Signed Book Competition Winners

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The competition to win a free signed paperback edition of The Vanishing Room has now ended, with two lucky social media followers getting a signed copy and limited edition postcard. The winners are both from Twitter, where you can follow me if you want to keep up to date with news, thoughts, and future competitions. […]

Signed Copies of The Vanishing Room Now Available

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Signed copies of The Vanishing Room are now available for purchase in my new shop. There are twenty books available, with free postage to any UK mainland address. The books are a special run of paperbacks with silky matte covers, which you won’t find anywhere else. This is your chance to get hold of a […]

Camilla’s Song

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Taken from The Vanishing Room, this is Camilla’s song. L’amour et la mort dans une étreinte perpétuelle,Observent et attendent l’heure de se dévoiler. Aux premières gouttes de rosée sur la ruelle,La femme, dans les bras de l’homme, est enlacée. Le sang s’échappe malgré sa volonté,Il serre si fort ce qu’il a trouvé. Amour éperdue ou […]

Poetic Dedication

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Rather than a traditional dedication, The Vanishing Room has instead an oblique poem. The verse describes the hollow sadness of loss and is my dedication to someone I am unable to thank in person. The short poem is reproduced below. Dust like carpet fills the hallwaystillness creeps through every roomSilent the speakers, disused the objectsthe […]

Inspiration: J. Sheridan La Fanu

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While attempting to sketch the outline of a yet unpublished novel titled Thirty Day Threat, which I intended to be the first Sophie Harlock novel, I found myself drowning in a sea of creative turmoil. For me, writing fiction is not the graceful, fluid process of spilling forth imagination onto a page. It is instead […]

Latent Ice-Box Anxiety

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The first draft of The Vanishing Room is complete; that’s more than thirty chapters of delicately spun fiction that needs to survive the critical deductions of countless smart readers. Thinking about this drowns me in an ocean of paranoia. What if something doesn’t fit? What if there is a latent ice-box moment waiting to spoil […]

Divergent and Convergent Writing

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As many people will tell you, whether you ask them or not, good writing is really about what you don’t write, rather than what you do. Brevity has immense value. What may not be apparent is that you need to write prolifically and then begin the process of fearless removal. As Blaise Pascal said (originally […]

On Writing Fiction

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Writing fiction twists your brain in knots. You get to experience the life of a compulsive liar. You are constantly double-checking for consistency, acting as continuity supervisor for your own imagination. You become a detective, picking through the diary of a suspect; checking for the slip up that undermines the story and breaks the alibi. […]

Sophie Harlock

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“Why have you spent 15 years of your life publishing academic journals Jim?” “Because they’re important. And it’s James, not Jim.” “No. You you’re getting it all the wrong way around. You tell everyone they are important because you’ve wasted fifteen years on them. Maybe you even believe it – but the importance you attribute […]