Okay, so you’ve ordered your copy of Hiram Grange and the Nymphs of Krakow (possibly from Amazon US, or Amazon UK, for example). You joined Hiram in his Polish nightmare, emerged breathless from the end… and noticed there are a few more pages still awaiting your attention. Welcome to your Easter Egg – the first chapter of my novel Craven Place.
There’s a long history to this book. At first, back in 1999, it wasn’t a book at all, but a feature film. A good friend and director, Mitchell Morgan, was set up to direct his second movie, written by him, when a big chunk of the funding fell through, meaning he had to scrap his plans for that film and find another he could manage with the money he had left, and the locations and cast he had already committed to. He and I got our heads together over a pint or seven, and I went off for a couple of days of frantic typing. What emerged was the screenplay for Craven Place, which was then filmed in North Wales over a very frantic seven or eight days. Alas, financial woes did not stop there, and the film never made it through the post-production process (a shame – I thought the rough cut I saw had a lot of potential). Still, good times, and while Mitch and his team retained the film rights, I walked away with permission to do whatever I wanted with the story in written form.
Thus I started the novel. It took a long time to happen, mostly because I got a bit downhearted about the while thing when I realised the film wasn’t going to happen. In 2008, however, I went back, reread, and liked what was there a lot. At the start of 2009, I finished it. Turns out, it’s not quite the novel of the unfinished movie, as it developed a different personality in the writing, but ten year old screenplay is still there in the scenes and structure.
Since sompletion, it’s sat in a drawer. I’ve never been sure what the market for this locked room murder mystery cum ghost story actually is. Crime, or horror? It’s probably that nebulous middle ground known as ‘mystery’, but I like the story a lot.
So, with a little help from Shroud Publishing, I’m giving you the book for free. In the next month, Shroud are launching a digital edition of their flagship magazine, to be delivered by email to subscribers. It’s free. It’s going to feature a lot of exclusive short fiction and columns (including new Hiram Grange tales, I suspect). It’s also going to serialise the novel of Craven Place.
For free. All you have to do is sign up to the Shroud newsletter, and you get the digital edition of the mag for nothing. Including the unfolding tale of Craven Place.
Go and sign up, right now.
I’ve no idea what the future of the novel might be beyond this serial adventure, so the most compelling reason to sign up is that you may never get another chance to read it. The Easter Egg chapter in Nymphs of Krakow could well be the only time any of the story hits paper, which makes the book that little bit more special.
I hope you hand over some cash and buy Hiram Grange and the Nymphs of Krakow. Call Craven Place a thank you, of sorts. It’s yours, a spooky mystery featuring Matthew Hopkins (no relation), Tanith Pearce, Nicholas Eldritch, and more. I hope you enjoy it.