Hark Hear the Red Folk Sing! On Publication day, the Red has left the cave.
I started researching and writing notes for this novel in Romania on The Ritual shoot in 2016. The actual start I began on a plane heading to Transylvania. At this early stage, my head was filled with so many ideas and images that my imagination choked itself. I’d previously filled my mental basket with scores of ideas from two years walking the coast path and swimming the local coastline. But the raw matter was finally ready to dig itself out of my head to try and fit itself into language.
By early 2018, I believed the book was finished. But . . . I had reservations. Like pebbles in shoes, or creases in bedsheets, these doubts would not disappear. I left my most recent draft alone for a few months and then returned to “tinker”. This tinkering resulted in another year’s work and four more drafts of the book, with final revisions made in early 2019. So, the usual ordeal. But I will not kid myself and this is what it takes for me to satisfy my inner reader and editor.
I’ve always consider writing equal parts euphoria and despair. I don’t consider it “fun”. I fear “fun” in relation to writing. To me “fun” might evoke levity or silliness in a story. I must suffer because my characters suffer. Stuff has to be at stake, it all has to matter. “Fun” might lessen the impact of their struggle, it might reduce weight. This is horror I’m writing after all.
By summer of 2018, I also had grave reservations about this novel’s place in traditional publishing and made the decision to publish this book independently, through my own imprint, in four formats, worldwide on the same day – a business model better suited to what I am writing and for aesthetic reasons that may have contradicted current publishing trends and editorial leanings.
I had the infrastructure and knowledge from publishing the two collections and I had a vision for the book, no better made as an aesthetic statement than by Samuel’s cover art. I’d create three editions with my team, and Journalstone would publish the audio book. Let’s go.
There then followed over a year of publishing … with the usual chores, including the relentless grind of checking every specification in each edition and every line of text design to get them all as damn near perfect as possible. There were problems and obstacles galore, but all were overcome eventually.
But all of this time spent writing and rewriting the book, and then publishing it so carefully and painstakingly, ultimately led to many of you guys pre-ordering the entire limited edition hardback print run weeks before publication date. The pre-orders for the ebook and paperback have genuinely taken me aback. The ebook and paperback at full price (and I believe a reasonable price) are in the main top 100 horror chart on Amazon this morning, amongst the many heavily discounted eBooks. That red face is snarling out there!
My wife who does business administration, fulfilment, the website, newsletter design, stock-reordering and inventory – around all of her other responsibilities – also carefully packed 400 books and wrote customs declarations and got them out before publication date. The whole endeavour would have been possible without Anne Parry. Simon Nevill and Pete Marsh worked their usual magic as designers, Samuel Araya came through with artwork that made my heart skip a beat, my editor Tony weighed in, and my enabler, Brian J. Showers consulted on the hardback. Gentlemen, I thank ye.
So, was it all worth it? Yes. Though I am an older and slightly more bent and wizened figure then when I started back in Transylvania in late 2016. I feel as if I have been dragged around a cave by the Old Creel. But anything worth doing doesn’t come easy.
So, to all who have bought a copy and who will read this book, we salute you with both horns, while the Red Folk make their music in your honour with their bone flutes. My ninth horror novel is out there.