and coming PS projects The Big Blind by Lavie Tidhar (his eighth Lavie book) and Stephen Volk's Under a Raven's Wing (his fourth). (More info on that latter project as it comes in.)
Meanwhile, is this really a photograph of the elusive Pedro, or simply "fake news" created by a quick trawl of the internet? Perhaps that fine looking lobster knows, but he sure as hell ain't telling...
Check out this recording of my story "After the Ape" read by Amy H Sturgis. I'm always delighted to hear my stories in audio form and this works a treat, I think. As well as appearing in my collection Monsters in the Heart, the story can also be read in the mini-volume below, which I share with Brian Lumley.
"The notion of what happened next? following the ending of a classic monster movie - probably the biggest and best of all time - was an intriguing one to me," I said to editor Steve Jones, "and not only the initial considerations of public health issues! Though somehow kicking this off, and shadowing its development, was my reading somewhere that King Kong was Hitler's favourite film. Why, I wondered? Anyway, the ape is not the monster in this tale. Far from it."
Some samples of beautiful concept art by the supremely talented Richard Dearing for a putative graphic novel rendering of Whitstable. I'm overjoyed and overawed. It would be tremendous for it to come to fruition one day.
These designs for the DVD covers for Afterlife in the USA (Region 1) don't really convey either the atmosphere or the story content of the ITV drama series. But hey, it's rather nice art in its own right.
I have often said in interviews that my original pitch to the BBC for Ghostwatch was as a six-part drama series, in the style of the BBC's (then recent) Edge of Darkness or (their much older, legendary) Quatermass serials: the "live broadcast from a haunted house" concept, at that stage, was only envisioned for the final, climactic episode. I came across a draft of that initial proposal when recently clearing out my reams of archive. If you are a Ghostwatch fan, it might make for fascinating reading. Above is a taster of page one. The episodes have intriguing titles, I think: 1) Flies on the Wall; 2) Viewers and Seers; 3) The Flesh Tape - after which the multi-stranded narrative collapses into indecypherable scribbles. Still, I wonder if my fully structured breakdown of the six-hour plot is lurking somewhere under the debris of 30 years' paperwork...
Earlier this year, Gavin Kendall of Kendall Reviews said: "These are the most testing times the human race have faced since World War II. This time the enemy is unseen, an enemy so powerful it’s forcing many of us to retreat back into our houses. It’s here that people will try to continue to live as normal a life as they can and it’s here that the wonderful art of storytelling may blossom."
I was delighted at the opportunity to share three of my short stories via the Kendall Reviews website. If you missed the link I sent out via Twitter, here they are again. We are now in July and the lockdown is tentatively lifting. Keep reading, keep taking care, and be careful out there.
Read this new interview with me at Horla.org, where I talk to Matthew Rees, the author of the excellent short story collection Keyhole, about the nature of horror; stand-out stories, novels, and films; the health (or otherwise) of horror and the supernatural on contemporary TV; my evolution as a writer; the different lives a piece of a fiction can have; on writer responses to Covid; advice for developing writers; future projects, and the one I really want to see reach fruition.
Above: Book cover of the 1908 edition of ‘Le Horla’ by Guy de Maupassant. Illustration by William Julian-Damazy.
The delightful Conor, who interviewed me for The Hidden Station Podcast says: "An interview with Stephen Volk writer of the cult classic BBC TV special/film that shook the nation: Ghostwatch! If you haven't seen Ghostwatch, I highly recommend watching it before listening to this chat." Indeed so! Over to you, Conor...