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Author Of The Week: October 18 –October 24

October 20, 2010

Stuart Neville [Our holdings]

Stuart on becoming a writer: [From his website]

I began writing seriously in August 2006. I’d wanted to write ever since I was a kid, and was always an avid reader. I had a few goes over the years, the first time at the age of eight, then again as a teenager, and made a few more attempts over the following decade or so. But in 2006 I realised now was the time to do it for real.

So I did.

The first effort was less than spectacular, and I was disheartened. Before giving up for good, in early 2007 I decided to write a short story I’d had in my head since I was a teenager. It was a fictionalised account of the life and death of blues legend Robert Johnson, and I called it ME AND THE DEVIL BLUES, after one of his most famous songs. I posted that story to an online critique group where it got an excellent reception. One of the readers was Betsy Dornbusch, an editor at Electric Spec, and an accomplished writer. She liked the story so much she offered to buy it.

That encouragement was enough to keep me writing, and in the following weeks I churned out a series of short pieces. One of them was FOLLOWERS, a story about a former killer haunted by his victims, inspired by an image I’d woken up with one morning: a man drinking in a bar, surrounded by the ghosts of all the people he’d murdered. Again, I posted it to an online critique group where it got a lot of praise.

Over the next month or so, that story kept nagging me. I wanted to see what happened next to its protagonist. I started writing, and about ten weeks later, I had the first draft of a novel I named after the short story that inspired it. Over the previous few months I had become friends with Betsy Dornbusch and another writer named Shona Snowden. Both kindly critiqued the novel for me, and so began about six months of revisions.

Continue reading on his site


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