We’ve had two cracking – a very different – episodes of the Bestseller Experiment recently. First up is a report from The Romantic Novelists’ Association conference in Leeds where I spoke to Rhoda Baxter, Nicola Cornick and Sheila Crighton (aka Annie O’Neil) about all sorts of love including instalust, passionate blur and the scale of hotness. And it was great to finally meet Rhoda Baxter (aka Jeevani Charika), who also proved the Lego image above! Listen to the podcast here.
This week’s podcast features John McGhie, an investigative journalist who has worked for the BBC, Channel 4 News and the Observer. John and I met on Whitstable beach at the peak of the football world cup at what felt like a brief moment of optimism in an otherwise politically depressing 2018. We cheer ourselves up by talking about the historical atrocities chronicled in John’s excellent new book White Highlands! No, really, it’s a fascinating episode and we cover writing historical fiction in some detail. Listen here.
And if you want to know more, the documentary that inspired John’s book can be seen here…
I’m now fully rested after a week or so off from the usual routine of commute/write/day job/commute/write/fall asleep in front of the TV. The family and I explored Kent, the county we moved to a little over a year ago. We found castles, wind farms, sea forts, crypts, a submarine, a shell grotto, and an ossuary with skulls lining the walls:
Claire in the shell grotto in Margate
The Red Sands Maunsell Forts
A music video being shot at Botany Bay
And the Kentish Flats wind farm
Margate looking all epic
Rochester castle big. Kids, small.
The Foxtrot Class Russian sub currently rusting in the Medway in Rochester
Ahead of the publication of The End of Magic(and while I wait for the dreaded edit notes to come back) I’ve been writing a short story set in the same world.
How Drust Krax Lost Two Fingers introduces the novel’s main villain Haldor Frang, and it’s told from the point of view of the hapless Drust Krax. A defeated warlord, awaiting certain death, who really, really needs to use the privvy…
I’m offering it first and exclusively to anyone who subscribes to my newsletter! To download a copy for your Kindle or any other eReader device, just sign-up here.
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Big thanks to Jack Logan and Julian Barr for reading my early drafts the story, taking them down a dark alley and giving them a good kicking. Thanks also to Kit Cox for the map image used on the cover art.
I really enjoyed writing it and can’t wait to hear what you think of it!
In other news, I spoke to the wonderful Gareth L Powell on the podcast this week. We discussed the slow death of Facebook and how to sing a space opera. Listen here.
There’s also a fab Deep Dive on adaptation this week with Julian Barr (second mention in the blog today). One of us has a PhD. It won’t take you long to figure out which one of us doesn’t… You can listen to a teaser here.
And I’m on BBC Radio Kent tonight (or in the past, depending on when you read this). I’ll be talking to Dominic King on his new arts show about the podcast, Robot Overlords, The End of Magic and more. Listen or catch-up here.