mark morris - news & views

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

November '06 Update

I'm currently busier than I've ever been, slaving away on no less than three novels simultaneously, albeit at various stages of development. My January-deadlined novel for Leisure, The Deluge, is coming along nicely. Today I put chapter 23 (of around 34, if I stick to my current plan) to bed, and am currently working at the rate of around two chapters per week. So another five weeks or so should - barring re-writes - see the book finished.

Frustratingly I still can't tell you anything about the other two books at the moment, because I've been sworn to secrecy, but what I can tell you is this:

I've submitted a short synopsis for book number one, which has been heartily approved, and I'm currently waiting for the contract, which I'm assured will be with me this week.

Book number two, meanwhile, is at a less advanced stage. My ten-page synopsis has been initially okayed, but now has to be sent to a higher authority for final approval. I'm very excited about both of these books, and am dying to tell you about them, but I'm afraid, dear reader, that for the time being you - like me - are just going to have to be patient.

What all this activity means in actual writing terms is that I'm currently working at the rate of about 2-3000 words a day, seven days a week. Most of my time is spent on The Deluge, which I'm keen to finish before the deadline if possible, but I've also been doing a ton of research (particularly for book number two) and writing a short story for a November 13th deadline, which I finished and submitted on November 6th. And again, I can't tell you who this story is for, as it hasn't been accepted yet, but I can tell you that it's called 'The All-Nighter' and that I'm pretty pleased with it. And the great thing about short stories is that if the intended market rejects it, then there are always a load of other places you can try.

Talking of short stories, there's still no sign of Night Visions 12, though I'm hoping it will appear any day now. One piece of writing of mine that has recently appeared in print, however, is my introduction to Vessels, the new novella from my Night Visions 12 editor, Kealan Patrick Burke, which has just been published by Bloodletting Press. I was delighted to write an intro to Vessels as Kealan is one of the brightest lights among the new generation of horror writers. If you haven't come across his work before, I urge you to start with his novella, The Turtle Boy. It's the first in a proposed quartet of novellas, which continues with the equally splendid The Hides. Vessels is the third instalment, and the fourth, hopefully to be published some time next year, is to be called Nemesis.

While on the subject of intros, I've recently been asked to write one for Gary Fry's second collection of short stories, to be published next year by those wonderful chaps at Humdrumming. As those of you who have read Gary's first collection, The Impelled and Other Head Trips, will know, he is another of horror's rising stars.

Actually I've just realised: in the past year I've been asked to write three introductions - one for Kealan, one for Gary, and one for Mark Samuels' brilliant novella, The Face of Twilight. What can this mean? Is it that I am no longer regarded as one of the Young Turks of horror fiction? Have I suddenly become - gulp - one of its elder statesmen?

Fuck me, when did that happen?

I'm really looking forward to this weekend. Myself and seven writer chums have hired a lodge in Wales for three days of writing and drinking. The full line-up - me, Tim Lebbon, Sarah Pinborough, Adam Nevill, Gary Greenwood, Paul Meloy and the dynamic duo of Steve Lockley and Paul Lewis - displays, I'm sure you'll agree, an exciting blend of youth and experience. In all seriousness, though, we always get a ton of work done on these weekends, in spite of the inevitable hangovers. Tim and I have been talking for a while about writing a screenplay together, and this weekend we're hoping to be able to thrash our vague and no doubt wildly disparate ideas into some kind of workable shape.

Finally, as is traditional, here are a couple of things I've bought recently. It's mainly music this time around - Peel sessions from PJ Harvey and Siouxsie and the Banshees, a singles album by Dawn of the Replicants (bought on ebay for £1.99), the new album from my favourite band of all time, The Stranglers (yes, they're still going strong after thirty years, and their new album, Suite XVI, is an absolute corker), and - keeping with the John Peel theme - a fantastic 38-track compilation of artists that dear old JP particularly favoured, entitled Right Time, Wrong Speed.

Until next time...