Last weekend Del and I held our post apocalyptic party, which centered on our wedding vow renewal ceremony. Our very dear friend, Sam Moffat, acted as officiant and organised the most incredible ceremony. Sam had secretly contacted a number of our closest writer friends and asked them to give a short reading on the post apocalyptic theme. Listening to the readings, I was overwhelmed by this gift of words. Sam collected all of the pieces for us to keep, which means we can read them again and again. We also had some very touching messages in the form of the notes that were added to our original hand fasting willow circlet. Sam brought Scarlet into the circle of stones (collected from the beach – again, I loved the significance of this) and both of them bound Del and me together, for the next ten years and way beyond that! And then it was time to party. I’d say its pretty common knowledge that Del and me enjoy a drink or several, rock music turned up high, and having our friends help celebrate with us. Much happy madness ensued – dancing, karaoke, cavorting, a fire dance, spontaneous fire breathing, slightly soggy camping, bad hangovers, Sunday dinner and then the clear up. A truly wonderful night.
It’s certainly been a year of celebration so far. April saw me turn 40, which didn’t bother me anywhere near as much as it perhaps should have – I suspect because I always like the idea of fresh starts and turning over a new leaf and all that jazz. April was also packed full of writing events, including Eastercon and Alt Fiction. Eastercon was tremendous fun, if a little nerve-racking as my novel Cyber Circus was shortlisted for the British Science Fiction Association Best Novel award. I was very happy to lose to the inimitable Christopher Priest and The Islanders, and I thought Chris’s speech was wonderfully witty. Eastercon also gave me the opportunity to spend panel time with two authors I admire greatly – Gail Carriger, author of The Parasol Protectorate Series, and Genevieve Valentine, author of Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti. One short week later, I was among the wonderful crowd of fellow creatives at Alt Fiction. The new venue in Leicester was great and I had a really lovely day meeting fellow writers through my Steampunk workshop. I also enjoyed taking part in the panel on Science Fiction and listening to my fellow panellists – what a fab bunch!
While I’m delighted that my YA novella, Queen Rat, has been well received, I’ve been knocked for six by the reactions to Cyber Circus. Last week I heard the fantastic news that the novel has been shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award for Best Novel. I can’t begin to explain how happy this has made me – surely knowing that folk liked your novel enough to vote for it is the best reward there is? I am doubly delighted because my work has always straddled SF and Dark Fantasy and this nomination recognises that tendency. I’m overwhelmed by my fellow nominees and am just looking forward to an amazing con in Brighton in September and having my name read out alongside theirs.
And what about the rest of the year? I’m thrilled to have been asked to take part in the ‘Worlds of Tomorrow’ YA event at Foyles on the 22nd May. The panel is hosted by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre, features Moira Young, Steve Cole and myself, and is presented in association with the Society of Authors and the Kitschies Awards. I can’t wait!
After the Foyles event I am locking myself away in the writing dungeon to work on my new YA novel. I will be surfacing though for Fantasycon in September and Bristolcon in October, where I am very pleased to be interviewing Guest of Honour Gareth L. Powell. I will be sneaking out a few stories too. My story, ‘The Island of Peter Pandora’ – influenced by Peter Pan and The Island of Doctor Morea – appears in Resurrection Engines: Sixteen Extraordinary Tales of Scientific Romance, which is released from Snowbooks at the end of June. In the same month, Newcon Press are releasing their new anthology of ghost stories called Hauntings, and which features my short story ‘Dark Peak’. Later in the year, I have another ghost story coming out. ‘Field of the Dead’ appears in The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women, released by Constable & Robinson. I do have a soft spot for ghost stories!
But while I am busy tucking myself away to write, I’m always aware that it is good to have other interests outside of work. I have loved doing narration for Starship Sofa over the past few months and have been lucky enough to read some amazing stories. Scarlet and I have also been enjoying having Del working in the midlands and coming home every evening. It is so great to be able to function like normal human beings…well, as best we can! And we have a wedding to look forward to! Our wonderful celebrant, Sam Moffat, is marrying writer, reviewer and Arthur C. Clarke Award judge Paul Skevington in August. Scarlet is a flower girl, Del is best man and I am Maid of Honour – and it is indeed an honour to be included so much in this special day. Now I just have to get that hen night organised…good job I enjoy a good party