Colin Harvey’s latest novel is Blind Faith, a paranormal thriller featuring a partially-sighted investigator and part-time tarot reader who works on the south coast of England. His most recent book is Killers, an anthology of paranormal thrillers featuring original stories by award-winning authors Paul Meloy, Lee Thomas, Sarah Singleton, Jonathan Maberry and Bruce Holland Rogers, and other writers.
His next book will be another anthology, Future Bristol, nine stories about the city outside which he lives with his wife Kate, and cocker spaniel Alice. Colin hopes that wonderful stories by Liz Williams, Gareth L Powell, Stephanie Burgis, Joanne Hall and others will inspire the good people of the twenty-eight American towns and cities called Bristol to reach out to their British namesakes.
His next novel is Winter Song, a hard SF novel in which a spacer crash-landing on a lost colony planet has to flee hostile locals and even more hostile wildlife.
His short fiction has appeared in Albedo One, Gothic.net and Peridot Books, among others. Colin has a website, reviews regularly for Strange Horizons and is the featured writer on SF and Fantasy for Suite101.
Jocasta Pantile needs a case to keep the bailiff from the door; Duff needs someone to find his prize spells; they make the ideal client and enquiry-agent. The trouble is that when she finds them, Duff intends to kill the thieves, which Jocasta doesn’t much like, but if she doesn’t find them, Duff may kill her instead –if he doesn’t anyway; she knows too much about him for her own good. Neither of them realizes just what dark places his thirst for vengeance will take them
Frances Dedman is a part-time tarot reader on Brighton Pier with an ex-policeman uncle. When he’s asked to investigate a schoolgirl’s disappearance the police are unhappy, but they need all the help they can get. They would be even less happy if they knew the truth about Frances’ blindness, but her blind faith in her ability to ‘read’ people may be the biggest danger of all…
A vampire who tends to her patients in a 1940s North Carolina nursing home; the detective hunting the killer of a most unusual victim in near-future Boston; the university lecturer haunted by the ghost of his unborn brother; the nascent nine-year-old serial killer and her (perhaps) imaginary friend — all these and seven other visions of the end of life.
DE: All four (five if you count BLIND FAITH?) of your current fiction releases are stand-alones. Are you ever tempted to step into series waters? Or do you prefer stand-alones?
CH: One of the things that I like about thriller writer Cornell Woolrich, who wrote Rear Window was that he never wrote sequels. So the reader never knows whether Woolrich’s threatened character will actually survive. That tends to be undermined when the reader knows that a book is the seventh (or seventeenth!) in a series. So I strongly prefer stand-alones. That said, I would never say never to a series — but if I’m to write one, it needs to be done well.
DE: Do you find it difficult or easy to move between short fiction and novels? What do you find are the particular challenges for each?
CH: To be honest, there are times when I’m in the middle of a novel when I long to be able to switch to short fiction, but I can’t afford to take the break mid-novel, and I find short stories demand all my attention when I’m writing them. So I split my year into blocks –this part for novels, this part for short fiction.
For me the challenge of writing novels is to keep the plot on course and the characters evolving. Novels require much more thinking time beforehand — usually a month or two before I start writing. They’re much more like little daubs of paint on a canvas, building up to a much bigger picture.
Short stories are much more like black and white sketches. There is absolutely no room for a wasted word in a short story, which is why I find them such a challenge. I’m much more a novelist by inclination than a short story writer, but that’s all the more reason to master them.
DE: How did you wind up editing anthologies? Did you put out a call for submissions, or offer specific invitations?
CH: I met Harry Harrison at a convention in Ireland, and admitted that I’d loved his anthologies when I was a teenager, but that no-one seemed to be producing many nowadays. He said, “Why don’t you edit one?” So I did.
I’d had an anthology in mind for some time that would feature mysteries or thrillers that included speculative fiction –SF, fantasy or horror– and meld the genres. I issued invites to writers I knew because I didn’t have the time to read the hundreds of subs that would have resulted from a general call.
The result was Killers. Let me be honest; I’m proud of every one of the stories in that book — if they’re not my children, they’re at least my nephews and nieces. But Lee (Thomas) and Jonathan (Maberry) responded with stories that I genuinely believe are as good as anything I’ve read this year in the major magazines. They are simply outstanding.
DE: Has your experience as an editor altered the way you approach your writing at all?
CH: I don’t think so — although it’s made me more sympathetic toward them!
I suppose if it has, it’s made me try to focus on writing much more tautly at novel length, and to make my prose much sharper, and more active.
DE: Is there any type of writing you haven’t yet tried that you want to?
CH: Not so much types of writing as styles of writing…Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe novels seem so effortless that it’s only now that I’m a writer that I can guess how much work went into them; I’d love to manage something equally urbane! And one day I’ll write a pure mystery, such as written by Kate Wilhelm, or Reginald Hill, both of whom have unique –but very different– styles.
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