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.....


  1. Really looking forward to meeting you again, Chris and very honoured to be in the same anthology as you!