A) The anthology will include three separate stories about everyday people who slide into depravity. The characters seemingly have nothing in common, apart from their decaying minds and deviant behaviour, but a common thread unites them all. This thread will be revealed over time and it is going to form the basis of my next full length novel.
After exploring a single character (Hannah Harker) over the course of the Disturbed Girl trilogy, I wanted to create some new characters from different walks of life. The anthology features a seemingly dull local council employee in suburban England, a female banker on holiday in the Gambia and a veteran policeman who specialises in missing persons and domestic violence.
I won’t reveal what connects them, but as with Hannah Harker I will blur the boundaries between right and wrong, explore how the mundane can become warped and serve up scenes to curdle your stomach and make you blush.
Q) The first story in the collection is The Man Who Couldn’t Laugh. What’s it about?
A) It’s a bit like the Michael Douglas film Falling Down, but set in a quaint English village.
The main character is a guy called Colin Jones who wants to just stroll through his mundane life and be left in peace, but he is constantly antagonised by his wife, work colleagues, motorists, people in the supermarket and so on.
He lives in a narrow-minded white neighbourhood and avidly reads the right-wing tabloid press, so when a family from Somalia move in next door it’s the final straw…
Q) When will Amber’s Haunt be released?
A) I’m very excited about Amber’s Haunt as it’s the first short film to be produced by Disturbed Girl Productions.
It’s been written and directed by Joe James, who has previously produced a Disturbed Girl soundtrack under his Himuro Mansion artist name. The first cut of the movie has recently been finished and I love what Joe has put together with his cast and production team.
The original plan was to release it in winter 2014, but we’ve decided to take it onto the film festival circuit first to generate publicity. We are now looking to release it to the world sometime around spring 2015.
Q) How is The Black Page coming along?
A) The Black Page (TBP) is a collective of European writers, designers, photographers and musicians who are working together to create new multi-media literature.
I was first invited to Antwerp a couple of years ago to join the project, but things moved quite slowly while we struggled to figure out what exactly TBP was going to look like and how it would work with so many international collaborators.
In the last couple of months, however, there has been some real progress. TBP has established a brand new Development House near Amsterdam, where a team of creatives are currently working on design concepts for Disturbed Girl, which is the pilot project.
TBP Director Erik Zwiers has also recently met with the Haarlem Events Foundation in Holland and The Black Page is going to be the lead concept at the Haarlem Literary Festival in June 2015. This will bring together people from across the Netherlands, Belgium and further afield and I’m really looking forward to seeing it develop.
Q) You’ve also become a father this year – how do you find time for all your projects?
A) Yes, my life has been more about disturbed sleep than Disturbed Girl since baby Athena was born in March, but I’m loving fatherhood and just about finding time for the various projects too.
Writing is obviously a solitary profession, but The Black Page and Amber’s Haunt are real team efforts so there has been plenty of work going on while I’ve been changing nappies!
Q) Will Hannah Harker return?
A) The poor girl has been through hell and needs a well-earned rest. That said, I’ll never say never again.