2020. A year during which any horror writer would be hard pressed to outdo real-life events with any of their fictional terrors.
Glancing back, here’s my horror writing year in review.
Greyfriars Reformatory my sixth novel, which was published by the fine folks at Flame Tree Press, got some of the most positive reviews i’ve ever had (from Chicago Review of Books, and others). My thanks to all the readers, raters & reviewers!
I published two academic chapters:
“Not everything that moves, breathes and talks is alive”: Christianity, Korean Shamanism and Reincarnation in Whispering Corridors (1998) and The Wailing (2016) – published in Scared Sacred: Idolatry, Religion and Worship in the Horror Film, editors: Rebecca Booth, Valeska Griffiths, Erin Thompson, R.F. Todd (House of Leaves Publishing, 2020)
Koji Suzuki’s Ring: A world literary perspective – published in Horror Literature From Gothic to Postmodern: Critical Essays. Editors Nicholas Diak, Michele Brittany (McFarland Publishing, 2020).
I penned guest blogs & articles for the HWA, CrimeReads & Kendall Reviews (among others you can find here).
I lost two screenwriting commissions due to the pandemic in 2020. I know many film & TV writers struggled last year, and here’s hoping the industry picks up again in 2021, but there’s a way to go yet.
I put my time & energy into writing two speculative feature film screenplays (I’ve learned never to speak too much about those, so let’s just wait and see if they actually become movies).
My screenplay adaptation of Bram Stoker Award®️ nominated debut novel The Lamplighters was a Semi-finalist in the ScreenCraft Horror Screenplay Contest 2020.
My folk horror film The Stay won two awards on the international festival circuit in 2020:
Exemplar Award – Creepy New Concept & Plot (Creepy Tree Film Festival, USA)
& Best International Film (The Thing in the Basement Horror Fest USA)
The Stay was screened in Official Selection at several film festivals from Los Angeles Lift-off to the Hitchcock Film Awards. Film festivals weren’t the only happenings that were streamed…
Remember those? It was a tough year for conferences and conventions, and my heart goes out to their organisers, who have been forced to postpone, go online, or to cancel outright.
An Evening With Horror Writer Frazer Lee went ahead, and I enjoyed inflicting my horrors on a full house, had fun answering some great questions, and we raised some money for my favourite charity.
The inaugural UK edition of Stokercon was postponed, and then became Chillercon, with the Bram Stoker Awards & Final Frame Film Contest (for which i was a Juror) moving online. Congratulations to the winners & nominees!
I was looking forward to screening The Stay and doing a Q&A about my film work at Contemporary Folk Horror in Film & Media conference, Leeds, until the pandemic delivered its own persistent brand of viral horror. Hopefully it will happen in 2021.
Last but not least — My book launch for Greyfriars Reformatory went online, and together we raised £35 for Hillside Animal Sanctuary through signed book sales — thank you!
Looking forward? I’m hoping to get all kinds of things done in 2021. Making horror stories sometimes helps me to face the real-life ones. And i hope reading/watching them helps you sometimes, too.
If you’re still reading this, I’d just like to wish you & yours the very best of health. And i’ll close on a plea, if i may:
Don’t you dare be one of those characters in horror stories — you know the one who goes down to the basement with a faulty flashlight? Or the one who says, “We’ll cover more ground if we split up.” Just don’t. I’ve written and consumed enough horror stories to know those aproaches rarely pan out so well — for anyone.
Wear a mask. Wash your hands.
Stay safe out there, and keep others safe.
And if you need to borrow a flashlight, just scream!