I’ve got a new website! Or, rather, a website. My first. I’ve never had a proper one before. Only blogs. I started blogging in 2002 and have blogged pretty constantly across a variety of platforms up until a couple of years ago, but they’ve been weird, scattershot affairs, and I’ve long felt the need for an actual, proper website with a short(ish) URL, a sense of cohesion, an efficient showcase for my work, and – crucially – a nice design. (For which huge thanks to Pilcrow + Pixel – go here to see what else they’ve done.)
So. News; my first fantasy novel, Gleam, was published recently. It’s a bit different to my previous work, which can generally be filed under Horror, and so I was a bit nervous about how it would be received. I wrote a little bit about what it’s like writing across different genres for The Speculative Scotsman.
It’s not all colourful moons and campfires and magic crystals. There are ruins, bandits, bloodletters, drugs, giant slugs, and other monsters. There’s darkness, and there’s despair, and there’s violence. But in Gleam, as opposed to in my horror novels, the characters are not completely overwhelmed by the threat, and so the narrative has room for humour and warmth. Wild Alan, Bloody Nora, The Mushroom Queen, Churr, Spider Kurt—they’re all equipped to cope with the world they inhabit, which my horror novel characters are not.
In the end, to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the reception would be a huge understatement – it’s been incredible:
A marvel of a world here with some of the best characters I’ve seen in the genre for some time – brilliantly engaging, page turning joy – Liz Loves Books
Gleam challenges the genre. It pushes boundaries, and introduces readers to profound and amazing characters – Bookworm Blues
Gleam is a dark, aesthetically beautiful fantasy – Intellectus Speculativus
Gleam’s combination of dystopia, mythic quest, music and squishy monsters is hugely entertaining. Fletcher’s distinctive prose – alternating barogue description and brutal action – is spiced with witty dialogue and eccentric characters. 4/5 – SFX
For more responses, (and purchase links, just in case you want to give it a shot) visit Gleam’s own page.
I’m currently working on the sequel, Idle Hands, but I’m also busy with something a bit different. Last year, myself and a few friends set up a self-publishing collective called Curious Tales with the intention of creating a beautiful, limited-edition book of Christmas ghost stories written in the tradition of M.R. James. The book was sold at a series of live events hosted by bookshops, libraries, museums, and haunted pubs, and to our great delight it sold out. We’re having another go this year, except this time we’re honouring one of the founding fathers of Chilly British Weird, Robert Aickman. This year’s book is called Poor Souls’ Light: Seven Curious Tales, it is gorgeously illustrated by the artist Beth Ward, it features fiction from Jenn Ashworth, Emma Jane Unsworth, Richard Hirst, Alison Moore, myself, and special guest writers Johnny Mains and M. John Harrison, and it is available right now. As are limited-edition prints of the illustrations. Now I’ve seen these books and prints in the flesh, and trust me – you want them. You want them for yourself, and you want to buy them as gifts for the people you love. They’re very, very nice indeed. But act sharpish, because they’re flying out the door. Almost literally. Almost.
For details of the Poor Souls’ Light tour, visit the Curious Tales site. That’s the link for our shop as well. The book and prints are only available through that website, at our events, and at Ebb & Flo Books, in Chorley. (Which is a wonderful bookshop and well worth a visit anyway.)
I’m going to be blogging a little bit more in future, keeping this site updated with news, event details, and various other bits and pieces. But for now, I’m off. See you soon.