MY 20TH ANNIVERSARY AS A HORROR NOVELIST.

Marking a couple of anniversaries this year. Milestones significant to my time as a writer. The first: 2024 marks my twentieth anniversary in print as a horror novelist.

Twelve novels and three collections published since 2004, all still in print. To date, including forthcoming editions, their fleshless feet have crept across new ground in around 50 foreign editions/translations.

 April 2004 opened my account, when PS Publishing published Banquet for the Damned in a print run of 700 hardbacks, with Les Edwards cover artwork. Banquet' was my debut novel. I began writing the book in September 1997, in St Andrews, Scotland, while a mature student. I finished the first draft in London in 2000. I continued rewriting the book into 2001, and was still tinkering with it through 2002.

 Ramsey Campbell, who published my first horror short story in 'Gathering the Bones', recommended I send the novel to his UK publisher (and he also wrote the introduction to the first edition). So Ramsey ultimately bears the responsibility for my short stories and novels! And I remember the day when Pete Crowther called me at work – I was front desk porter of the west wing of an exclusive block of flats, in Mayfair, clad in full livery (part inspiration for Apartment 16, and several short stories). He said, "I'm going to publish your book."

 In 2024, I published All the Fiends of Hell through my own press, Ritual Limited, April 2nd.

Twenty years of continuous writing and publishing later and I am as relieved as I am surprised and grateful. And it would have been a far more miserable expenditure of time, energy and hope, without the timely interventions of Ramsey, Pete, John Jarrold (who took me on as an author in his literary agency in 2006), and Julie Crisp who rolled the dice at Pan Macmillan for Apartment 16 and The Ritual in 2009.

I still take nothing for granted. Horror fiction, to my eye, is one of the hardest fields in which to make a career as a writer. And yet horror is much more than publishing; for me, it's a purpose, a form of responsibility (to maintain quality control), a creative vision, and a strange form of chaos magic (I cast curious things out there, and all kinds of curious and unexpected things are offered in return).

A long road since 2004, folks, but many of you have enabled me to keep walking it. And for this, I salute you with both horns.

If I can avoid getting cancelled, and if readers don't desert me like plague rats from a dead ship, I hope to continue unleashing the horrors for another 20 years.

 

2 comments

  • Thank you, Alan! That’s very generous and kind.

    Adam Nevill
  • Hi Adam. As a lifelong horror fan and published horror writer, I want to say how much I admire your work. You have written some awesome horror novels, and have done a fantastic job keeping the horror flame burning in the literary world. Have just bought your latest novel and am so looking forward to reading it. Keep up the good work.

    Alan Toner

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