novel The Fallen is being published in September by Demain Publishing. This
will be my third collaboration with the press, and its head honcho the
irrepressible Dean M Drinkel, with my novella The Lost featuring in
their debut publication, the WW1 themed anthology The Darkest Battlefield
and my short story Shattered taking the number 11 slot in the Short,
Sharp Shocks series.
The Fallen tells the story of three different times mankind has come into contact with the same supernatural force – a fallen angel – those times being the present day, during World War Two and at the end of the sixteenth century. The protagonists are the scientists onboard an Arctic research vessel, the merchant seamen onboard an oil tanker which is part of an Arctic convoy and a group of mercenaries hunting down religious icons for Tzar Ivan the Terrible respectively.
The novel is presented in a nested format, with the present day section providing the first and last parts, wrapped around the World War Two section which is itself split around the Russian section which makes up the heart of the story. The plan was to show the interlinking nature of the three sections, and how actions in one would have consequences in the others and this seemed a more interesting way of doing it rather than just presenting them in chronological order. I did toy with the idea of presenting them in reverse order, which could have worked quite well, but decided in the end to stick with the more convoluted format.
Mt original idea was to write a novella set in an Arctic convoy and as I began plotting, I realised that it would need a prologue. When that prologue – the Russia section - turned out to be 25000 words or so, I realised that I had a novel on my hands… About halfway through writing the WW2 section, I had the feeling that the novel would need something more – which is how the present day section came about. The three sections were written in their entireties: Russia first, then WW2 and finally the present day section. Only after all were completed did I chop them up into the order they appear in the final version. That said, I’d made the decision to use the format whilst I was writing the WW2 section – which allowed me to arrive at a suitably cliff-hanging point at which to make a break both in this section and the present day one.
The Fallen is a creature-feature and is partly a homage to the books and films which I love and which have influenced the things I write about. The most obvious cinematic references are to The Thing (and The Thing from Another World) and Alien. It’s always tricky getting the balance right in situations like this but hopefully I’ve succeeded in paying homage rather than blatantly ripping off. There are enough references in the text – overt and subtle – to acknowledge the debt I owe to them.
I had a great time writing The Fallen and I hope the enthusiasm I felt has transferred onto the page. At heart I’m a frustrated film director and writing this novel has allowed me to present the epic blockbuster I’d have loved to direct. It has some of the biggest set-pieces I’ve ever written but hopefully enough human drama to make you care about the characters I’ve pitted against the demon.
My thanks again to Dean for taking this on and also to Adrian Baldwin for creating such a fine cover. The Fallen will be available first as an e-book then later as a paperback and you can pre-order it here.