"Grief feels like love. Sometimes you press on that tender spot, because it’s as close as you can get to the person who is otherwise gone.” – Kate Brody
Posts tagged "top ten"
Spooky houses with eerily lit windows

Spooky houses with eerily lit windows

The image is instantly recognisable to horror fans: a foreboding house, a darkened sky, a single illuminated window. Maybe a figure stands silhouetted against the window’s yellow glow. Maybe the house is in a state of disrepair – forked cracks at the foundation and creeping vines strangling the porch rails. To me, a lifelong lover...
Weird and wonderful book dedications

Weird and wonderful book dedications

Most authors dedicate their beloved books to their family. To partners. To children. To parents. But not all authors. I dedicated my first novel Virgin to anyone who knew the pain of a Brazilian wax. My second – Not That Easy – was for anyone who ever felt like their life was a mess. My...
Gay love stories in historical fiction

Gay love stories in historical fiction

What was it like to be a gay man in Paris in 1870? While researching my novel The Beasts of Paris, I couldn’t find much in 19th-century writing about homosexual love, and even later there are strangely few literary, queer, period-set love stories (shout outs to Sarah Waters and Mary Renault), so I’m pushing the...
Escape from Tokyo

Escape from Tokyo

I have always wanted to write a novel set in rural Japan. The first place I lived when I moved there was a tiny coastal town in Hiroshima prefecture. Once a week, after work I would go to a battered old community centre in the town of Onomichi and have a one-on-one lesson with my...
Ten books about revenge (sort of)

Ten books about revenge (sort of)

I’m going to play a little fast and loose with the concept of revenge here – in some cases there’ll be a subtle massaging, in others I’m just going to riff. If anyone is unhappy about this, might I suggest they consider a course of action via which they hurt or harm me in return...
Queer families

Queer families

Is blood thicker than water? Or is family chosen, acquired throughout our lives? Ask me in the immediate aftermath of a family Christmas, and I’ll say definitely, definitely it’s not about genetics – no ties but what we make! But sit me down with my sister in the peace of her kitchen for a cup...
A Pox on this Plague!

A Pox on this Plague!

It’s 1349 in the Season of the Plague. The Black Death is scorching its path through England, leaving half the population dead in its wake. Folk suppose it’s a lethal miasma of foul airs. Or maybe it’s God’s punishment for human corruption. Or perhaps vagrants and money-lenders have been poisoning the wells. Medicine doesn’t help....
Mannequins and monsters

Mannequins and monsters

Edward Carey’s The Swallowed Man follows the adventures of Pinocchio’s creator Geppetto after he is stranded in the belly of a sea beast. As the woodcarver ekes out a frugal existence, living on his memories and imagination, the tale becomes a magical meditation on fatherly love, loss and regret, and the transformative power of creative...
Complicated and conflicted

Complicated and conflicted

One of the challenges I faced when writing People of Abandoned Character was the fact that the main protagonist was complicated – and a woman. I had a lot of feedback that she wasn’t likeable enough, but I was determined to keep her as flawed as she was. I think it’s a particular curse especially...
You and the story

You and the story

Second-person narration, in which the author uses the pronoun ‘you’ to seemingly address the reader and draw them into the story, can be a bit of a high-wire balancing act. Or, to apply an analogy more suited to my West Coast background (I’ve never tried any circus stunts, let alone a high-wire act), writing in...
The solace of the strange

The solace of the strange

As the threat of a global pandemic grew and when we finally went into lockdown, something happened to our dreams. Telephone conversations, social media posts, virtual meet-ups became places to express the strange effect the virus was having on our subconscious sleeping states. For a while, I’m having the weirdest dreams, seemed to be the...
All in the mind

All in the mind

At the risk of sounding like valedictorian delivering a graduation speech, a ‘psychological thriller’ is defined on Wikipedia as a thriller “which emphasizes the unstable or delusional psychological states of its characters.” As definitions go, that’s good enough for me. In general, I just know a psychological thriller when I read one. Most whodunits, at...