Gamebook store

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Avec les ombres de la nuit

Happy Fourth of July, and here's a quick plug for the iPhone version of my novel Florien, published last week by Megara Entertainment, who are the folks behind the iPad version of The War-Torn Kingdom (aka Fabled Lands Book One) that should be out at the end of the year. (I've seen a video of the beta being tested and it is stupendous - not just a gamebook conversion, this is a real 2D CRPG.)

Anyway, enough of that. We were talking about Florien. This is a book I originally wrote for the Horrorscopes series, which put me in the distinguished company of writers like Terrance Dicks and Lisa Tuttle. But between approving the treatment and delivery of the manuscript, the publisher had a change of heart. Originally they intended the Horrorscopes series to cover a range of genres from spooky/supernatural to psychological thriller to slasher fic. So I wrote Florien as hommage to Hitchcock (specifically the Vertigo to Marnie period). Then the publisher got worried that Turn-of-the-Screw type tension wasn't what they wanted after all. "Can't you put in a stalker, serial killer or rapist?" they asked. Well no, not without making it a completely different book.

So my wife Roz dashed off the in-yer-face terror book the publishers were after. She came up with the plot in forty-five minutes (literally - we had just that time before a Desmond Morris programme came on TV that we wanted to watch) and wrote the whole book in fifteen days. And that appeared as Mirror Image in the Horrorscopes series while I kept the rights to Florien.

I thought I'd soon find another publisher for Florien, but it was the one book of mine that I couldn't sell. The snag was, it has a sort-of vampire theme, and a dash of teen romance, but it defies (well, contemptuously ignores) all the conventions of teen vampire romance books. One publisher showed me a series they had in that genre and wondered if I could adapt Florien to fit. Their book started, "Gary turned his head towards the hillock where they were putting her coffin into the ground. As a vampire, he couldn't walk on consecrated ground so he couldn't be there to see her off. But he would be there later, as the moon rose, to welcome her back."

Okay. So you see how the mention of vampires in the second sentence kind of puts it firmly into the way-out-there fantasy category? Well, Florien's not that kind of horror book. It's more of a Hitchcock thing, like I said. It's the kind of fantasy where there's not a sword or a spell in sight. Where vampires don't sparkle or hiss or do that growly thing like a cat in a bad mood. Where things, quite frankly, are not at all what they seem. Indeed, is it a vampire novel at all? Judge for yourself by grabbing a copy of Florien from Amazon.


  1. Un titre en français ! Did you try to write this book in French ? :-))

  2. Mais non! However, the poems of Baudelaire are a recurring theme in the book (hence the name Florien, from Fleurs du Mal) and that post title is from "Le Revenant". Also, the publishers Megara Entertainment are based in Cannes. So you could say there is a "French Connection" :-)