Who's going to write the next Great American Novel?
Not me, no sirree. It's pointless trying to write something that has to be great with a capital 'G'. It's one of the surest routes to writer's block. But great or not, I do happen to be in the very late stages of writing a novel set in the US.
"Somewhere in Alabama, you stop to get gas. A cluster of three gas stations, all selling unleaded at exactly the same price. A Waffle House restaurant with a patched roof and just one car out front, a yellow VW bug. Nothing else but treetops and an almost black sky. No town, no signs to suggest where a town might be, not even a jokey SAN FRANCISCO 2,208 MILES, put up for no other reason than to remind a restless driver how small he is compared to the wide-open road..."
My work-in-progress novel is a darkly comic tale of suppressed desire, set across several hot weeks in the post-Hurricane Katrina American South.
Happy to See Me: a novel
And here are a few things that I wrote earlier:
You wouldn't think a novel written by 15 authors, each voicing a different narrator, could end up being a gripping, page-turning read. But this one is. Loosely inspired by William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, which has a similar structure, Keeping Mum traces the wide-ranging fallout from a London woman's sudden death at a lodge in the Scottish Highlands. My character, a socially awkward young undertaker, helps to drive the story forwards, literally, at the wheel of a white van with the dead woman's body in the back.
15 authors, one story
The Global Village (Tell Tales Volume 4)
"When we are thirty-two years of our age the landlady says we must leave the apartment because we wash clothes on Sunday one time and play our mood-like music too loud always..." My short story 'The Experiment of Life' is narrated by Swiss twins in broken English. It's about an exhibitionistic culture clash in a quiet Zurich street.
A story about odd twins
Common Ground: Around Britain in 30 Writers
With my life-writing essay 'Considering Phlebas', which looks at the years TS Eliot spent working at Lloyds Bank in the City of London (while having a breakdown, big marital troubles and working on The Waste Land). Though really it's about my own fear of office jobs and death.
If it was good enough for Eliot...
The V&A / London Design Festival exhibition which spread to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland before becoming an award-winning book. With my 62-word poem-story 'Leopard Flagon', about a decrepit gilded cat.
This cat has a secret
Goldfish 3: An Anthology of New Writing from Goldsmiths
With my short story 'Connecting the Dots', in which a solitary young man on a summer vacation with his family lusts after a beautiful older girl with an imposing boyfriend. It doesn't end well for him. Or does it?