As soon as your novel, poem, screenplay or artwork leaves your hand, it’s open to the interpretation of others. That’s just how it goes. And to a certain degree, that’s the whole point. Especially with books. How I imagine one of my favourite characters, Harry Dresden, is mine alone and will be subtley different from how others imagine him. It’s part of the fun of picturing things in your head.
The way that I’ve come across this kind of thing is in readings, workshops and at signings. People seem to really want to know what Greaveburn “is”.
There have been several theories offered to me:
1. Greaveburn is an alternate history.
2. It’s a parallel universe.
3. It’s an alternate dimension.
And, most recently,
4. It’s a post-apocalyptic city.
That last one came from a recent review by Scott Kinkade, which I won’t link to as it has lots of spoilers in it, but his theory is a good one, as theories go.
I’ve wondered whether to dispel these theories or just let people carry on, and I’ve finally decided to do the latter. What people get from the book is their own personal experience and I’m happy to have it that way.
But it points to something interesting in human nature, I think. The constant search for solid answers. None of the people who made these theories could just let Greaveburn be. It has to be something. Odd don’t you think? And worth bearing in mind when you write your own work.
Thanks for reading.
It’s been one of those weeks, faithful Blog-Readers. I never thought I’d say this, but it’s been a week full of interviews!
Thanks to Magda at the Bulletfilms blog, you can read one of them HERE. Telling you all about Not Before Bed, the upcoming release of Greaveburn and…oh yes, there’s an AND…little tidbits about my WIP and other random information that I’ve never put into interviews before.
But the interview, I’ve been REALLY excited about is my spot on my hometown’s local radio station, Sine FM. What I was expecting to be a quick “fifteen minutes of fame” turned into an hour long grilling about everything from where I was born to what my (estranged) father used to do for a living. Awkwaaaaard! Then, on to the principles of Flash Fiction and eventually back round to a brief mention of Not Before Bed. It was extremely fun, extremely nerve racking, and you can listen to the whole thing right here:
Tip: Listen to part 1, and skip the first ten minutes
But before you listen, I’ll give you a little context to some of the things you’ll be hearing. I wasn’t the only person on the show, of course. In the small 10ftx6ft room, there were 9 people. That’s right. Here’s a run down of who else was there:
- Craig McCann – Local lad and Olympic level fencer.
- Steve – Mortage Broker
- Another guy who’s name I forget – Tasked with finding Louis Tomlinson (another local lad and one fifth of One Direction) and getting him to come on the show.
- Andrew Isaacs - The show’s presenter
- “Negative Nigel” – Andrew’s co-host and apparently a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
- And two “Private Investigators” who’s real names we weren’t allowed to use on the show.
A summary: A sword expert, a martial artist, two detectives, a solicitor (Andrew), a man who stalks Louis Tomlinson and a writer of Speculative Fiction. Does that sound like the set up for a Miss Marple adventure to anyone else? It was a bloody dangerous room to be in, I’ll tell you!
Now, this is where the pressure started The “P.I.s” didn’t want to use their real names. And, since Andy thought that Writers have an inbuilt name-generator in their cerebral cortex, he gave me the task of coming up with a name for the female PI seconds before the show started. Asking her quickly what she was after, I got an unhelpful shrug and so I was heavily in the shit and expected to think of a name while balancing a ball on my head and riding a unicycle (or that’s how it felt). With nothing forthcoming from my nerve-paralysed brain, I went for the code-name Stiletto. I thought it was pretty funny. She, however, was not impressed hahaha. If you listen to the show, you’ll hear my explanation to the crowd of why I chose stiletto (double meaning, anyone?), and the awed silence afterward that I think proves that no one got it. Never mind
Anyways, since I’d already done my part, and Andrew had got me to mention my lovely partner, Laura, on the show as one of my prime supports to my publishing, it comes about that he chose her name to give to the female PI. So, if you listen to the podcast above, you’ll all understand the conotations of every time he calls her Laura Hall. Suffice to say, Laura herself (the real Laura) was highly amused that her name was used over and over again. She was pretty giddy about it when I got home and kept chuckling to herself.
It was a complete mind-f**k of an evening, and an absolute blast, too. I’m hoping I’ll get to do it all again when Greaveburn is ready to be released later this year. Who knows who I’ll end up int he roo with this time!?
Thanks for reading!
Hi everyone, and welcome to the blog post I never thought I’d write.
Those of you who’ve been reading my blogs for a while now (even since the beginning?) will know exactly how long I’ve waited for this moment. It’s been a year and a half of hard work, trawling through the literary agencies online and off, making my submissions fit their precise and often wildly different criteria. The hardest part, as always, has been the waiting. Then there’s the mountain of rejection slips, most very nice, that came without fail every time. That’s a whole lot of envelopes and whole lot of stamps. I think I’ve kept Royal Mail in business all by myself!
But the time has come. The time when I can make this announcement. Something I’ve been dreaming about since I was a teenager, and working towards with bleeding fingers for the last five years.
Milking it? Me? Oh, ok. I’ll get to the point.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, after much searching and sweating, Craig Hallam (slipping to third person for effect) has found himself a publisher!
Yeah, you heard right. My debut novel, Greaveburn, has been read, liked and accepted to the loving embrace of Inspired Quill publishing house! I’ve put off writing this post for almost a week now, mostly because I’ve been making little squee noises in the back of my throat and wandering around dazed since I got the email. But now I think it’s time to share my fantastic news!
As I’m sure you can all imagine (writers and readers alike) I’m over the moon. I’ve had to choke it back a little, letting Laura do most of the celebrating on my behalf, and letting my professional self take the reins. I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself. I’m trying not to think about who will be the first person to buy it. Nor my first bad review or (hopefully) my first good one. No signings or promotions ahead of me. I’m definitely not imagining what the cover will look like…although I could draw you a picture if you like
It’s hard to stay in the moment but I’m doing ok. I want to enjoy this little nibblet of a win but don’t want to throw it around until there’s nothing left to play with. There’s a lot of work to do from here on in. Thinking about the first round of edits, for example, is making little brown cakes in my undercrackers. But it’s also going to be fun. And the IQ team all seem fantastic, so far. My alloted editor, Pete Stewart, is a Steampunk fan so Greaveburn will hopefully go down well.
Anyway, I thought you should all know, being true believers and wonderful supports throughout my struggle. When it eventually hits the shelves, shiny and awesome and without a single spelling mistake (unlike these posts), be assured that you’re all invited to the party and, by God, there’ll be hangovers the next day!
Thanks for reading!
November 24, 2011 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: author, books, Craig Hallam, fantasy, gothic, indie author, Inspired Press, published, publishing, speculative fiction, Steampunk, writer, writing | 2 Comments »
*Feel free to play Dangerzone by Kenny Loggins as you read this post*
I feel juiced! I’m not sure why. I’ve just mashed out two assignments for my OU literature courses (Ingesting unhealthy amounts of info about John Webster’s Duchess of Malfi in the process). That left me pretty mentally exhausted. Then I’ve been on the good old night shifts which, during winter, means I don’t see daylight for five days. When I got up this afternoon, I clutched my hands to my face like Christopher Lee and hissed! I need Vitamin D!
Despite that, I feel good.
Submitting Greaveburn to Independent authors has thrown up some lovely (rejection) comments. More along the line of “good, but we’re not buying”. My shoulders have become so sloped with the weight of these flooding replies that they slide right off. No harm, no foul, thanks for your time. And so when I found (or was found) by Inspired Quill Publishing via my Twitter feed, I didn’t think anything of it. I reciprocate follows with quit a few publishing types, but not for any backdoor attempts to get noticed (which is good, because it wouldn’t work). But in my hour of need, when I tweeted for the assistance of my loverly (sp. intended) followers, for any indie publishing houses that might be looking for new authors, it was Inspired Quill who answered. Unlike most indie’s at the minute, they were open for submissions.
Why the hell not, thought I. So I did.
With only the first two chapters of Greaveburn (IQ’s sub policy) to make it stand out, I’ll admit I was worried. We all hope that the vital intro is awesome, and Greaveburn has just had a major overhaul, but would it be enough?
Enough, at least, to warrant my first EVER callback. IQ liked the intro and wanted to read THE WHOLE THING!
Queue me dancing around the room making WHOOP WHOOP noises like a lunatic. Then the sobering thought…this would be the first time that anyone other than Laura (my very encouraging partner and earnest critic) had read the novel. Holy Schmoly! All my little characters were going to get the treeatment in the confines of a stranger’s head for the first time. How would they hold up? Professor Loosestrife could hold his own. In fact, I pity the poor reader who lets him loose in their cranium. But Abrasia, Darrant and Steadfast? Could they take it?
But, like all good cliffhangers, I’ll have to leave you dangling. It’s only been a few days since I sent the full manuscript and I’m not expecting a reply for quite some time yet. I imagine vetting a novel to be a much harder and time consuming process than we authors would like to think. But I have patience…oh yes…lots…Ok, not that much.
This minor step forward has also spurred me out of a little writer’s rut I’d got into. I’m back in the saddle after an extended absence and writing the Alan Shaw Adventures again. While on the night shift, I’ve finished the third adventure (the novel being a series of adventures spanning the eponymous character’s life) and really starting to enjoy it again. Let’s hope this spurt continues!
And so, now that I’ve kept you for far too long, I’ll leave you be. As soon as I hear something, so will you. In fact, you’ll probably the hear the sobs or cheers from wherever you are in the world. Keep your ears peeled. It comes on the wind!
As always, thanks for reading.
you! Here’s the blurb:
This post-apocalyptic tale, set across earth’s freshly devastated landscape, follows the intertwined paths of a half-angel, tormented by the necessity of completing tasks he has no choice but to follow, and the book’s heroine, Kali, who must trust her greatest enemy in order to survive.What people say about it:“Wow, I actually thought I was out of breath. Very well done…an excellent read”
“Wormwood is a must read! D.H. Nevins has createdsomething special, a fascinating read by a fantastic new writer.”
D.H. – Thanks so much for inviting me, Craig! I’ve always enjoyed writing (I remember lying on my stomach under my picnic table when I was 8 years old writing a terrible little adventure about ‘Kelly the Dolphin’) and I’ve been a daydreamer with an overactive imagination for as long as I can remember. But obviously, I’m also a little slow at connecting the dots because it took me quite a long time to finally combine those elements and write my first novel. Then one day, it just kind of happened. A few years ago, I simply sat down and started writing notes about angels and the end of the world. The notes quickly became lengthier and more detailed—and before I knew it, I had plotted out my first novel. Once I had fully formed ideas and characters, the words for the book simply flowed—I wouldn’t have been able to contain them even if I wanted to.
Me – Kelly the Dolphin sounds like it has some potential as your next project I really enjoyed reading the first five chapters of your novel, Wormwood, on your blog. It really throws the reader in at the deep end with a great introductory scene. Did you do a lot of research for the apocalyptic theme? You certainly have some fantastic imagery.
Me – You nailed it! So, what are your plans for Wormwood now? Did you find the decision between traditional and e-publishing difficult?
Me – I had the same dilemma, and I think many indie authors out there can relate too. So what’s next for D.H. Nevins, the writer?
D.H. – I’m currently plotting out lots of ideas for a sequel to Wormwood. The problem is that I have so many ideas, I keep changing my mind! Also, my characters have become so real to me, I almost feel pressured to continue telling their stories. Kali, for example, really exploded as a kick-ass character, and I’m anxious to continue on with her. Additionally, Wormwoodoriginally had a prologue where we see Tiamat’s unusual birth. I ended up loving that scene so much, I completely cut the prologue from the book and set it aside. This is now the bones of a prequel to Wormwood, which will follow a young Tiamat through a very trying and bizarre childhood. I’m thinking of calling it Monster. But this project is kind of simmering on a backburner, because the sequel has to come first.
Me – Sounds like we could be hearing about the Wormwood Trilogy soon enough! If you could resurrect any author for your End of Days celebration, who would you dig up?
D.H. – I’d dig up both William Shakespeare andDr. Seuss. Then, I would start an argument between the two of them… you know, just for fun. They would probably have the coolest soundingargument ever!
D.H. – My pleasure, Craig. It’s been an honour.
Wormwood is now available from the following places:
AmazonYou can contact D.H. Nevins all over the web here:
Website: http://www.dhnevins.comTwitter: http://twitter.com/dhnevins
September 23, 2011 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: Angels, armageddon, author interview, author spotlight, black wraith publishing, D.H. Nevins, fantasy, indie author, Post-Apocalypse, self publication, speculative fiction, Wormwood | 2 Comments »
Just dropping in really quick to let you know about a new 5* review for Not Before Bed which hit Goodreads recently. It’s by the very nice D.H. Nevins, also a writer who had this to say about my short story collection:
I loved the twisted little stories of Mr. Hallam’s imaginings. Whether the tale is deliciously creepy or falls into the realm of the downright weird, each one will leave you turning page after page into the wee hours of the morning. And above all else, Not Before Bed is FREE! What more could a reader ask for?
Indeed, what more can you ask for? Thanks D.H.!
And coming real soon in September, myself and D.H. will be swapping blog interviews. So stay tuned for that!
Thanks for reading.
Here we are! It’s taken a little longer than anticipated since I didn’t realise that I’d forgotten how to use Photoshop, but it’s finally here.
Firstly, thanks again to Shea, Lizzie and Aggy for their excellent ideas. They certainly had me entertained and stretching my drawing muscles; something I haven’t done for far too long. For those of you just dropping in, you can find the competition post HERE.
While they’re off reading the other post, here’s a teaser to set you off. The line art:
…now you’re all caught up…
As you can see, I decided to do the three suggestions all in one as a movie-esque poster. I think it’s worked pretty well. The next competition should probably be for someone to write a synopsis for this movie, linking all the odd elements into one narrative. With Cthulhu, Zombies, a Mongolian Death Worm AND an immortal Templar Knight, I think it’s a sure-fire blockbuster! Answers on a postcard, kiddies!
But anyway, here’s the final piece. Drum roll, please!
Shea, Lizzie and Aggy, I hope you like it! Thanks for all your help and support throughout
Thanks for reading.
August 5, 2011 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: artwork, astronaut, competition, cthulhu, fantasy, immortal, line art, Lovecraft, photoshop, speculative fiction, templar knight, zombies | 6 Comments »
I got asked this over Twitter the other day, and until then I’d assumed everyone knew. Then again, it’s a term that I’ve only recently started using myself. As far as I’m concerned, it’s everything good and dear in the world of fiction. Sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and all their little genrelings like Steampunk, gothic, dystopian etc.
But it’s more than a genre classification to me. Spec-fic is freedom.
I don’t talk about my writing on a day to day basis. Friends and family know I write, many of them have read something I’ve written. But until they hear the high-pitched squealing that comes with an acceptance, they never hear of it again. My girlfriend is a sod for dropping me in it with perfect strangers.
Stranger: “So what do you do, Craig?”
Me: “I’m a Nurse” (although I usually change this for professional polo player or dumpster technician so people don’t show me their uncomfortable rashes)
Laura: “He writes too, you know! Tell them about your writing!”
I’d rather see the rash. Anyway, this leads to me muttering something and Laura swiftly taking over to express that I’m the next Coetzee/Gaiman/Tolkein. And just as I’m starting to edge away in search of another beer, the fateful question arrives:
“What is it that you write?”
Words, is the snide answer. Heiroglyphics is good in certain crowds. But eventually, I have to say the words Sci-fi, Fantasy or Horror. At which point the stranger looks at me like I’m the one with the rash. But Spec-Fic gets me out of this. Because it sounds brilliant. Because it sounds complicated. And there’s one thing strangers hate, it’s showing that they don’t know something. So I drop Speculative Fiction into the conversation, explain that it involves any form of fiction which uses speculative elements as metaphors to mirror and discuss current moral, social and religious philosophies in a metaphorical way.
Then Laura gives me the stink-eye because she knows what I’m doing, and the stranger’s glazed look frees me to go find the fridge.
Although this is my selfish point of view, I think you get where I’m going. Spec-Fic genres are frownded towards, scoffed at and generally shit on by anyone who thinks they know something about literature. It’s a horrible fact, but it’s true. The same people who quote Crime and Punishment as their favourite book, or continuously lift the likes of Middlemarch into the top books of all time. Pompous idiots, basically. But Spec-Fic takes back a little ground. It reminds people that there is more to fiction, that often the extremities of the imagination are what makes a book most potent. Look at Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Yes, it’s about a guy who hunts androids and owns the eponymous sheep. But it’s much more about maintaining a sense of reality and self in a world which is putting more emphasis on the manufactured and the generic. Go further, and it’s about social stratification by means of material possessions. The first you see in every celeb mag and newspaper in print. The latter you’ve seen friends, family and even yourself suffer from. So, when you put it that way, are the androids really such an important part of the book’s identity?
My fingers, they run away with me! (what a horrific image)
What this post is about (if there’s a meaning at all) is that Spec-Fic makes writing our favourite genres ok. It’s like coming out of the proverbial closet. It makes it alright to talk about it in public. You’re a writer. Your main character is a mutant elf from another dimension. But the story is about stupidity of xenophobia and the right have to interracial relationships, and that’s the important part. Just like another other ‘proper’ writer.
And so we return to our original question like a politician that has rambled on for an hour without saying anything of worth so that everyone falls asleep and misses the final statement:
What is Spec-Fic? It’s a bloody blessing.
Thanks for reading.
July 22, 2011 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: coetzee, Do andoroids dream of electric sheep, fantasy, freedom, gaiman, horror, indie author, Philip K Dick, rant, Sci-fi, speculative fiction, tolkein | 14 Comments »
Since hitting the internet hard with the unwanted presence like a stinking corpse on the windshield, I’ve come across hundreds and hundreds of ‘YA authors’. Twitter is especially packed with them:
‘Jenny Bloggs – I love my cats, my crochet class and I’m a YA author’
‘Jeremy Snaggleforth the Third – YA author and nuclear physicist.’
They’re everywhere. What baffled me at first, is what YA is all about. It’s all about demographic: Young Adult. These writers aim their work at readers between the ages of 14 to 18 (with differing reports swinging a couple of years in either direction). There’s always been this niche in the market. Philip Pullman and Terry Pratchett are a couple who spring to mind as potential jet-setters. And then, of course, came J.K. Rowling with the Harry Potter novels (mentioning that should generate a few hits mwahahaha). And the YA ‘genre’ exploded. It seems to me that anyone who’s anyone trying to be an author is tuning into the YA bandwidth and cranking the volume.
Now, in case I’m about to sound like a grouch, I want to state that I love it when a new sub-genre comes along, if only because of the nifty names people come up with. I have a weakness for Steampunk, as previous readers may already know. Then there’s Splatterpunk, Bizarro, Supernatural Romance (Bloody Twilight!) and even Cybergoth which I only found out about while researchign this post. The word Cybergoth conjures quite the nightmare image doesn’t it? Terminator meets Gormenghast? What a combo! Anyways, there are hundreds of little subgenres floating around in the briny sea of fiction like plankton.
What bothers me is that YA isn’t a genre, or a subgenre. Despite stating its demographic (useful if you’re submitting to Literary Agents), it’s astoundingly vague. So far, I’ve come across ‘YA authors’ that write sci-fi, romance, fantasy, and a host of other major genres. It’d be impossible to have a YA section in a bookshop. Maybe an entire YA Waterstones would be better. So what’s the point? Well, it’s this: Is YA a bandwagon? Does its vagueness make the term itself defunct? Like saying ‘milk’ out loud a hundred times, does it simply become a sound with no meaning? Apart from generating hits on Twitter, does the term ‘YA’ serve any function at all?
And, since we’re pondering the purpose of things. What’s the point of this post?
I’ll tell you, because I can see you’re fused to your seat in anticipation….
It’s a friendly warning. Coming from a fellow ‘writer’ such as myself, I certainly hope no one is assuming that writing for this age group is easier than any other. It’s harder! Young adults are sharp, insiteful and have the attention span of a goldfish with a traumatic brain injury. For aspiring authors, restricting yourself to a demographic could be a dangerous approach. Think of it this way: No author calls themselves a ‘fantasy’ author or a ‘horror’ author. Those tags are applied by other people. People who own shelves and catalogues. Just write your story. Enjoy writing it. And, if you please, pitch it to the YA audience. But don’t label yourself. Others will be quick enough to do that for you.
Thanks for reading.
June 23, 2011 | Categories: indie author, literary agent, steampunk, YA | Tags: Bizarro, fantasy, horror, indie author, Philip Pullman, self publishing, Splatterpunk, Steampunk, Terry Pratchett, Twitter, Waterstones, YA, Young Adult | 4 Comments »
On a recent trip to Edinburgh, I was reminded of the architecture and imagery that first inspired the feel of my (hopefully) debut novel, Greaveburn. The buildings, cramped streets and cobbled roads made such an impression that I couldn’t resist using that gothic feel in my book.
Now, after the book is finished and winging its way to pester literary agents all over the UK, revisiting Edinburg was like walking round a little part of Greaveburn in my head. Here are some of the most striking Edingburgh images I could find that might give you some idea of what I’m bashing on about. Hover over the pics to see what these real buildings would be in Greaveburn!
Of course, other architectural anomalies only exist in my head. The twin domes of St Agatha’s Cathedral, the Acropolis, the Pinnacle and its arching sky bridge; and of course, the crumbling Belfry, a colossal sight in the Greaveburn skyline.
I guess for now, those images will have to stay in my head. Maybe, one day, you’ll see them too.
Thanks for reading.