Guest Post: “Writing During Lockdown” by Dan Coxon

CoxonD-AuthorPicUntil 8 April, Unsung Stories are crowdfunding a new anthology called Out of the Darkness. The theme of the anthology is mental health – with contributions from writers like Alison Moore, Jenn Ashworth, Tim Major, Aliya Whiteley and Simon Bestwick – and all royalties and my editor’s fees are being donated to charity Together for Mental Wellbeing. The Kickstarter campaign has meant that my attention has been turned towards mental health more than usual, and at the same time the topic is frequently in the news, as the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic are felt. Everyone has struggled to cope during the lockdowns, and often during the more ‘open’ periods in between, and writers are no exception.

When the first UK lockdown was announced in March 2020, I saw several comments online about all the free time we’d have – and in particular (given the circles I move in) the amount of time to write. The everyday distractions of the outside world would be behind lock and key, and we’d finally all have time to ourselves, to let our imaginations run riot and our pens (or keyboards) flow freely. We’d have so much time, so the supposition went, that there would be a flood of new novels and short stories once the lockdown was lifted. I almost believed it myself. Continue reading

Annotated Excerpt: GREENSMITH by Aliya Whiteley (Unsung Stories)

WhiteleyA-GreensmithHi! Thanks for asking me to annotate part of Greensmith. It’s an interesting business, to revisit the writing later and see what I can remember of the process. To be honest, I don’t know how much of this was a series of conscious decisions at the time. I remember I struggled with some aspects of this book, particularly where it was heavily plot-driven, but all that struggle seems to have been on the inside, and not on the page, if that makes sense. I was relieved to find I enjoyed reading it back and seeing it again.

When it came to choosing part of Greensmith to look back over with a critical eye, I found myself drawn to this key moment in the early chapters. It’s the gateway chapter. It makes the leap from the initial hard work of establishing character and motivation to being free to run with the plot, travelling all over the universe in this case, with the reader along for the ride. Continue reading

New Books (August)

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Featuring: Joe Abercrombie, Luke Arnold, Hari Conner, Alan Davies, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, Guy Haley, Clive Hamilton, Kristin Hannah, Essa Hansen, James Hibberd, Darius Hinks, Iris Johansen, Laura Lam, John Lanchester, Jessica J. Lee, Katie Lowe, Elizabeth May, Elizabeth McCracken, Claire North, Mareike Ohlberg, Kim Stanley Robinson, Simon Stephenson, Christina Sweeney-Baird, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Vendela Vida, K.S. Villoso, Dawnie Walton, Aliya Whiteley (x2)

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Guest Post: “Five Old British Ways of Predicting the Future” by Aliya Whiteley

WhiteleyA-ArrivalOfMissivesUSWe never know what’s going to happen in the future, but that’s never stopped us from guessing.

In my novel The Arrival of Missives, Shirley Fearna teenage girl, is infatuated with her teacher. He served as a soldier during World War I and now keeps himself apart from the locals of the small English village where he lives. As Shirley tries harder to become part of his life, she discovers he has a secret. He believes that he is being shown the future. His method of predicting events to come is too unusual to spoil here, so instead here are a few other traditional British methods of predicting the future: Continue reading

New Books (June 2017)

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Quite some time since I last posted about new books I’ve received, so this is something of a bumper selection. Hope you find something that piques your interest.

Featuring: Brad Abraham, Guy Adams, Alan Alda, Sam Bourne, James Bradley, Adam Brookes, Terry Brooks, Melissa Caruso, Michael Connelly, Joseph Finder, Jack Ford, Jeffrey Ford, Dana Fredsti, John French, David Burr Gerrard, Lee Matthew Goldberg, Allegra Goodman, A.J. Hartley, Grady Hendrix, Jon Hollins, Joseph Kanon, Ann Leckie, Fonda Lee, Edan Lepucki, Attica Locke, Gail Z. Martin, Emma Newman, Jeff Noon, Lauren Oliver, Melissa F. Olson, Kathy Reichs, Anne Rice, Anthony Ryan, Brian Thomas Schmidt (ed.), Anna Smith Spark, Ferrett Steinmetz, Neal Stephenson, Jonathan Strahan (ed.), David Walton, Angus Watson, Aliya Whiteley, Don Winslow, Kenneth Womack

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Interview with ALIYA WHITELEY on 2084

Above you can watch an interview with Aliya Whiteley, one of the authors whose work will feature in the new anthology 2084. Published by Unsung Stories, the anthology has been funded through Kickstarter. It sounds like a really interesting collection, and I’m looking forward to reading it. At the time of writing, it has raised three times its original goal (stretch goals have been added). Continue reading