A few years ago, the BBC opened their Cardiff offices to budding script writers for a day of workshops, tutorials and a Q&A with Sherlock writer Stephen Thompson. I had vague ambitions of writing a radio drama at the time, so went along to see what I could learn. And while it was certainly a useful and enjoyable day, its most lasting reward was an encounter I had over the buffet that drew the event to a close.
Incredibly, for an event populated by writers, the table full of free alcohol that accompanied the dinner had been completely overlooked. Reasoning that my licence fee had helped to pay for it, I set about reclaiming as much of my share as possible.
It was there, while hoovering up the house merlot, that I met Kieran Mathers – the only other attendee who hit upon the same plan – and, between drinks, we compared notes. He liked my radio idea (‘a bit like Lost, but set in Victorian Canada and not crap’) and I thought his pitch for a political thriller sounded great (‘a private military contractor realises it can make more money from the deaths of its soldiers than from keeping them alive’).
Neither project ever quite took off, but it hardly matters. Kieran has become a good friend and is preparing to publish his first two novels. He’s choosing different routes for each and is going to share his experiences with us in a brand new guest column, ‘Mundane Adventures’, starting this Saturday.
I was a beta reader for one of the books, The Darkness Embraces, and it’s a brilliant read – a gritty, character-driven fantasy with a unique twist. You may not have read Kieran’s work before, but he’s a writer to keep an eye on.
In even more good news, World Fantasy Award nominated author Simon Kurt Unsworth will also be contributing an ongoing column, ‘The Bellows’, charting the development of his latest novel, The Sorrowful.
If you haven’t read any of Simon’s previous work, I urge you to do so. I’m a particular fan of his portmanteau ghost story Quiet Houses (you can listen to my podcast review here) but he has short stories in numerous anthologies and magazines, so there are plenty of places to get started.
‘The Bellows’ started life at Impossible Podcasts and I’ll be re-posting the previous editions here, starting on Saturday 15th June, before starting the brand new material.
Finally, I’d like to announce that Bell, Book & Podcast is officially in the works. You can expect a monthly in-depth interview with a writer, editor or publisher. The first edition should go live in July, and I’ll be talking to a new but very exciting author who looks likely to become a fairly big name in the next few years.
I’ll bring you more news as I have it. Until then, keep ’em peeled!