Author Simon Kurt Unsworth has had a very difficult few months. How will his change in circumstances affect his writing?
Read Simon’s previous articles here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
This is how it happens.
At the end of November, I finally finished all the amendments to the novel, was really happy with it and sent it off to John Berlyne. ‘Don’t expect anything fast’, he told me, so I didn’t, trying to forget about what might potentially happen next, about whether he’d like it or not, about whether he might be able to sell it to publishers. It’s not easy to clear something like that from your mind, though, and every day I opened my e-mail hoping to see something back from John. In the last month of last year, to be honest, I was making myself more than a little stressed about it, until I managed to find a way of stopping worrying about the novel. So, how did I do that?
Horror writer extraordinaire, Simon Kurt Unsworth, brings us up to speed on the life of his new novel. And he’s had some very exciting news…
I shouldn’t have been so cocky.
It all felt like it was going so well; I’d sent the novel off and I was proud of what I’d accomplished in it. The final draft felt like it worked as a thriller and as a horror, I was happy with my imagery and its pace, and I liked my characters enough to have some emotional investment in them. I had two writing courses lined up to teach which I was set to be paid for, and life felt good. And then things started to, if not go wrong exactly, then at least yaw. I like the word ‘yaw’; it’s got a dizzying, oscillatory sort of feel to it, and it’s pretty much exactly how life’s felt these last months.
Following last month’s introduction, horror author Simon Kurt Unsworth returns to chart the vagaries of writing full time for a living.
So, where in Hell are we? This is a pun, of sorts, but not one that’ll mean anything to you. I may choose to explain it later. Bear with me.
Last time we talked, I introduced myself; this time, I need to introduce my novel, seeing as that’s sort of what these columns are supposed to be about. Well, I can tell you it’s been a long, long time coming. Don’t believe me? Picture it: it’s 1995, and I’m 23 and sat in a fairly grim bedsit in Leeds, near the Faversham Public House. I’m waiting for my then girlfriend, Susie, to come home from work and three things collide like damp tissue paper in my head.
|Simon at the ‘Quiet Houses’ launch
Impossible Podcasts is very proud to bring you The Bellows, a brand new monthly column by horror author Simon Kurt Unsworth. Regular listeners will know Simon from our interview at FantasyCon last year and our review of his excellent book, Quiet Houses. Now he’s back to tell you all about… well, we’ll let him explain, shall we?
I suppose the first question you’re asking is, “Who is this who is coming?” No? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. There are, of course, many ways to answer this: I’m a husband, father, child, self-employed trainer, author and wearer of cowboy boots, and each of these realities exists alongside the others and has given me experiences and a history. For your purposes, the most important stuff is this: I’m a World Fantasy Award-nominated author, and I write horror stories.
I was first published in 2007, and I’ve got two collections out: Lost Places came out from the Ash Tree Press in 2010, and Quiet Houses, published by Dark Continents, came out in 2011. Lost Places was Peter Tennant’s (reviewer for Black Static magazine) favourite collection of 2010 on days when Angela Slatter’s Sourdough wasn’t (his words, not mine), and Quiet Houses was placed on the Edge Hill Short Story Collection longlist.
“Do you live in a haunted house? Have you ever been to a place and had an experience that you cannot explain? Do you have a story to tell? Serious researcher wants to hear from you. Must be prepared to go on record. No timewasters. Tel:01524 500 501 ext 23 and leave a message.”
Simon Kurt Unsworth is one of the rising stars of horror and dark fantasy fiction, and we’ve got our hands on his new book, Quiet Houses – a reinvention of the classic English ghost story. Our reviews editor P.G. Bell gives us his verdict with the help of a genre-appropriate (and slightly ghostly) guest star. Click below to find out what they thought!
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Title: Quiet Houses
Author: Simon Kurt Unsworth
Publisher: Dark Continents Publishing
Format: Paperback (£9.99)
Published: October 2011