Here I am feeling right at home with a church organ to my right and an operating table to my left. While I would love to say that this is one of the more spacious rooms at Probert Towers it is in fact the Glenside Hospital Museum, which boasts a rather marvellous collection of strait-jackets, old ECT machines, and antiquated instruments for performing brain surgery. Needless to say I had a lovely morning there and you can too if you manage to visit it during one of the rare times when it’s open.
Anyway – the news. There’s an interview with me that's going to be on the Black Glove website in a bit, but before it goes on there it's available on the rather elegant website of the gentleman who interviewed me, Steve Jensen.
There will be two brand new JLP stories in The Fifth Black Book of Horror. Charlie Black has now revealed the list of contributors and I’m delighted to see that my tales will be appearing alongside work from such talented authors and all round splendid chaps (and friends of mine) as Reggie Oliver, David A Riley and Paul Finch, as well as Pan Horror alumni David Williamson, Marcus Gold and Ian C Strachan, who wrote one of my favourite stories in the entire Pan Horror series (A Smell of Fresh Paint by ‘Carl Schiffman’ in Pan 20). I’ll post more details when I get them but for now the best place for BB5 news is probably here.
I’ve just joined the Friends of Arthur Machen for a number of reasons, not the least of which are that he was a very fine writer of macabre fiction and that I chaired a panel discussion on his work at the BFS annual meeting a couple of years ago which meant that I got to meet some of the society's learned members. In fact you can access the audio recordings of the ramblings of myself, Ramsey Campbell, Mark Samuels, Gwilym Games and Simon Clark in the 'Panels' section, where I've added the audio files as downloads. If nothing else I'm sure a certain amount of fun can be had spotting the various "celebrity" voices.
Machen was also a candidate for the examinations to be made a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, which makes me feel even closer to him than his South Wales connections, but I have to admit that another reason I have decided to join FOAM at this time (as it’s quite frothily called) is because the annual meeting is due to be held in my home town of Abergavenny, in a hotel owned by a man whose daughter was allegedly chased by the younger JLP underneath a posh dining table during Sunday Lunch. Or so my mother informs me, seeing as we were only five years old at the time, but I see no reason for that little detail to diminish the rumour of the (very) young but obviously gentleman-about-town-in-the-making JLP getting to grips, as it were, with the opposite sex..
I could go on about Abergavenny for hours, and probably will at the Friends meeting in March, but suffice to say it has featured in a number of my stories. If you ever visit Abergavenny Museum, go down into the basement and you will find the setting for one of the scenes (as well as the reconstructed shop) from ‘Nefarious Assortment’ in Coffin Nails. Another story from that collection, ‘Taking Over’, was based on some of the houses I used to cycle past as a youngster. Stories such as ‘The Moving Image’, ‘The Sacrifices We Make’, and ‘Between the Pipes’ have all benefited from the fact that I lived in this rather strange town until the age of fifteen, and I don’t doubt it will continue to inform my work well into the future.
FantasyCon 2009 is almost upon us and for at least part of the time I shall be standing next to what will hopefully be a swiftly diminishing pile of copies of Against the Darkness. As well as intending to read one of my latest stories on Saturday 19th September it turns out that I shall also be participating in a panel discussion at the Britannia Hotel in Nottingham on Friday the 18th at about 10-30pm. The subject will be ‘August Derleth and the Legacy of Arkham House’ so come along and add to what should be a lively discussion about classic horror fiction.
Finally, the World Horror Convention will be taking place in the UK for the first time next year. Take a look at the website and you’ll see that there’s already a strong British presence registered, and if that’s not a good enough reason to pop along to Brighton for some sand, sea and shocks, with any luck I should be launching collection number five, the title of which apparently has to remain a secret at present until my publisher says I can tell you what it is. I’m also going to be involved in the convention in a number of other ways, all of which should prove entertaining if certain plans come to fruition.