So, you can’t please all the people even some of the time. Some will feel inevitably frustrated, or disappointed. I could write half a dozen stories in a row that are, by most definitions, strictly supernatural or horror, and then write a couple that are more broadly fantasy or fairy tale based, and in so doing risk angering or even losing a portion of my readership. I’m inevitably reminded of an interview I read with the writer John Connolly, renowned for his series of violent and authentic crime thrillers about ex-cop Charlie Parker. Whilst these have steadily marched into the realms of the supernatural with each volume, and gained a huge and devoted following in the process, a few years back he chanced his arm with a moving fable about the nature of grief, loss and storytelling called The Book of Lost Things, told via the medium of a small boy and his immersion in a world of fairy tales. The book was remarkable, and remains one of my very favourite books, with a deeply moving ending that defined an entire philosophy of truth and the experience of reading, but in an interview he credits it with all but demolishing his sales in the US, an experience from which – several years later – he still wasn’t sure he had recovered. It’s a sobering thought, and a lesson that marketeers would say you ignore your peril. Genre fans can be the most loyal and appreciative out there, but woe betide the writer who steps outside the comfort zone of expectation he or she has laid down.
But I can’t really do anything else if I’m to remain true not only to what I could pretentiously call my ‘artistic vision’, but also those things that move or inspire me. Whilst that will inevitably make this something of a ‘magpie’ site, with posts reflecting subjects disparate in nature and possibly divisive in tone, in the process I hope it will provide something both eclectic and thought-provoking, with a variety of moods and topics. Will that work? I don’t know, but it will be fun finding out.