Incredibly, it has been a whole year since the previous edition of Is It All Black+White? (read my little report about it HERE).
This year, the festival is coming back in a more central location - and what location: St Leonard's Church in trendy Shoreditch! The list of musicians is varied and a little bird has told me that there might even be some exciting surprises!
There will also be some stalls, including Arcane Publishing and Matt ArtPix! You will find exciting new fiction, poetry, rare, vintage and second-hand books,a few antique items, some colourful original art... All carefully handpicked specially for the event.
Arcane Publishing has done a blog featuring the FULL stock that they will be taking to Shoreditch on 10th September.
So go HERE to see the fab stuff Arcane will have on sale at the Is It All Black+White? festival!
Of course, they will have copies of my two novels, I Am a Muse (conveniently set in part in Shoreditch!) and The Book of Thoth...
The Facebook page for the event is HERE.
The festival's website page is HERE.
We are just back from France and now deep into the preparations for the Is It All Black+White? festival in Shoreditch on 10th September (we will have a stall there...)
I will post a more detailed blog about the event on the Arcane Publishing website soon!
The perfect accompaniment to this huge task is the band Sneaker Pimps, one of my all-time favourites! I am working my way through my SP CDs: Becoming-X, Splinter and Bloodsport. And I was excited as Hell when Sneaker-in-chief Chris Corner (also behind the terminally brilliant IAMX) announced that he was working on SP4!
This autumn and winter look set to be a truly exciting time for us at Arcane/ArtPix towers: some superb gigs, growing sales in our unit in West Bay in Dorset, writing The Right Place, plotting our escape to a new HQ in Dorset (yes, we will be trying again this winter...) and hopefully a few more London events.
Have you enjoyed BBC One's supernatural drama The Living and The Dead as much as I have? Then you might enjoy reading my second novel, The Book of Thoth...
The Living and The Dead is a terrific take on something I have been banging on about for a while now: The Eeriness of the English countryside (my main inspiration these days) and the "Occulture" defined in the same article by academic and nature writer Robert Macfarlane. I love the story and the aesthetics of the programme, the way it uses the landscape and turns it into a living, breathing, haunting and haunted entity. And of course, there is the music... If you wander around my blog and my website, you will see that as a writer, I get as much inspiration from music as I do from my surroundings... After all, my third novel, the Dorset-based The Right Place, is inspired by a PJ Harvey song...
And the soundtrack of the programme, provided by Bristol based duo The Insects, is simply superb - the title song is a satisfactorily creepy Folk Noir version of traditional song A Lyke Wake Dirge, and they also secured the services of one Elizabeth Fraser who covers She Moved Through The Fair...
Their version of The Reaper's Ghost is fantastic too!
If you are interested, THIS INTERVIEW with The Insects about their work for the programme is really informative and detailed.
Here's the beautiful She Moved Through the Fair, featured in episode 1.
A few hours after watching the last episode of the programme, it came to me: there really are quite a few similarities between The Living and The Dead and The Book of Thoth...
MR James? Thomas Hardy? Yes, both have had a big influence on the series and of course, are a big influence on yours truly.
MR James's writing in particular (together with Wilkie Collins's) was what I had in mind when I started work on The Book of Thoth, a Gothic novel set in... a manor house in Somerset, just like The Living...
In both stories, ghosts from the past are conjured up by the house's inhabitants and their guests, all with their own personal demons and psychological struggles.
In both, the imposing dwelling becomes a prison for the protagonists but also a portal between two periods - the 21st century present and the past (in the case of my novel, Ancient Egypt, the 16th century and the 1920s).
The Book of Thoth as well has a car speeding down the driveway of the manor house with some rather fantastical consequences!
And both stories are haunted by ancient beliefs and traditions that reach beyond human comprehension and threaten people's sanity.
In an exciting development, the last scene of The Living and The Dead features a séance which looks like it is set in the 20s or 30s... In my book, a Roaring Twenties socialite turned amateur spiritualist leads an eventful séance during which she comes into contact with some unwelcome forces...
I am a very visual writer, and for both my published novels, I have every single scene etched into my brain and have a very clear idea of what each and every one character is supposed to look like.
I have been very impressed indeed with the actors in The Living and The Dead, all of whom have very unique features. I have to admit that all of them were unknown to me. Colin Morgan would make a very good Adam (but he would have to drop the beard!); the bewitching Charlotte Spencer has Maeve's perkiness and the striking Fiona O'Shaughnessy would play Lady Sophia Chronos's neurosis to perfection!
Last Saturday, we drove 12 hours to Dorset and back (August. Motorway. No comment...) in order to sort out our unit at The Customs House before our holiday. August is the busiest month in West Bay and people are very careless indeed - the unit very quickly looks messy if we do not keep on top of it. We are a small venture but we want our space to look its best at all times...
As a reward for all our hard work at the unit, we managed to spend an hour or so at Abbotsbury, the location of my third novel and work- in-very-slow-progress, The Right Place.
It really is my favourite place in the whole world. I am still genuinely heartbroken when I think about our aborted house purchase in the spring: we would have lived 20 minutes away from Abbotsbury...
The light and the atmosphere around the village and Chapel Hill are truly unique. Each time I catch a glimpse of St Catherine's chapel from the top of Abbotsbury Hill whilst driving on the B3157, I get goose bumps.
The ancestral landscape is magical - there is an eeriness to the place, an inexplicable otherworldly quality which I will try to capture in my novel.
Once again, the niches in St Catherine's chapel were empty of prayers to the saint. It has been the case on several of our visits now, when before the two small recesses were always full of messages.
On Saturday, there was a lone Post-it note stuck to the rugged wall next to one of the niches. It illustrates well the small passage below, taken from the first draft of The Right Place.
The Right Place, first draft manuscript
Even though we have had to pause our house purchase in Dorset, we hope to resume as soon as possible. We'll keep you posted!
More about events, published books and work-in-progress very soon!
All pictures on this blog by Matt ArtPix.
'sIt has been quiet on here for a while; it doesn't mean nothing is happening though!
Matt ArtPix and I are plotting the next phase for Arcane Publishing and Matt ArtPix and sorting out our budgets, nothing really fun at all!
But I can already announce that I will have a stall at the fantastic FREE festival Is It All Black and White? at St Leonard's Church, Shoreditch, London, on September 10th 2016!
I will post more details on here about the event and my stock for the day very soon!
I also hope that work on my third novel The Right Place will start again later in August...
I think therefore I write.
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