So long, 2018. It’s been a strange and demanding year, but from a writing perspective, a very interesting one. It’s seen my old collection of the domestic uncanny (The Unheimlich Manoeuvre) reissued by the Sinister Horror Company, and my new folk horror collection (New Music For Old Rituals) published by Black Shuck Books. I’ve also co-curated and co-edited The Black Room Manuscripts IV with J.R. Park (which included my story ‘That Thing I Did’). I published one essay on the work of Aideen Barry, ‘Suburban/Domestic Gothic,’ in The Gothic Reader: The Gothic in 28 Texts and wrote another ‘Contemporary Folk Horror: The League of Gentlemen’ for Horror: A Reader. I was commissioned to create a text response to artist Marie Brett’s ‘Last Breath,’ for her 2018 film tour. I wrote a column for Ginger Nuts of Horror's 'Childhood Fears' column, and contributed a piece on 'Strawberry Spring' to Mark West's Stephen King Mixtape. I’ve done a This Is Horror podcast with J.R. Park and been interviewed by Kendall Reviews. Additionally I was invited to contribute short fiction to Imposters III (‘The Woman In The Moon’), the Pocket Guide to the Sinister Horror Company (‘The Thing Upstairs’), The Spooky Isles Book of Horror (‘Come Away’ and ‘The Black Dog’ plus two short essays), and fulfilled a lifetime ambition of guesting in a Christmas annual with the inclusion of ‘The Girl Who Kissed The Dead’ in the Sinister Horror Annual. I’m so grateful to my editors Justin Park, Steve Shaw, Lynda Rucker, Andrew Garvey and Simon Bacon for their help and advice in working on these projects.
So my plans for 2019? I want to set myself the target (also articulated by the lovely Penny Jones under her own New Year’s resolutions) of writing one short story a month, and regularly submitting to anthology open calls. I did this in 2016, and it was a good way to hold my writing self to account. I’d like to finish my third collection, I Spit Myself Out; tales of terror emanating from within. I’m also going to write reviews, starting with those of the best fiction I’ve read in 2018.
But this is also going to be a year of broadening out my creative horizons. I plan to try on different voices; attempt new ways of writing exploring different tropes in horror. I’ve been challenged to write longer-form fiction, so I’ll aim for a novella, or at least a novelette. I’m lining up an interview and a podcast. I haven’t drawn in a long time, so this year I’m going to do some illustration. I’m already co-scripting a stand-alone graphic novel and preparing a piece on Angela Carter which will go online shortly.
And the rest of the resolutions? To say yes to more and more diverse creative opportunities.
Here’s to 2019. Happy writing to us all.