Author and Scriptwriter

'Among the most important writers of contemporary British horror.' -Ramsey Campbell

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Ready To Turn Back At The Highway's End

Yesterday, I finished the first draft of Devil's Highway.

It's finished, of course, and nowhere near finished. As with last year's crime novel, most of it was dictated onto a digital voice recorder, and still needs typing up. That process becomes something of a rewrite in itself, but also the moment where the book finally starts to assume concrete form, words on an (electronic) page. There'll still be a lot of hard graft to do even then, but a lot of the time I actually gain some confidence in the work, as the succession of rambling monologues I recorded actually start to gain some clarity and order.

I'll be dotting comments throughout the MS - details to fix, foreshadowings and callbacks, all the fine tuning - and the typed draft will probably be overlong and need paring down, but once you've got that to work with...

Well, I won't say it gets easier as such. 'Differently hard', maybe. A lot of the time it becomes about the individual stories of the characters, fine-tuning the steps of their journey from where they were at the beginning of the book to where they are at the end of it. But from now on it's about working with something that's been made, rather than actually making it.

And that's where the fun begins.

So having reaching the end of the Devil's Highway, it's time to turn round and head back to the start.

Here's that cover again. Because it just looks so bloody good.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Cover Reveal: Devil's Highway

Just received the cover work for the second Black Road novel from Emma Barnes at Snowbooks, who asked for my reaction. It was a few minutes before I could manage anything more coherent than OH HELL YES.

As you can see, it's awesome. Observant readers will notice that the title here is Devil's Highway rather than The Devil's Highway. I've been umming and ahhing about which one I prefer - initially, I liked the sound of it better with a The, but it does have a terser ring without it, and all the other Black Road novels will have two-word titles, so I'm leaning towards Devil's Highway now.

Anyway, those details will be hammered out shortly. In the meantime... that cover.

All being well, Devil's Highway (or The Devil's Highway) will be out in hardback come October.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Things of the Week 26th March 2016

Nothing to do with the post, it just looked pretty.
 So, this week's things...

Not the most eventful of weeks, I guess. Things are ticking along. One less week to go until I become a married man. The venue, the honeymoon, the rings are all paid for. Just need a new set of clothes for the ceremony and we're done.

The crime novel is ready to go. The next stage is hammering out the details of the pitch and which publishers it's going to, which is more Tom's department than mine. Although when he asked if I had any good quotes about my work, I found I was able to oblige him. Along with other reviews and a host of generous quotes from fellow writers, there's Damien Walter's namecheck in the Guardian and the Telegraph review of Tide Of Souls. That's nearly seven years old now - but still one to be proud of!

It's Easter Weekend, and the clocks go forward tonight. Which is great when you have to be up early tomorrow... to go to MANCHESTER FOR EASTERCON!

Yup, we got day memberships for Sunday and are going down to Manchester with our friend Priya Sharma. Always good to have an excuse to revisit my home town, of course. This will be our first Eastercon so we're looking forward to it.

First draft of The Devil's Highway is edging closer to completion. Most of the way through Chapter 27 (or 3.7 as I call it - the book's in three parts, each with ten chapters) so after this, there are three more chapters and an epilogue to go. After that, we're done.

Well, apart from typing the draft up.

And the second draft.

And the third draft.

And the...

Okay, so actually, we're not really anywhere near done here. Come to think of it, what's all this 'we' shit? Last I checked, I was doing this on my own. Unless the voices in my head count.

But anyway. We're close to one of the major milestones. What comes next is the process of refining, honing and improving until it the book's the best it's capable of being. And when that's done, half of the story of The Black Road will have been told.

Meanwhile, here's a band I discovered a few years ago, Editors. I heard some of the stuff from their first album and liked it, but the more recent songs are better still. This one's been in my head a lot, and I love the video too - it's by Ben Wheatley. I haven't seen his first film, DOWN TERRACE, yet, much less his new movie HIGH RISE, but KILL LIST, SIGHTSEERS and A FIELD IN ENGLAND all marked him out (for me anyway) as one of the UK's most exciting directors.

So anyway, here's 'Formaldehyde.' You're welcome.



Monday, 21 March 2016

The Lowdown with... Gareth L. Powell

Gareth L Powell is an award-winning author from the UK. He is the author of the novels Silversands, The Recollection, Ack-Ack Macaque, Hive Monkey and Macaque Attack. In 2013, his alternate history thriller, Ack-Ack Macaque won the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) Award for Best Novel. The book has since been published in Japan (as Gunmetal Ghost), and has inspired a comic strip, fan art, graffiti murals, and at least one tattoo. Gareth’s short stories have appeared in a host of magazines and anthologies, including Interzone, Solaris Rising 3, and The Year’s Best Science Fiction. One of these stories came top of the 2007 Interzone readers’ poll for best short story of the year. Since then, many of his shorter works have been brought together in the collections, The Last Reef (2008) and The New Ships (coming 2017).

1. Tell us three things about yourself. 

i) When I was a teenager, I had coffee with Diana Wynne Jones. I won a competition at school. She read a short story I had written and sat down with me to give me some feedback. She was merciless but inspiring, and I still have the handwritten notes she gave me.
ii) My writing desk faces west.
iii) I once kayaked the covered rivers that run beneath the centre of Bristol.

2. What was the first thing you had published? 
When I was at school, I had some poems and flash fiction stories published in various fanzines (this was in the days before the Internet). Later, when I started writing seriously, I had a few short stories published in a Welsh literature magazine, and then some science fiction stories published on websites. Eventually, Interzone picked one up and the rest, as they say, is history.

3. Which piece of writing are you proudest of?
That's like asking which of my children is my favourite. I suppose the novel Ack-Ack Macaque is the one that most people associate with me. It's certainly the bestselling of my books, and it won the 2013 BSFA Award, so I guess I'd have to pick it. That said, I'll always be fond of The Recollection, as it's the book I'd been wanting to write since I was about twelve, and I threw all sorts of personal stuff into it, as well as talking spaceships, weird alien worlds, and apocalyptic space battles.

4. …and which makes you cringe? 
I published a short chapbook of poetry while at university in 1992. Looking back now, it's definitely cringe-worthy.

5. What’s a normal writing day like? 
Usually I rise at 6:30am. I see my wife off to work, get the kids ready for school, and then write until they return at 3:15pm. I have an office in the back of the house, with a view of the garden, and I sit at the desk and drink decaffeinated tea while trying to put thoughts into words. Sometimes, if things are going particularly well, I'll carry on writing in the evening, after the kids have gone to bed. But now they're getting older, they're going to bed much later, so I don't get so much peace and quiet in the evenings.

6. Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first? 
If you like space opera, pick up The Recollection (Solaris Books, 2011); if you prefer something a little more earthbound, try Ack-Ack Macaque - it's a near-future thriller set in a world ever so slightly different from ours.

7. What are you working on now? 
At the time of answering, I am currently working on four novels. I've just submitted one to my agent, so I'm gathering notes towards a potential sequel. At the same time, I'm writing a thriller, another space opera, and something else which I can't talk about. Suffice to say, there's lots going on behind the scenes.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Things of the Week 18th March 2016

Well, the past week or so has seen plenty of developments.

Today, some great news for someone other than me: Snowbooks have announced they're reissuing Cate's novella The Bureau Of Them (which I've always said is a brilliant story) along with Mark Morris' Albion Fay, Ray Cluley's Within The Wind, Beneath The Snow, John Llewellyn Probert's The Nine Deaths Of Dr Valentine (to be followed by the sequel, The Hammer Of Dr Valentine) and Gary Fry's Scourge. All good books, and it's great to see them getting another chance (except for Gary Fry's, which is brand new!)

In other news: time ticks away towards the Big Day of the Bestwick-Gardner nuptials. We've sorted the venues for wedding and reception, sent out the invites, even managed to arrange a honeymoon after all! This week, we chose our wedding rings. It's feeling realer all the time as it gets closer. It'll be weird to have a ring; I've never worn one before...

Finally - developments with the crime novel! Tom sent back the MS at the beginning of this week, with more or less the last round of edits and notes. This is pretty much the final draft; in the next few days I'll get his final edit to go through, and then - well, hopefully, the first potential publishers will get to see it in the next week or two.

That's scary, as well, in a way. Up till now it's been 'yay! I have an agent!' and 'yay! I'm preparing my novel to send out to publishers!' Both of these make you feel as though you're getting somewhere - and let's be frank, you are - but without the risk of actually submitting the book and finding out that actually, no, nobody wants it.

Yep. Meet imposter syndrome. An old friend of mine. Well, not exactly friend. More like one of those people you started hanging out with in the '90s and still find yourself in the company of today, even though you have nothing in common any more and all they do is sit around smoking weed.

We all know someone like that, right?

Oh.

Well, anyway. The novel is ready to wing its way out into the wider world (well, a slightly wider world than before) and so the question of 'what's next?' arises. 

Black Mountain is with Tom, so hopefully he'll have some thoughts on that soon. Meanwhile, I'm nearly two-thirds of the way through The Devil's Highway (productivity slightly slowed by those final rewrites.) What comes after that will depend on a host of variables: I have a number of projects to crack along with, things to finish or to start. 

In the meantime, though, I'm going to chill a little this weekend... in between writing more of The Devil's Highway, that is. Anyone interested in being a beta reader, let me know...

 

Sunday, 13 March 2016

The Lowdown with... A.K. Benedict



A K Benedict read English at Cambridge and Creative Writing at the University of Sussex. She writes crime and speculative fiction in a room filled with mannequins, clowns and teapots. Once an indie-rock singer and composer, with music played on Channel Four, Sky, XFM, Radio 1, Radio 3 and in films, she made the transition to full-time writer in 2012.



The Beauty of Murder (Orion), her debut novel, was shortlisted for an eDunnit award and is in development for an 8-part TV series. Her poems and short stories have featured in anthologies including the recent Scaremongrel and Best British Short Stories. Her second novel, Jonathan Dark or The Evidence of Ghosts (Orion), is out now.


1. Tell us three things about yourself.

a) I collect bottles of strange perfumes by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab such as ‘Graveyard Dirt’, ‘Drunk Uncle’ and ‘Zombie Apocalypse’. They are kept in a cabinet of curiosities made out of a coffin.
b) I do a bit of acting on the side, most recently in a touring play where I had to simulate projectile vomiting. It was fun, if messy.
c) I live in the strange and marvellous Hastings and St Leonards with my dog, Dame Margaret Rutherford. 

2. What was the first thing you had published?
My school magazine published one of my poems when I was seven. It was called ‘The Deserted House’, a gothic verse about the sadness of an unlived-in, unloved-in house being eaten up by the sea. I’m not sure I’ve moved on that much.

3. Which piece of writing are you proudest of?
‘The Last Library’ a short story that first appeared in the online magazine Paraxis and then in The Best British Short Stories.

4.  . . . and which makes you cringe?
An unpublished novel called The Madness and Minutiae of an Undercover God. It was the novel where I learned what not to do and is a precocious pile of a book. I keep it in a drawer and look in occasionally to see if it has improved. It hasn’t.  

5. What’s a normal writing day like?
A good writing day involves three writing stints of productive words, interspersed with reading, research and nourishment of some kind. A not-so-good writing day involves staring at the emptiness of the page/the screen/eternity and wondering if I’ll ever write anything of use again. I have more good days than not-so-good. Usually.

6. Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first?
Either ‘The Last Library’ or The Beauty of Murder.

7. What are you working on now?
Today I am checking the final proofs of my next novel, Jonathan Dark or The Evidence of Ghosts, [NB We received Alexandra's Lowdown in December - there's a backlog! - so Jonathan Dark is available to buy now!] working on a few fun, secret projects and writing the sequel to The Beauty of Murder, tentatively titled The Cabinet of Shadows.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Things of Last Night: The Hell's Ditch Launch

So the paperback launch of Hell's Ditch went off last night at Waterstones Liverpool One, with Ramsey Campbell and Conrad Williams also reading in an effort to make me look good!

I was glad to see a few friends in the audience, including a few I hadn't met in a while, but even better there were a whole bunch of people I hadn't seen before. Always nice when some complete strangers show up!

Conrad read a passage from his latest, Dust And Desire, the first of a series of crime novels featuring his PI Joel Sorrell. I read it when it was first published as Blonde On A Stick; Conrad did a signing for at that very Waterstones store back in 2010, which was where I met a certain Cate Gardner for the very first time...! Anyway, Dust And Desire is out now and well worth your time: it's a very bleak, blackly funny crime novel, strongly influenced by the 'Factory' novels of Derek Raymond.


Ramsey's reading was from his latest novel too, Thirteen Days By Sunset Beach, in which an elderly couple's holiday on a Greek island with their children and grandchildren acquires subtle shades of menace that may be related to ancient legends. It's a powerful and often poignant tale, and - as usual with Ramsey - necessary reading for anyone who appreciates great supernatural fiction.

We had a great turnout - a lively audience who provided a fun Q&A session following the readings - and as the photographic evidence shows, a good number of books were sold. Our friends Priya Sharma and her partner Mark also came along, and joined us for a massive Chinese meal following the event. I somehow managed to get out of the restaurant without having to be pushed in a wheelbarrow...

Big thanks are due to Conrad and Ramsey for their support, to Glyn Morgan and the rest of the Waterstones team for hosting us, and to everyone who came for showing up! And of course, to Cate, not least for the photographs.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Things of the Week 11th March 2016 feat. Hell's Ditch Event at Waterstones Liverpool One

Well, another week, another blogpost.
First and biggest thing of the week, of course, is tonight's event at Waterstones Liverpool One, for which tickets are still available (hard to believe, I know.) I'll by aided and abetted by Conrad Williams and the legendary Ramsey Campbell, who'll both be reading from their latest works.

I've had book launches before, but this is my first in a proper bookshop where I'm 'headlining' - especially with the likes of Ramsey and Conrad on hand. So, maybe just slightly nervous. I'll cope somehow, I'm sure.

We're continuing our Babylon-5 rewatch, and thankfully the quality's improving. I'm not sure if Cate will ever fall in love with it - space-based stuff tends to be a hard sell with her - but I think she's starting to like it a bit more. No two ways about it, sadly - with no disrespect to the late Michael O'Hare - things started getting markedly better once Bruce Boxleitner took over as station commander. There's a lot less padding in series two, and the Shadows are finally moving to centre stage. The CGI, dazzling in 1994, still looks dated and weak now, but special effects are always the first thing to date.

I'm making good headway with the first draft of The Devil's Highway, hitting the halfway point yesterday. Still a long way to go on typing the bloody thing up, though.

Tachyon Press have revealed the cover for Ellen Datlow's Nightmares anthology, due out in
November. As you can see, it features some great artwork by Nihil. Here's that TOC in full:

  • Shallaballah by Mark Samuels
  • Sob in the Silence by Gene Wolfe
  • Our Turn Too Will One Day Come by Brian Hodge
  • Dead Sea Fruit by Kaaron Warren
  • Closet Dreams by Lisa Tuttle
  • Spectral Evidence by Gemma Files
  • Hushabye by Simon Bestwick
  • Very Low-Flying Aircraft by Nicholas Royle
  • The Goosle by Margo Lanagan
  • The Clay Party by Steve Duffy
  • Strappado by Laird Barron
  • Lonegan’s Luck by Stephen Graham Jones
  • Mr Pigsny by Reggie Oliver
  • At Night, When the Demons Come by Ray Cluley
  • Was She Wicked? Was She Good? by M. Rickert
  • The Shallows by John Langan
  • Little Pig by Anna Taborska
  • Omphalos by Livia Llewellyn
  • How We Escaped Our Certain Fate by Dan Chaon
  • That Tiny Flutter of the Heart I Used to Call Love by Robert Shearman
  • Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8) by CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan
  • Shay Corsham Worsted by Garth Nix
  • The Atlas of Hell by Nathan Ballingrud
  • Ambitious Boys Like You by Richard Kadrey
That is a stonking lineup, and I'm blown away to be included.

Right. Off to practice tonight's reading...

Monday, 7 March 2016

The Lowdown with... Simon Maginn



Simon Maginn (born 1961 in Wallasey, Merseyside) is a British writer who has published five novels under his own name: Sheep (Corgi 1994), Virgins and Martyrs (Corgi, 1995), A Sickness of the Soul (Corgi 1995), Methods of Confinement (Black Swan 1996, nominated for BFS Novel of the Year) and Rattus (Pendragon Press 2010, novella) which was published alongside a novella by Gary Fry entitled The Invisible Architect of Psychopathy. A film version of Sheep has been released as The Dark (2005), starring Sean Bean. The novels are horror/psychological thrillers, and are mostly out of print. Sheep is available as an ebook. He also writes satirical comedies as Simon Nolan, including As Good as it Gets (Quartet Books 1999), The Vending Machine of Justice (Quartet Books 2001) and Whitehawk (Revenge Ink 2010). He lives and works in Brighton, UK.

1. Tell us three things about yourself.

• I have a watch with a compass and a thermometer.
• I can play the oboe (but I don’t).
• I talk to myself nearly all the time.

2. What was the first thing you had published?
My first publication was a letter to the Wallasey News when I was eight, about a trip to Knowsley Safari Park. I don’t think any publication since has pleased me more. It almost compensated for only being a runner-up in the Diddymen competition at Vale Park the previous year. I still think there should have been a recount, but I guess sometimes you just have to let things go. Hugh tells me he was once unjustly excluded from a ‘make a picture with vegetables’ competition because he’d used butter beans, and ‘they’re not vegetables’. Oh yeah? Not vegetables? What are they, then? Fish? Owls? The kind of argument you can find yourself rehearsing at pretty much any hour of the day or night. 

3. Which piece of writing are you proudest of?
I think probably my first novel, Sheep. It’s an obvious choice, since it’s the only thing I’ve ever done that’s had any kind of commercial success, but that’s not why I’m proud of it. I recall writing it longhand in bed at night, then typing up the pages on a manual typewriter with a sticking ‘e’ key. (NB: for younger readers, there was a time before computers, a time of paper and correcting fluid and howling darkness and pain.) I averaged about three pages an hour, type and curse and Tippex and type and curse. The finished manuscript looked like a field dressing from a particularly bad-tempered battle zone. Hugh made photocopies for me, illegally, at work. I picked random names from Artists and Writers Yearbook to send it out to, knowing precisely nothing about any of them. Transworld eh?, I thought, sounds kinda science-fictiony, and my book was horror, which is close, so what the hell. I’m proud of the attitude behind it perhaps as much as the thing itself, the sheer intensity of blind naive optimism, forcing it out into the world. I’m much more circumspect now. 

4. …and which makes you cringe?

Nothing. Not a damn thing. I stand by every ridiculous word.

5. What’s a normal writing day like?
Long, complicated answer, but I’ll know if you just skip to the next question… Until last year, I had lived my whole life with a condition called DSPS (Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder), which is a circadian rhythm problem. With DSPS you are awake until 5.00 AM or so and no good to anyone until noon. You are permanently jet lagged, as if you are in the wrong time zone. All the time. For many, the night hours are when they feel most alive, most creative, buzzing. It’s a chronic and not very treatable condition, thought to be genetic, and most people with it find it impossible to live ‘office hours’: ‘nightwalkers’ is a term often used. So I would write from, say, midnight to 5.00 AM. I came to love those long, silent, dark hours. Then twelve months ago, I changed some medication I take for something else, and, to my profound astonishment, my DSPS just melted away and I was nodding off in front of Newsnight and waking up at 6.00AM. This at age 54. It’s quite difficult to explain how fundamental this change has been. My whole life had been constructed around the DSPS. I’ve never been employed, for instance, except for short bursts in my twenties: few employers are sympathetic to a worker who is persistently late and sleepy. I was lucky, I managed to carve out a way of making a living, and I just accepted that I was operating to an entirely different schedule from everyone around me. I didn’t know about circadian rhythm disorders until a few years ago, but I knew it was something I couldn’t change. I expected to go to my grave with it. And yes, I’d probably be late for my own funeral. So the last twelve months have been something of a revelation. ‘Lunch’, for instance: the word has never had any meaning for me - ‘lunchtime’ would be the time I was waking up, bleary and irritable and nauseous. (I’m from the North West in any case: it’s dinner.) But now I get it. I now write early in the morning, which feels unnatural and strange, until ‘lunch’. I was used to the cover of darkness, the whole world asleep and softly breathing: the night watch. Now I have to share the world with all you noisy, clamorous go-getting daywalkers, and everything is too bright and glaring, and I must learn your quaint ways. Such as ‘lunch’. I’m not a regular writer at all, though. I go for months without writing a word, or wanting to. There are years between the novels. It takes me a very long time to work out a story, and for most of that time there’s no ‘writing’ going on at all. Then there’ll come a day when it’s time to start getting it all down: by that stage, I pretty much know what’s going to happen and so the writing is easy (apart from the despair and self-loathing, obviously). I wrote a novel in two months once. 

6. Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first?
It’s got to be Sheep again. It’s by some distance the gentlest of my books, and the one that people have consistently said they like the best. I was very much under the spell of Stephen King at the time (sound familiar?), and the tone and atmosphere of Sheep is borrowed wholesale from The Shining. It takes a fairly standard trope - family recovering from tragedy go to new place which turns out to be BAD - and, I hope, gives it a new spin. It’s twenty-one years old this year and I can still recall the thrill of writing it, as the words fell into place and this impossible thing, this novel, this world, started to twitch into life under my fingers. 

7. What are you working on now?
Another rather along answer, I’m afraid. Hey, no one said this was going to be easy… I wrote four horror/psy thriller novels in the 90s, then I stopped for a bit. Then I wrote three comedies. Stopped for a bit. A novella about rats. (You will observe the laser-like precision of my career planning.) Then I thought, I know, a tetralogy of novels set in Brighton, where I live, in the late 1930s - ’36, ’37, ’38 and ’39. They would be dark detective stories, with the clouds of war gathering. The first of these, ’36, was greeted with something like rapture by my agent, who emailed me excitedly late on a Friday evening to say he’d just started it and couldn’t wait till Monday to tell me how much he liked it. We got that close to a sale to Orion, and had some of the most extravagantly complimentary rejections I’ve ever encountered. One editor said it was ‘the kind of book that wins awards’, and he would ‘watch with interest’. No one would actually buy it, though. Would it be fair to say it’s dead in the water?, I asked my agent finally, and he conceded gravely that yes, that would be an accurate assessment. Belly up. So I started on the next, obviously. ’37. Agent was noticeably less enthusiastic about the sample and synopsis, and when I submitted the finished book he rejected it wholesale. We had a bit of a barny, and I went off and sulked for two months. I recall thinking, sod it, I’ll just stop. ‘The publishing industry is an arse I no longer have any interest in crawling up’, was how I put it to myself. But of course you don’t just stop, the machinery is always cranking and clanking away in the background. Just as well try to stop secreting ear wax. I’ve often found anger to be a very helpful motivating force. I wrote a novel once, purely because I was so enraged with the publishing industry - it did no business, but got the best reviews I’ve ever had. And now I was angry again. So I stripped the story out completely and reimagined it from top to bottom, much in the way a film maker might ‘open it out’ (and if you ever hear those words from a film maker, run don’t walk). I consciously gentled it, changed the outcomes for the characters, tried deliberately to recall that long gone voice from twenty years ago which had written Sheep. Sample and synopsis. I was ready for it to be rejected this time, I was in fact ready to leave my agent (he’s my fourth, you can overdo these things), but instead he said it was ‘terrific’, and so finally we get to the answer: I’m writing a dark detective story set in Brighton in 1937. Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock is a touchstone. Not just because it’s also set in Brighton in the late 1930s, but because for me it’s one of Greene’s finest works, an astonishing book, with a central character you will never forget. Greene said of it that he’d started out writing what he thought was a gangland drama, and then found that it had morphed into something much darker than that, a study in human evil and innocence. Greene’s genius is to make you feel for Pinky, the teenage psychopath who is at the centre of the story. There’s a scene, straight after the grimmest and most appalling wedding scene you’ll ever read, in which Pinky strides up to the reception desk at the fancy Metropole Hotel and demands a room: the clerk is snooty, there are no rooms. We’re made aware of Pinky’s itching resentment and hatred of everything around him, his sense of himself as a mocked and despised outsider. We’re aware of how shabby he is, how crude and primitive, but we also feel his rage and shame and defiance. My money’s as good as anyone’s! Greene knows us so well, he knows we’ve all felt outclassed and humiliated, and so he plants our tender, wounded heart into this vicious youth, and shows us ourselves. My admiration for Greene knows no bounds, really. My story has nothing obviously in common with Greene’s, but he’s there in my ear, whispering, and I’ve no doubt I’ll be borrowing some atmospherics from him. I can’t think of many better footsteps to tread in. It’s going well, so far.