I’m currently working on three novels.
The first one has a working title of Medium Rare. That title may well change, as I’m not yet convinced that it has sufficient grab you by the balls pulling power. It is being written with a young adult marketplace in mind. The genre, I guess, could be summed up as a supernatural thriller… with some dark humor kind of laced into the mixture.
The hero of the piece is a teenager living in the 70’s Thatcher’s Britain named Billy Horton. The novel is based on a character that first appeared in an award winning short of mine, entitled Grandpa Billy, which you may have read. I knew from the response I got from readers about this character that it was too good to waste as a short stand alone. I like Billy, there’s a lot of me in him, and it’s been a lot of fun to write – hopefully that joy comes across in the work.
Here’s a short excerpt from the novel. Please bear in mind though this is an unedited first draft!
It was a starting out to be a hot, hot summer – probably just nature’s way of making up for the really cold winter we had just had.
As I lay on my bed that night tossing and turning in the stuffy warmness of the room trying to sleep I became acutely aware that something that was not quite right. My skin suddenly prickled like a million kids blown soap bubbles had washed over in a cold wind and had touched my naked body bursting on me all at the same time; I quickly sat up in darkness, peering round. In the pale light of the now cold moon glow from my bedroom window I could clearly see my dead brother Andrew wearing the clothes he had on when I’d last seen him. He sitting on the end of my bed hands clasped across his lap crossed feet swinging rhythmically almost in time to music that I couldn’t hear – head down.
As I watched in a blank horror he stopped swinging his feet and all at once became as motionless as stone. The air in the room had suddenly become old and stale.
I became aware that my heart was banging hard against my ribs. I was terrified. I couldn’t seem to breathe, speak or move. Slowly his head began to turn towards me. Horribly his body and neck stayed in place – just his head swiveled round like a grotesque featherless owls. His face was dead and white. His mouth was slack. His eyes filmed over and opaque. It was then the mouth closed and opened in a desperate gasping motion like a fish out of water; and then he spoke.
‘Why is mom crying all the time and why won’t anyone talk to me? Have I done something wrong, Billy?’
Instantly his dead face was almost nose to nose against mine.
‘What’s wrong Billy? Tell me what’s wrong.’
It was like an elastic band had been stretched out and suddenly snapped back. Time that had temporarily stopped in that room seemed to start up again. It was only then with that resumption I could finally scream – and I did – passing out a scant second later.
The next thing I knew my mom was bending over me on the bed, shaking me by my shoulders and telling me to wake up that I was having a nightmare. But as I slowly sat up and looked around the room in my still confused fright I saw what was staring at me from the darkened shadowed corner of my bedroom and I knew I wasn’t. It was like the movie. Something I’d long suspected and was absolutely sure of now.
I could see people who had died. And far more disturbingly they could see me…