I find myself in the company of Nightjars. As I blogged previously, a new story of mine is being published as a single-story edition by Nightjar Press. It will be launched on 27th June as part of the Didsbury Literature Festival. See ‘News and Publications’ and my earlier blogs on ‘Nightjar’.
Nina Allan, who wrote my cover blurb said of it: ‘A chilly tale of urban alienation. Insidious, creepy and distinctly weird’. The editor, Nicholas Royle, has an eye for the uncanny. I chuckled at ‘urban’. I live in Cumbria, as far from urban as I am likely to get. I was pleased that I could write something authentically urban, having been rusticating for 18 years. I have lived in large towns, in terraced streets, in London and amongst the heartless sprawl of ‘new town’ identikit houses. Now I am buried in the rural where we balance our laptops on milk churns and ponder the universe under a dark sky of a night. One of the issues that writers out in the sticks face is to be far away from where ‘it happens’. We can’t leap on a train and be in London or Manchester within the hour. It takes the best part of an hour to get to a station, let alone London. We have to make ‘it’ happen locally and make the effort to seek out publishing opportunities in the big wide world. There is some expectation that the work of regional writers should be of the ‘terroir’ like local cheese. That would limit the scope for ‘urban’ amongst rural writers. My own stories have been set in places as diverse as a space capsule, the Middle East, a swimming pool and a toilet roll factory in Thatcherite Britain – oh and on a new town housing estate. I have never actually written a story set in Cumbria.
There is a Cumbrian link in the Nightjar series. Touch Me With Your Cold, Hard Fingers is the fourth story with a Cumbria-based author; previously featured are Tom Fletcher with two Chapbooks: Field and The Safe Children and Christopher Burns with Lexicon. There is a further Cumbrian connection – the designer, John Oakey is based in Penrith – see www.johnoakeydesign.co.uk. The printing, too, is a Cumbrian operation by H&H Reeds of Penrith.
I must add that the cover illustration is the work of the talented photographer Kate Vanhinsbergh. http://www.katevanhinsbergh.blogspot.com/
Nightjar Press is based in Manchester, the creation of Nicholas Royle. It publishes original stories as limited-edition chapbooks signed by the author. You can find out more about it on: http://nightjarpress.weebly.com/about.html – and also buy the books!
See a review of ‘Touch Me with Your Cold, Hard Fingers’ on Kathleen Jones’ ‘What Am I Reading’ BlogSpot – http://kathleenjonesdiary.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/touch-me-with-your-cold-hard-fingers.html?spref=fb and on Eclectic Electric: http://authorselectricreviews.blogspot.it/