Friday, 13 September 2013
His red eyes again
I had a very enjoyable day yesterday. Not only was it my publication day, but coincidentally I had arranged to go for lunch with Anne Clark and Greg Gormley. Anne was my wonderful editor on Jail-breaker Jack, when she was at Hodder and is now an agent. Greg lives in my street and is a picture book writer and illustrator. Greg needed an agent and Anne was looking for clients. I was very happy to put the two of them together and it seems to be working out very well indeed.
On top of all that, I received a copy of His Red Eyes Again - a book of vampire stories by various authors to celebrate forty years of the Dracula Society. I was very touched to see my story kicks things off. It is story called Mrs Benson. An American archivist stumbles upon a strange story hidden away among family papers from the nineteenth century. They are in the form of a journal...
I must set down the events of the last hours and days immediately. If I wait too long I will begin to doubt my memory, or even my own faculties. Certainly those who may one day read this may doubt both. All I can say is that what you read here is the truth. Good Lord, look at how my hand shakes as I write!
I am sitting in the wilfully misnamed Grand Hotel in Abraham. It is late - or perhaps, more properly, it is very early. Dawn is breaking and I have not slept. The westbound Frisco train will soon be here, but it will leave without me. She - and he - will board, but not I. I will not go another mile in their company - not for all the money in the world.
They are in a room just down the hall. That fact alone may account for my inability to sleep and I confess that I have checked the lock on my door at least four times. You are impatient to learn, of course, why a grown man should fear a woman and child, but have a little patience: it is a short tale.
And so we learn the secret of Mrs Benson and her son. I wrote the story at some speed and on demand for the book, but I enjoyed heading off to the American West of the 1880s and I think the story has a nice atmosphere to it. I may set something in that world again.
Bram Stoker has an uncredited walk on part in my story as he checks into a hotel with the actor Henry Irving whom he managed and toured with. It seemed fitting.
And speaking of The Dracula Society, I am talking to them after their autumn dinner in a few weeks time. I don't know whether to be honoured or very, very sacred.....