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Andrew's horror novella, 'The Bathtub', is now available.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Next Big Thing: Philip McCormac

A big welcome to Philip McCormac, who I nominated for ‘The Next Big Thing’.  Phil has the dubious ‘privilege’ of reading early drafts of all my work and making suggestions for improvement, as well as being a prolific and talented writer himself.

Over the years we’ve known each other Phil has also become a family friend; his enthusiasm for ice cream has raised Phil to almost legendary status as far as my son is concerned!

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Thank you to Andrew for inviting me to take part in The Next Big Thing. 

What is the working title of your next book?
BEHOWLS THE MOON. The title is taken from Shakespeare.
Now the hungry lion roars,
And the wolf behowls the moon;
Whilst the ploughman snores,
All with weary task fordone.
Wolf is the clue to the content of the book which is about werewolves.

Where did the idea for the book come from?
For many years I have been fascinated by the upheaval in Ireland at the beginning of the 20th century and have wanted to write a novel set during this period. I didn't think a thriller or adventure would have been accepted by publishers so I compromised and wrote a horror instead.

What genre does your book fall under?
Horror, fantasy, thriller, historical. I find it difficult to classify my books. For a number of years I have been writing Black Horse Westerns so that is easy. I also have a crime thriller MACLEAN published and a historical adventure LEAVES OF BLOOD so they fit into a neat category.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’m not very good at this sort of thing so I asked a teenage friend to answer this one for me. She came up with Channing Tatum. When looking for him I happened upon a female actor who seemed to be linked to him - Amanda Seyfried. That looked the perfect combination.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of the book?
Young werewolves ensnarled in the Irish War of Independence.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
An agency! Are you in the real world? Have you ever tried to get and agent interested in representing you? They're too busy chasing big names. No, I will offer it to the appropriate publishers.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your masterpiece?
You know, that is a question I am frequently asked. I can't answer that. I keep telling myself the next time I start a book I'll note my starting and finishing date. Yeah, I know what you are thinking!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Oops! That's a hard one. I can't think of any. The background to the story is historically accurate. I use real people and events and the story revolves around the war that erupted at that time. I can't think of anyone that does that: mingles history and horror/fantasy.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I was born in Ulster though I have lived the greater part of my life in England. My last book BRIDGE OF BLOOD, a supernatural horror, was set in modern Ireland. Up until the Good Friday Agreement we had thirty years of the Ulster Wars when Irishmen fought to end British occupation of Ireland - a conflict that has been going on for centuries. During this time my English friends questioned me endlessly to explain a war which to them was completely baffling. I found it difficult myself to understand so I undertook an ongoing study of the causes and effects of the Irish wars. I had to go back six hundred years to examine the roots of the conflict. To me the most interesting period was the early 20th century during which the Easter Rebellion took place followed by the Irish War of Independence and after that came the Civil War. These events are just crying out to be exploited and/or explained.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
All my books have plenty of action with fights and gun battles etc. There is also a romantic thread running through which my readers like. My publisher was intrigued by the setting of my last book which he said would be an exotic location for readers. I never thought of Ireland as exotic but then if you have never been there it might appear to be so.  (And, I may add, it’s a damn good book – Andrew)

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Philip began writing fiction as a break from his business activities and had short horror published in various magazines. He even wrote New Age Philosophy which was published in Burning Issues now defunct. One day he came across an article on writing westerns and wrote HOT SPUR using the pseudonym Elliot James which was his grandson’s name.

Black Horse Westerns accepted the book and since then Philip has had 13 westerns published under P.McCormac and various pen-names.

In December 2010 his first crime thriller MacLean was published by Robert Hale, London.

In 2012 he published a teen fantasy LANCE OF LIGHT on Kindle and is quite proud of the front cover which he designed. LEAVES OF BLOOD, a novel set during the American Civil War is also published on Kindle.

THE RATTLESNAKE KID - a western was published by and BRIDGE OF BLOOD a supernatural thriller is published by Greyhart.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Who were Dana’s Children?

So, ‘Dana’s Children’ has been accepted for publication.  The story of Dana’s people is probably one of the lesser known Celtic myths, so this piece is to give some background to the legends behind the novella.

Irish myth is rich in stories of invasions and peoples who inhabited the Emerald Isle in early times – Fomorians; Fir Bolg; Milesians and the like.  The Tuatha De Danann (Dana’s tribe; Dana’s people; Dana’s children, depending on who’s translation you’re reading) are one more.  I used the ‘Dana’s Children’ version because that seemed most dramatic.

Dana’s children seem to have been humanlike and led by a mother figure (goddess?) called Dana.  The tribe was pitted against another wave of invaders, the Milesians.  Milesians were the final inhabitants of Ireland, so probably represent the current Celtic people.

It’s possible that Dana’s children are distant historical memories recalling real people who lived in Ireland but were driven out by the Celts.

Anyway, the Milesians and Dana’s Tribe fought and eventually made peace.  As part of the treaty Dana’s children were promised half of Ireland, but were tricked – they were allocated the underground half, while the Milesians remained on the surface.

Dana’s children became associated with the underworld, and places such as ancient burial mounds were seen as entrances to their realm.  Dana’s tribe are also often regarded as the original fairies, but were more malevolent than our current perception of the race.

The tribe were also said to be very protective of their underground kingdom and suspicious of Milesians who trespassed – for good reason, I suppose, if they’d been tricked out of living on the surface.

‘Dana’s Children’ plays on the more sinister side of early fairy tales, and ties it in with the story of Dana’s people and the invasion myths.  Woe betide my group of archaeologists who discover and explore an underground passage…

The fuller story of the Tuatha De Danann – and links to other Invasion myths – are on Wikipedia.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

The Next Big Thing

I’d like to give a big thank you to Carole Ann Moleti for nominating me to take part in ‘The Next Big Thing’.  I’ve hopped over to Carole’s blog to talk about ‘Dana’s Children’.

I’ve nominated Philip McCormac and Gianna Bruno to go next, so watch out for their interviews. 

Gianna’s writing is usually romantic, often wicked, sometimes mainstream, and always experimental.

Philip is a prolific writer of westerns (thirteen!) under various pen names, but he is skilled and versatile enough to handle thrillers, historicals and the supernatural as well.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Acceptance: Dana’s Children

I heard a couple of days ago that Dana’s Children has been accepted for publication.  It’s a supernatural horror inspired by Celtic Irish invasion myths, about a group of archaeologists who make a terrifying discovery.

A big thank you to my publisher for taking this on.  (As always, I’ll refrain from naming the publisher until contracts are signed and sealed, just in case…)  However, it’s a house I’m excited to be associated with.

Several people read parts of early versions and suggested changes.  Particularly grateful thanks, though, to Philip McCormac and Carl Alves.  Phil and Carl both ploughed through drafts from beginning to end and helped significantly improve the story.

Phil’s take:  "An amazing story of an underworld of vicious little people and a group students trapped in theirr terrifying wold. Compelling and terrifying."

More about Dana’s Children to follow.

Most of my work falls under the banner of ‘Celtic fantasy/horror’ and Dana’s Children is no exception.  Of my seven stand-alone releases, this will be my fourth Celtic-themed one.  The other three are:
A list of all my books, including the non-Celtic publications, is here.