I had pitched the book to legendary horror editor Don D’Auria at Dorchester Publishing’s infamous Leisure Books imprint in 2009, and I was excited to receive a full manuscript request from Don by return. I submitted the book and waited anxiously for the outcome.
…and then Dorchester Publishing went under.
It was difficult not to take that as a sign. Ha ha!
But when Don D’Auria became Executive Editor of the new Horror line at Samhain Publishing, my manuscript followed him there. Don told me he loved the book and thought it would be a fine addition to the line.
Contracts were finalised 26th April 2011, and the e-book was published in November of that year, followed by the paperback in February 2012. An audiobook followed in 2016 (now out-of-print).
Things went a little bit crazy from there. The Lamplighters was selected as a Finalist in the Bram Stoker Awards for ‘Superior Achievement in a First Novel’ from all the horror debuts published that year. I enjoyed sitting up at 4:30am in freezing cold England, watching the Stoker Awards webcast broadcast live from the USA. Don had written to me prior to the awards ceremony and asked me for an acceptance speech ‘just in case’. I wrote some waffle about not winning because I knew I wouldn’t, and I didn’t, so that was that. But as I always say to my creative writing students: “Remember, it’s cooler to be nominated. Unless you win and then it’s cooler to win.”
The Lamplighters was a Finalist again, this time in the Book Pipeline Contest for books deemed suitable for film/TV adaptation, one of only 6 from almost 1,000 entries. I wrote a screenplay based on the novel, and that went on to be a Semi-finalist in the Screencraft Horror Screenplay Competition, from over 2,000 entries.
Close, but no close-up this time Mr DeMille.
I still think The Lamplighters would make for an excellent scary movie, but then I would think that, wouldn’t I? (Ha ha #2)
The book became my first translated work, with the Japanese edition published by TakeShobo in 2015. I was really thrilled about that, especially when I learned that the Tokyo-based publisher has Stephen King and the Star Wars books on its roster. Getting my author copy was a surreal experience, and it’s a very beautiful object, that edition. Hey you guys! My other books are available for translation, just sayin’.
And then, just as Dorchester Publishing had during my initial pitching of the book, Samhain Publishing went under. IT’S NOT MY FAULT, OKAY? STOP MAKING OUT LIKE IT’S SOME KIND OF WEIRD CURSE THAT FOLLOWS ME AROUND… (Ha ha #3).
I like to keep my work out there and available and soon after, I signed with Crossroad Press/Macabre Ink for all my Samhain backlist titles. My thanks to the two Davids at Crossroad for keeping my malformed offspring in circulation.
And so, without any further ado, here it is.
Ten years and a day since I became a fully signed-up novelist, a new 10th anniversary paperback edition of The Lamplighters is now available.
The nightmare continues!
And coming soon… There will be a limited edition hardcover, too.
Happy anniversary, old thing. My thanks to Don D’Auria & all at Samhain, to the two Davids at Crossroad Press, and to all my readers (yes, all 3 of you! Ha ha #4) and reviewers for the last ten years.
Here’s to a few more, eh?
About The Lamplighters:
Life on Meditrine Island is luxurious…but brief. Marla Neuborn has found the best post-grad job in the world—as a “Lamplighter” working on Meditrine Island, an exclusive idyllic paradise owned and operated by a consortium of billionaires. All Lamplighters have to do is tend to the mansions, cook and clean, and turn on lights to make it appear the owners are home. But the job comes with conditions. Marla will not know the exact location of the island, and she will have no contact with the outside world for the duration of her stay. Once on the island, Marla quickly learns the billionaire lifestyle is not all it is made out to be. The chief of security rules Meditrine with an iron fist. His private police force patrols the shores night and day, and CCTV cameras watch the Lamplighters relentlessly. Soon Marla will also discover first-hand that the island hides a terrible secret. She’ll meet the resident known as the Skin Mechanic. And she’ll find out why so few Lamplighters ever leave the island alive.
Horror novels never really die. They do sometimes go out of print, then find new publishers and (rather like the monsters within their pages) are resurrected to give you sleepless nights all over again.
Attend the tales of The Lamplighters and The Jack in the Green. Both are back in shiny new ebook editions from Crossroad Press.
I have been teasing the covers on my social media for a little while, and now it is time to unleash these beasties.
Feast your eyes, f(r)iends.
The Lamplighters was my debut novel, and had the honour of being selected as a Finalist in the Bram Stoker Awards for ‘superior achievement in a first novel’. It introduces the character of the Skin Mechanic (who will return in a new edition of my prequel novel The Skintaker soon) and goes something like this:
Life on Meditrine Island is luxurious…but brief.
Marla Neuborn has found the best post-grad job in the world—as a “Lamplighter” working on Meditrine Island, an exclusive idyllic paradise owned and operated by a consortium of billionaires. All Lamplighters have to do is tend to the mansions, cook and clean, and turn on lights to make it appear the owners are home. But the job comes with conditions. Marla will not know the exact location of the island, and she will have no contact with the outside world for the duration of her stay.
Once on the island, Marla quickly learns the billionaire lifestyle is not all it is made out to be. The chief of security rules Meditrine with an iron fist. His private police force patrols the shores night and day, and CCTV cameras watch the Lamplighters relentlessly. Soon Marla will also discover first-hand that the island hides a terrible secret. She’ll meet the resident known as the Skin Mechanic. And she’ll find out why so few Lamplighters ever leave the island alive.
The Jack in the Green saw me turning my bloodshot eye to folk horror, and the story takes place in the same fictional universe as my forthcoming novel Hearthstone Cottage. Here’s the scary skinny:
A nightmare made real.
On Christmas Eve, six year-old Tom McRae witnessed an unspeakable atrocity that left him orphaned, his childhood in tatters. Now in his mid-thirties, Tom still has terrifying nightmares of that night.
When Tom is sent to the remote Scottish village of Douglass to negotiate a land grab for his employer, it seems like a golden opportunity for him to start over. But Tom can’t help feeling he’s been to Douglass before, and the terrible dreams from his childhood have begun to spill over into his waking life.
As murderous events unfold and Tom’s feverish nightmares escalate, he will discover the hideous truth behind the villagers’ strange pagan ritual of The Jack in the Green.
Thrilled to confirm that on the 13th of June (the 13th being an auspicious date for any horror writer) I signed the contract with Flame Tree Press for my new novel GREYFRIARS REFORMATORY. I started writing the book while I was travelling on business in China, and it looks likely to be released in 2020. More updates to follow!
“A chilling, atmospheric tale that creeps up on you like fog off a loch. Highly recommended.” (Jon Recluse)
“HEARTHSTONE COTTAGE is a nonstop riveting read and the suspense never slackens. Prepare to lose sleep.” (Fungi From Yuggoth)
“Well written and great suspense.” (Heather Bennett)
“I really enjoyed this book and the unique storyline.” (Rachel Drenning)
My thanks to all the reviewers!
I’m also excited to announce that I have signed with Crossroad Press to republish my out-of-print horror novels THE LAMPLIGHTERS (Bram Stoker Award® Finalist for Best First Novel), THE JACK IN THE GREEN and THE SKINTAKER. It feels good to be getting these evil offspring back into print! Crossroad Press did such a wonderful job publishing my DANIEL GATES ADVENTURES series of occult horror novellas.
I will post updates about cover art, release dates, and such, as and when I get them.
Until then, thanks (as ever) for reading,
Unsolicited desk pic: The impossible glamour of my writing desk in Dalian, China.
Takeshobo Tokyo HQ Photo By Lombroso (Public Domain)
Major publisher Take Shobo will release a Japanese translation of my Bram Stoker Award® Nominated horror novel The Lamplighters in ebook and paperback.
I’m excited about the translation, and the potential for my work to reach new Japanese readers.
And I’d love to be a fly on the wall when the poor translators get to the part where [spoiler] uses a syringe to extract [spoiler]’s buttock fat, before injecting it into his [spoiler] so that he can [spoiler] [spoiler]’s eye socket… (Sigh)
I will post the release date and cover art when I have them!
The results of this year’s Book Pipeline Competition, for writers with material suitable for Film/TV adaptation, have been announced and (insert fanfare here) I’m thrilled to announce that my novelThe Lamplighters is a Finalist!
It’s a real thrill to have The Lamplighters make the selection from over 900 entries.
Congratulations to Grand Prize winner Zach Fortier with I Am Raymond Washington. It sounds like a fascinating book and I am looking forward to reading (and seeing!) it.
Here’s the complete list of Book Pipeline 2015 Finalists and Semifinalists. Congrats to all who were selected:
Executive Outcomes by Nick Bicanic A Fistful of Clones by Seaton Kay-Smith The Lamplighters by Frazer Lee Stranded by Douglas Wentworth The Dress Thief by Natalie Meg Evans The Wet Woman by Alejandra Mattoni
Do Not Resuscitate by Nicholas Ponticello Jubilee by Jennifer Givhan Just a Theory by Annie Wood Monsterland by Michael Phillip Cash The Virus by Janelle Diller
What does this exciting news mean for The Lamplighters?
Well, in the coming weeks I will be consulting with the Book Pipeline and Script Pipeline development team to discuss the screen adaptation potential of my work.
I’ll keep you posted on any developments.
Thanks for reading,
Bram Stoker Award® Finalist for Best First Novel, The Lamplighters is available in ebook and paperback from:
Thanks to all who have been pre-ordering the book it is currently #4 in Samhain Publishing’s Top 10 Horror Bestsellers.
To celebrate I’ve given the old website a bit of an overhaul – hope you like the new look?
Have a browse around and be sure to check out the special Lamplighters page, where you can read an excerpt from the book and find links to pre-order the book in all major ebook formats for your Kindle, Nook or other newfangled e-reader device.
Paperback (or as some are calling them now, ‘Treebooks’ – I love that name) aficionados please note The Lamplighters trade paperback is out on 7th February 2012.
I will be running a Halloween competition to win a freebie so make sure you drop by and ‘Like’ the official Facebook page to be in with a chance of winning!
The Lamplighters is published by Samhain Horror, which launched this month under the supervision of Editor (and genre legend) Don D’Auria with exciting releases from authors both established and new.