Books that inspired me… IT (Stephen King)

I read my first horror novel when I was 11, Coma by Robin Cook, a tattered old paperback found at a holiday home and from there I became a devourer of horror novels. At 13 I found and read Stephen King’s IT, along with many of his other novels (The Stand is my favourite). Like everyone else who went to see the recent movie adaptation, I went back and re-read it. What struck me was how much this book has influenced me, and how bizarrely similar it is to my novel. Let’s… Read More

‘Time jumps’ in Up and up

When I set out to write Up and up I did not expect it to be a time-jump novel. Instead, I was walking along to work through the woods and just started wondering what happened to the main characters afterwards. Somehow I got the idea that Rake never achieved his dream of being an actor, but was instead sucked into the City and worked one of the few jobs where success did not require schooling or a middle-class accent: finance. This then gave me an interesting challenge. I set out to write… Read More

To the towns of our childhood, whether we escaped them or not…

To celebrate getting this book out there, a friend bought me this: Yes, this is what everyone needs in their life, a lapel pin of the place they escaped from, so they can carry it around eternally. Technically, Plumstead is quite green, we always joked that because the land was cheap, there were so many empty (read: green) spaces, that, and graveyards, the area has a lot of graveyards. The blank area at the top of the badge is the common (technically, Plumstead Common and Winn’s common), at the bottom left is… Read More

Beat poet of the ’90s

One of my favourite characters in the book is Seth, the goth drug dealer introduced as a beat poet of the 90’s in this passage: Seth rolled the cigarettes between his fingertips, dropping tobacco and sawdust onto the papers. Then out came the plastic baggies. They were the sort of thing you found tacky jewellery in in places like Woolwich Market. One bag was larger and had good-quality green in it, the leaves dried up like little dead spiders, all spiky legs and crispy. The other bag was a thick, sticky resin,… Read More

Plumstead: land of dreams…

Map-badge of Plumstead

I guess this is the problem with London and the relentless march of gentrification. I set my first novel in the place I grew up, Plumstead (and surrounding environs of Welling and Woolwich), which, was at the time… to be frank, a complete shithole. As a teen I had friends who’s parents were too scared to allow them to come out to Woolwich cinema. Then again, my friends from the nicer suburbs had never had the experience of narrowly missing walking in on a stabbing by about five minutes, so their parents… Read More