I’m delighted to announce that Tomorrow, When I Was Young has been accepted by Eibonvale Press, for publication as a chapbook in 2019. This is particularly exciting on several levels – a stand alone publication is a big vote of confidence, and Eibonvale Press is a UK publisher – the first in this country, apart from Andy Martin, to publish my fiction for more than a decade. EP’s David Rix was calling for long short stories with an emphasis on magical realism and surrealism and it felt right to send him the manuscript. Thanks to David for having faith in me. If you check out the website, you’ll see how striking and individual the press’ book covers are, so it will be extremely interesting to see what they do for my chapbook.
I’ve now finished all my collaborative projects and am able to reconsider the new story I began a while ago – which has a working title of Sky Eyes. At present, I only have one piece of finished fiction – The Cruor Garland – that hasn’t been placed. As previously stated, I am in no hurry to send any more work to publishers, so it will sit awhile and I will continue to work on it for my own purposes. The Cruor Garland is a fairly Gothic story, hopefully remininscent of 1970s British horror films/tv, but with a far more contemporary attitude, ie the protagonist is of Central or South American origin in a very English establishment setting. Of course, I have to consider what purposes this story will serve. There is usually at least a hint of transformation in most of my work, on various and different levels, and this one features a man being transformed, firstly by the sadness of divorce and then by something possibly far more malevolent. It does, perhaps, reflect the last few years, where much about myself and my life has been changed and some orientation is needed.
We Are All Falling Towards The Centre Of The Earth has been getting some extremely positive reviews and feedback. Author Tom Adams describes it as an “enchanting collection…reminiscent of the best that authors such as Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick or Robert Aickman can offer,” while author Priya Sharma states it has “the same bold surrealness….of Leonora Carrington. It’s utterly strange and beguiling”. Bearing in mind how much of my work has been overlooked by reviewers in the past (with some notable exceptions), it’s certainly been overwhelming to find this reaction. Additionally, Andy Martin has recorded an audio version of Beautiful Silver Spacesuits and uploaded it (in Parts 1 and 2) on YouTube. I think he’s done a grand job – the sound effects give it a very 1970s radio feel – and I’m grateful to him for the effort he’s put into this.
Vastarien has had a good reception, from what I can tell, with Des Lewis stating my contribution, Trigger, is “unique, I suspect”! And I hope to be able to make an announcement about a major project, due in the Autumn, soon.
I’m very happy to announce that Issue 2 of Vastarien has now been published, which includes a story by me. Trigger is much shorter than my usual fare, but is probably the most brutal and intense piece of fiction I’ve ever written. It was distressing to write but it needed to be done – and if it helps even one person to understand certain states of mind, then that would be a wonderful bonus. I’m impatiently waiting for my contributor copy to arrive – I’m very interested in what this journal, dedicated to the work and ideas of Thomas Ligotti, contains. If the front cover is anything to go by, it’ll be dark and beautiful. Vastarien is available from Amazon.
A couple of very kind reviews of We Are All Falling… have appeared. Author Kathryn L Ramage wrote this on Amazon: “This is a collection of short stories of macabre fantasy by British author Julie Travis. Most are set in the UK or Europe in modern and realistic locations, with the uncanny just a step or two away, but at least one seems to take place in an antipodean other-world not far from Australia. Travis’s work is strange and imaginative, sometimes disturbing, often sad, but also occasionally beautiful. The ones I liked best feel as if they ended too soon, as if these were only the first chapters of longer stories. But perhaps it’s a good thing to be left wanting more. As I read these stories, elements in them reminded me of the grotesqueries of Clive Barker, the dark fairytales of Tanith Lee and Angela Carter, the wild countryside of Arthur Machen haunted by pagan gods and lesser beings, and even a little bit of Lovecraft, but there are also startling images and ideas like nothing I’ve read before.”
Des Lewis has also treated the book to one of his intense Real-Time Gestalt Reviews, and I’ve reblogged the entire thing here. There are possible spoilers in this, so be warned.
I’m extremely grateful to both for taking the time to write about the book. Other feedback has compared the stories with either the style or the work of Anais Nin, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges. It’s extremely interesting to have these new comparisons; it’s only Nin’s work that I’m in any way familiar with. I think it proves how my writing has changed over the years, although it’s also true that the comparisons with Clive Barker and Thomas Ligotti linger, so I still clearly have my roots in a particular style of horror/dark fantasy!
We Are All Falling Towards The Centre Of The Earth, published by Wapshott Press, is finally now available from Amazon, in paperback and Kindle formats. Once again, I must apologise for the mess of the original launch.
Today is the third anniversary of the passing of Ian Johnstone, to whom the book is dedicated.
Greetings on this Solstice day, wherever you are in the world.
I’m delighted to announce that my new short story collection is now available from Wapshott Press and Amazon (paperback and Kindle versions). There is, perhaps, an accidental theme in this book, having (mostly) been written in the years following the death of my Mother and of a close friend. But at least one of the stories is a good, old fashioned horror tale, albeit with contemporary characters and settings. If I was trying to pin down what I do, the closest I could get would be, “feminist/queer/pagan/surrealist/occultist/dark fantasy”. Not necessarily in that order. But should I pin it down? People, including myself, like points of reference, landmarks and suchlike. Ideally, an open mind should be kept about all things – but when was the last time I read a book that wasn’t from my various genres or obsessions?
The cover photo is a detail from the Jhonn Balance Memorial Woodland, Cumbria, England, taken in April 2016. It seemed appropriate to add a green hue when taking the photo; for me, green stands for Life, nature, the environment. The location is extremely relevant to the theme of the book in various ways, and I’m really happy that editor Ginger Mayerson went with this image.
Story notes for all the tales in this book will appear soon.
Devon band The Morales, who asked permission to use a photo of mine on a forthcoming release, have now changed their name to the Wish Hounds and will release their first EP at the end of May. My photo of Bodmin Gaol should appear in some form on the back cover. I’m really looking forward to seeing this and am delighted for the band. I know from experience how many obstacles can get in the way of these things, so all power to them for persevering.
Wapshott Press are now working on various aspects of the book and I’ve been updating my bio and the Foreword as well as providing some ‘blurb’ for the back cover/Amazon etc. I still don’t know what the cover will look like, but there is now a publication date: 21 June 2018. I could have asked for an earlier date, but it feels right to release We Are All Falling Towards The Centre Of The Earth on the Summer Solstice. An article on folklore and the landscape should appear online a couple of weeks before the book’s publication – I’ll reveal where when it appears!
I’m making slow progress with a new short story, The Plastic Factory, but am currently focussing on lengthening my piece for Birds And Boys. It’s possible I’ll publish the new story here when it’s finished.