- I am walking around again and mostly not using a cane! The moral of the story: never mop.
“The world Slatter has created feels perfectly poised on the cusp of reality, in the same way that Gormenghast, or the twin countries of Guilder and Florin, might just, might almost, just perhaps, have been real–if you squint at them sideways and imagine that somehow the relevant chapters in the history books got themselves skipped in high school…
…there may be undertakers who talk to ghosts, and pirates, and sorcerers, and badgers that change into people and back again, but the emotion, the people, the relationships, the families, and most of all, the loves and the hates, the revenges, the primal centres of these stories: all of this is profoundly real.”
It’s a very true review with some good thoughts about fantasy and the experience of reading in general, but he also refers to “numerous elegant, humane little illustrations”, which for me was one of those epiphanies: “That! That is what I want to do. Oh wait, he was talking about me!”
- Alas, Jedediah Berry’s beautiful Untine, a story told by Twitter poll, is completed (with some post-it-note drawings by me)
And this will be coming out later this year from Tiny Owl Workshop: Angela Slatter‘s Flight, with illustrations by me!
More details as they emerge.
Prompted by a question on Facebook, this is a list of short stories which have lingered, i.e. which occur to me off the top of my head. They aren’t value judgements, in fact I am certain there are stories that don’t occur to me because they fit so perfectly into the whole of their collection or anthology. But they’ve stuck, and that probably says more about me than them.
- Kelly Link’s “Magic for Beginners” (in the book of the same title, but also online here) because it was wonderfully strange and folded and caught something true and should have been real.
- Dirk Flinthart’s “The Ballad of Farther-on-Jones” (in Striking Fire), because it was lyrical and hopeful and contained all it needed to.
- Shaun Tan’s “No Other Country” (in Tales from Outer Suburbia), because it, like the whole book, is achingly gorgeous. The serious undertones of some of its neighbouring stories enhance the jewel-like quality of this one and its art.
- Karen Joy Fowler’s “The Dark” (in What I Didn’t See – the paperback has a really nice cover;), because it keeps inserting itself into my memory of other collections, and because terrible things happen but people do good things too.
- M R James’ “The Diary of Mr Poynter” because of one particular moment of the mundane becoming unsettled. Almost all his ghost stories do this but this one was particularly low-key. And I like the design element in the plot.
- Dorothy Sayers’ “The Haunted Policeman” (in Striding Folly, but I read it first in the Folio Society’s Crime Stories from the Strand) because it is a miniature painting, and a lovely little puzzle. It was also my first introduction to Peter and Harriet.
- Henry Lawson’s “The Loaded Dog” (warning for some animal deaths) and/or “We Called Him “Allie” for Short, because of Lawson’s laid-back, tongue-in-cheek tone and, in the case of “The Loaded Dog”, the rolling, rollicking, dangerous inevitability of the plot.
- Angela Slatter’s “The Badger Bride” (in The Bitterwood Bible – and by the way, the limited edition hardbacks of this are nearly sold out) because it is a small, perfectly formed legend curled into an angle of the interlocked stories of the collection.
- E Nesbit’s “Melisande, or: Long and Short Division“, because of the knock-on effect of the plot, and the charm, and there being no real villain as such except for consequences (not unusual in E Nesbit’s stories), and because the silliness is played out soberly. Also maths.
Flight, the illustrated story I am working on with Angela Slatter (words by her, pictures by me) is scheduled to be published by Tiny Owl Workshop in February 2016.
Here are some more glimpses of the art on postcards and coasters Sue of Tiny Owl has put together for us to take to World Fantasy.
Working on Flight! In so many senses. It’s drawing very near…
Angela Slatter and I have signed with an agent: Alex Adsett Publishing Services! Alex will represent us as a writing/illustrating team, which is hugely exciting. I feel almost like an adult.
Here is a glimpse of one of the projects we have been working on:
And here is my illustrator photo. The fox at top left is one of my favourite foxes so far. The mug behind the ink bottle is the Mozi peacock mug my younger sister gave me years ago and it definitely has tea in it! Not paint water.
A little gif of the development of a detail of Flight, the book I am illustrating for Angela Slatter, from Tiny Owl Workshop.