Thursday, 31 August 2017

Three Dreams In The Key Of G

In October my new novel will be published by Dead Ink Books. "Three Dreams In The Key Of G" tackles many large themes, from parenting and child development, through "Nature" versus "Nurture", sectarian politics to what it means to be human. Part parenting guide, part mother's journal of despair, the book is full of bitter humour (some extracts can be found here).

Stylistically the book is quite daring as well, with visuals, two different sized alphabets (our 26 letter and DNA's 4 letter alphabet), as the book drills down beneath the level of word to that of the letters themselves).

Three very powerful female characters, Mother, Crone and genetic Creatrix. None of them will meekly submit to their besiegers. Their three narrative voices, intercut and interweave with one another. In a sense, all three are palimpsests, constantly writing over, and being written by, one of the other two. Whether they are aware or not, they are being informed by another intimate voice so close at hand, as to be under the skin. 

In post Peace Agreement Northern Ireland, a young mother feels besieged. Both by the demands of motherhood and her militant Loyalist husband, decommissioned with the advent of Peace and thrown back into the world of the domestic hearth; whither the violence of his soul? To stop her mind becoming silted up through inactivity, surrounded by the infantile and the exasperating, she maintains a journal. Through which she pursues questions of nature versus nurture in the development of her children, within a divided society such as Northern Ireland, proffering its rarefied environment of acquired symbol and historical legacy. Only, why is her journal all out of sequence and what meaning can it therefore provide to answer her despairing question, 'why do we even have children?'

In Florida, a British septuagenarian with no papers and no official existence, also finds herself under a state of siege. Her community is currently surrounded by FBI, ATF and DEA armed agents. Yet they are not a sect of any kind, rather a refuge for battered women. And while it is true she does have a scheme for redrawing the map of the world, it could hardly be said to be a doomsday scenario. Except maybe, if you're a male of the species. Her fight is for hearts and minds, which might explain why her principal manifestation appears to be through the internet. Where lurk useful allies for her in the war of information technology.

In commercial laboratories all over the world, the human genome is being decoded and compiled. Or ravished and dissected depending on your point of view. What is that textual voice feedbacking through the monitors? Protesting the assault; challenging the epistemologies of both scientist and theologian; chiding us for our linear notions of relationship, the depleted metaphors with which we construct thought and even our 26 letter alphabet in the face of the genome's intricate weaves formed from combinations of just 4 letters. Goading us that we will never unravel the mystery that lies behind the genetic code, unless we open up our very natures to unlimited potential. 

Here is a small extract from the Northern Irish mother as she realises her daughter has reached an important developmental stage

You can pre-order "Three Dreams In The Key Of G" direct from the publisher here

paperback £10.00
hardback £20.00
PDF for e-readers £7.00

For incentive prizes for purchase, see here; the chance to win all 5 of my flash fiction collections, a unique personalised flash fiction story I will write for you, a limited edition sculpture or my latest beautifully designed (not by me) chapbook with 24 stories. 

Pledges Mean Prizes - Incentives for pre-ordering my new novel

In October, my fifth novel "Three Dreams In The Key Of G" will be published by Dead Ink Books. You can read full details of the book and view a 3-minute reading by me from the book here.

For the month of August, the publishers Dead Ink Books are crowdfunding for mine along with 4 other new fiction books they are releasing between now and the end of the year. This is the money that will determine the size of the print run for the books, that is how many copies they will be able to get printed up.

A pledge to the crowdfunder at the very minimum serves as a pre-order purchase of the book(s) you pledge to. In addition, I am offering the following prizes as incentives to pledge either to my book alone, or to bundles of all 5 books.

Incentive 1) Five lucky people who pledge £10 to buy a copy of my book during the crowdfunder, will be entered into a draw to win a copy of my chapbook "Viciss-Etudes", hand designed, illustrated and bound by the wonderfully talented Little Appleseed. The chapbook has 24 of my flash fiction tales and offers something very different from your usual chapbook.

Incentive 2) For three lucky pledgers of a bundle of all 5 novels in e-book format, for the princely sum of £25, I will match it with a bundle of mine own - All 5 of my flash fiction collections in Kindle format, so you will need to have a Kindle e-reader to take advantage of this prize. There is no geographical limit to this, unlike the other analogue prizes which are limited to the UK and EU states. 

Incentive 3) For those of you who have watched my video reading from the novel, you might have noticed the sculpted female torso figure in the foreground. This original art work will be awarded to one lucky winner drawn from those who pledge for a signed hardback copy of my novel.


Incentive 4) For anyone generous enough to pledge for the hardback and original artwork for the cover, at the princely sum of £80, I will pen them an exclusive flash fiction story - both the handwritten draft version and then the mint typed version, signed and dated by me and framed. If you want, you can give me some elements you want incorporated into the story, such as a character name, or three words I have to use, or anything else that takes your fancy. This will be a limited edition of precisely 1! If there is more than one pledger, then each will get an original story. 

So there you have it. By pledging anything, you get my new novel at the very least. With a bit of luck, you could win one of the prizes I've listed above.

Many thanks and I hope you enjoy everything that's on offer.


Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Excerpts from "Three Dreams In The Key Of G"

My new novel "Three Dreams In The Key Of G" is available for pre-order throughout August. For prizes and incentives for ordering, see here

The synopsis can be read here. 

Here are some extracts from the novel

Friday, 18 August 2017

What Did The Ancient Greeks Ever Do For Us?

I mean apart from democracy, philosophy, architecture, statuary and theatre, what did the Greeks ever give us? They always come off favourably in comparison with the supposedly more barbarian and plagiarist Romans, but for 'democracy' you also had 'despotism' (read Plato's "The Republic" which shows the way democracy can very easily slide into tyranny through its own lack of true awareness of important values). However it's the philosophy and the theatre which I really want to challenge for the supreme value of their heritage as it has passed down to us. 

I'm not going to say too much about the philosophy, except where it has resonance in art. Plato's phenomenalism is a crucial concept to how we perceive reality, with his famous example of slaves in a cave viewing the shadows thrown on the cave walls by their fire, equating to perceptive reality for these slaves who have never seen the world outside of the cave. He derives this example through his belief that the whole world of appearances which we take for reality, is but a degraded version of true reality and (aesthetic/mathematical) beauty.

For the highest existence of any object is its ideal form and in our world, actual objects never attain such an ideal form. Now this represents an important way of thinking & perceiving even in our modern world. Of course there are no 'ideal' forms of objects, but what there are is linguistic nouns which categorise all sorts of various 'non-ideal' forms of similar things; all breeds of dogs are 'Dogs' is the simplest representation of this. But consider something more debatable - is a flatpack table in Ikea's warehouse still a table before it gets sold and erected? Is a slave or hired prostitute at an orgy, who is ordered to bend over so that food can be served from their naked back, are they a table? Is the ammo box that the soldier utilises while on patrol to quickly scoff down his rations, a table, or is it still only an ammo box containing rocket propelled grenades? 

Phenomenalism and particularly Nominal Phenomenalism, means that the supposed evidence of our senses and particularly the dominant one of sight, actually goes through a pre-filter of language, grouping similar things together as a shorthand that may not in fact do justice to the complexity of 'reality'. And this filter of language is of course the mainstay and dominant tool of us writers. We can use it to not only describe reality, but to challenge its consensus by really examining its linguistic short-cuts. So we could and possibly should be challenging accepted reality and showing how it has been constructed. Those writers and philosophers who study signs and symbols (semiologists) do this on one level, but writers can bring it to the linguistic realm. 

Now let's come to Greek Theatre. It is absolutely entwined with politics in Ancient Greece, that politics being in the main direct participatory democracy (the military oligarchy of Sparta didn't produce much in the way of playwrights). Plays in Athens were performed during religious festivals, the rest of the time the theatres in the small administrative demes were used for political meetings of the whole community entitled to vote. Plays in these festivals were in competition and accordingly were sponsored by patrons, most of whom were professional politicians, else citizens who wanted to wield influence. Many plays debated the issues of recent or contemporary events, while comedies lambasted real prominent citizens to their faces sat there in the audience, to remind them of their place to serve the Polis rather than their own interests. The ancient Greek word for playwright has as its root 'teacher' or trainer, while the word 'Praxis' which Aristotle coined for the dramatic action, also stands for a body of practical political action.  

So Greek plays were not politically neutral and for all their show at having both sides of the debate (much like Plato's dialectic philosophical style), actually there was really only one message either the playwright, or his patron wanted to impart (just like Plato's "Republic", though his other dialectic works were more ambiguous and even handed in their conclusions). Plays were always geared to preaching to their audience and that audience were those with the vote in the democracy (so not women or slaves who were excluded from voting). The plays preached reasoned debate, when in fact they were tilting for a single point of view, with their own constructed democracy as the highest value (not an 'ideal' one in Plato's eyes, far from it as above). Those individualist citizens who weren't team players, or those with a tendency towards demagoguery, were constantly being defeated on stage.

For such men displayed 'hubris', that is the excess of pride in imagining yourself above your station within the society. Any individual citizen who wasn't a team player, was regarded as having hubris and all Tragic dramas in the Greek canon had men brought low by their hubris. Indeed even the word 'hero' which reverberates so powerfully in our own society, initially emerged from Greek theatre, not existing outside of that context beforehand. The dramatic hero is a demiurge, that is a man who sees himself superior to his fellow man, halfway to being a god and of course, such tragic heroes are felled by their hubris. The stage actors had to play both heroes and gods, an act and an appropriation involving of hubris in itself just in case any of them got ideas above their station. Hubris implicitly reinforces a 'know your place' attitude, for to flout it inevitably means personal destruction. 

The clinching point about this propagandist theatre comes from a word the Greek's themselves coined, 'catharsis'. Catharsis means a purging, initially a purification in the religious sense. But when applied to the theatre by Aristotle in "Poetics" it has a more manipulative meaning. Theatre, in line with praxis, is vicarious, the audience experience the play as brought to them by the actors. We don't know whether they were passive in the amphitheatres, or like Shakespeare's 'Pit' rowdy & interactive with the stage. But by the end of a tragedy, having seen Orestes put out his own eyes, or the abasement and cruelty visited upon "The Trojan Women", or the double suicide of the lovers to conclude "Antigone", the audience are purged of their passions through the very extremity of the emotions wrought in them by the action on stage. That is, the playwright has taken them on such a journey, they are useless for anything at the end of the play. Certainly no call to action, only the playwright's sly reinforcement of whatever particular message he was putting across and the audience too played out to resist that message. Wrung out and spent, they go home marvelling at the stagecraft, story and spectacle, confirmed in the moral teaching the playwright conveyed. 

I could go on about how the heritage from the Greeks has further hamstrung us in our modern age. That Greek philosophy's main thrust was seeking to answer the question 'what constitutes a good life?', which for Plato, in the context of a city, was living a 'Just' life. For Aristotle it was living a balanced life, avoiding excess at either end of the spectrum of behaviour. Now this may or may not be a reasonable philosophical question to consider (I would say there are more pressing ones along the line of what is man, why is he here on earth, what is he supposed to achieve in his short life?) But - and you can't necessarily blame the Greeks for this, their inquiry into goodness was hijacked and taken on by the Christian theologian-cum-philosophers, whose answer was of course faith in God and following a set of moral and behavioural commandments. Again, a rigid moral unilateralism that is today in tatters and has led to the evils of slavery, colonialism, subjection of women and our own bodies, which have only furthered the crippling issues we face today. 

So yes, I do declare, what have the Ancient Greeks done for us, except to set up the parameters by which we have navigated to our very troubling modern age? 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Literary Lacrosse Stick Quiz!

Yesterday I did an author Twitter takeover of my publishers Dead Ink Books  As part of the mayhem & madness, I set a 25 question quiz, with questions posed as crossword cryptic clues. (Hence the title, Literary Lacrosse Stick, to represent that my new novel has a couple of acrostics in it).

In case you weren't able to join in but have a hankering to pit your wits, here are the questions again.

I give the cryptic clue to the book title, the year of publication and the country of origin of the author.

Here's an example for you:  Junky American author’s unadorned repast (5,5) 1959


I'll publish the answers on the blog in a couple of days.

Happy solving!

1) UK author’s ossified time keepers (3,4,6) 2014 

2) Russian MA (Hons) celebrates with a salted rimmed glass of tequila & triple sec (3,6,3,9) 1967 

3) Polish émigré switches off all the lights at the hub (5,2,8) 1899 

4) Manchester author’s wind-up citrus fruit (1,9,6) 1962

5) Korean eschewer of animal comestibles (3,10) 2007

6) All change for this Czech, but the DNA remains exactly the same (3,13) 1915  

7) Junky author’s vermillion nocturnal municipalities (6,2,3,3,5) 1981

8) Anglo-Dutchman’s Sub-subcutaneous? (5,3,4)  2000

9) Pacifist Yorkshireman’s Infernal unison (3,6,6) 2006 

10) Yugoslav Civil Service as the source of agonies? (3,8,2,4) 2006

11) Austrian sporting custodian’s twitchiness in the face of punitive leathering (3,11,7,2,3,7,4) 1970 

12) Japanese Alice eschews egg-timer for the final apocalypse (4-6,10,3,3,3,2,3,5) 1985 

13) US author has Theseus’ conquest submit to its craving for nicotine (3,8,5,1,9,5) 2000 

14) Modern day French misanthrope would gladly blow each and every one of us to bits (8) 1998 

15) Orphaned NYC Borough (10,8) 1999 

16) Irish author’s nominal aphasia? (3,9) 1953

17) Count on this midday British author’s attribution of the cause of hay fever (6) 1995 

18) American writer’s ignited abecedary (5,8) 2012

19) Frenchman’s 26th and last, the back to the beginning for the first (4) 2010

20) American author relocates Hades between Brooklyn’s Polo grounds and Dallas (10) 1997 

21) Scottish author double negative rejection of state benefits amid mañana (3,3,5,3,4) 1983 

22) French author drops a quartet of aitches? (1-1-1-1) 2010

23) Nothing to sneeze at Russian SciFi author putting murder up his nose (5) 2011 

24) English author’s tale of the dictator of London’s W11 (3,8,2,7,4) 1904 

25) US once-a-decade novelist’s nuptial plans? (3,8,4) 2011 

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Can A Writer Also Be An Activist?

I salute the authors and publishing professionals who responded to the Grenfell Tower disaster by setting up an online auction which raised three and a half times its £50,000 target. An impressive, heartfelt humanitarian response. Yet not a political one. Indeed the victims have said that funds are not the issue, instead demanding answers as to the causes of the tragedy and lobbying Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s inquiry for the widest terms of reference possible. Society-wide terms so that they can determine their place and value in a society where the Grenfell fire can rage in so devastating a manner. 

The word author is hard to yoke to the word activism. Writing is a sedentary occupation, save for the odd writer like Hemingway standing up to write in a physicality vaguely suggestive of a manual trade. Potters are also sedentary artists, but in addition to their hands, one of their feet is working to rotate the wheel. Writing retreats are very popular with authors, the opportunity to get away from the distractions of the everyday world in order to pen your words within the cocoon of Nature, Wordsworthian or not. I can’t see how this would foster the atmosphere of a gritty urban thriller, but then I don’t write them.

Musicians don’t seem to be so hamstrung from activism. After all they are most active in their stage performance, they are bound by distinct rhythms (unlike the rhythms silently imagined by the author sat at their desk) and slogans can be handily and catchily bound up in simple chants drawing on popular songs. Jeremy Corbyn gets a rousing reception at Glastonbury, while in London’s inner boroughs, Grime artists will tell you it was them what mobilised the youth vote for their main man MC Jezza. However, the audience for books is a discrete one, since reading is undertaken alone and rarely does an author have a stage bringing together the numbers to convene the significant assemblage of a band in concert or at a festival.

Authors don’t have to be excluded from being viewed as activists. In France, Sartre, de Beauvoir and Camus were at the head of any 1960s political demonstration going. Novelist André Malraux had a stint as  the Minister of Cultural Affairs. But Britain lacks for much of a recent history of activist authors. Harold Pinter and Lady Antonia Fraser were notable exceptions, but part of their activism occurred through high end dinner parties. JK Rowling publicly expresses her political views through social media, but was recently rounded on by fellow author Joanna Trollope for such action representing a mere indulgence of ego. Or worse, that exploiting her popularity to leverage support for a cause, somehow strikes at the gravitas of serious wordsmithery. 

It’s not hard to write a political novel. But it’s hard getting the timing right for its relevance, seeing that a week is a long time in politics and issues perpetually change and move on. So if you wanted to sit down and write a book provoked by the tragedy of Grenfell Tower, it would be ready to hit the bookshops probably only marginally before any official government inquiry had reached its conclusions; yes that long! Firstly it takes at least a year for an author to write a complete work from scratch and that’s assuming they either have it plotted out, or a pretty good idea of it if they tend to eschew planning. Then if they have a deal with one of the big publishing houses, their work will probably be slated for release two years hence, so far in advance are publication schedules. A seemly group of pop stars can gather in a recording studio and record a song to highlight a cause in a single working day, digitised and downloadable within the same week. Of course an author can take to Kindle and swiftly publish a single short story, or publish it on their own website, but it’s just not going to have the same impact. And save us from another hastily put together rapid response anthology of stories, that bear no relationship to one another, let alone to the cause espoused in the introduction. 

But then timing is always an issue in any art form that seeks to engage with the world. JG Ballard wrote three books between 1973-75 inspired by the very urban landscape and architecture of that part of North Kensington where Grenfell Tower is situated. “Crash”, “High Rise” and “Concrete Island” are seeped in the trunk road The Westway, around which North Kensington’s tower blocks stand upright and austere. Each book involves a political and psychological analysis pertinent to the issues of the area, that were finally laid bare by the flames that engulfed Grenfell Tower. Yet Ballard’s vision predated even the hand wringing and finger pointing back to the politics of the 1980s by a full decade. Yet Ballard was not overtly an activist. And that is the point of the political novelist, the activist writer. You have to be in it for the long haul. You can’t simply dip in and out when a single issue gets your political gander up and provokes you into a literary (or fundraising) response. You’re never writing about your themes completely from scratch, but as part of your continuum of subjects. Ballard's artistic and philosophical influence continues through the writers and film-makers who channel his ideas today. 

The true activist author keeps chipping away with his or her critical vision, with their constant commitment to looking beneath the surface of society and one day maybe, their ideas come into fashion for their ‘timely’ resonance. An activist author can address rallies, go on “Newsnight" to debate with an MP, take to Twitter, or pen an opinion piece for a broadsheet. But ultimately, their activism is really their sustained body of work in the political sphere, using fiction to speak to truth. 

For my piece on just how we end up at a Grenfell Tower disaster, read here. 

Thursday, 10 August 2017

HouDiniVD - Flash Fiction

The illusionist clasped his hands together at his diaphragm in ham piety, as two black-clad stagehands brandished a straitjacket at him like bullfighters. His glamorous gold bikini abettor snatched his wrists and wrenched his hands apart with a flourish, as if she was performing a conjuration of her own so a dove might fly free. The two assistants strapped him into his restraints. Miss Direction then circled him with a wrap of chains, sinuously bending down to apply the keys in the padlocks. She then gave the links a yank to test their resolve, with a relish that prompted conspiratorial stage whispers in the stalls that the pair carried on the same relationship beyond the spill of the footlights. 

He ascended the steps with confined gait and pivoted one leg over the rim of the water tank. He swivelled his torso to turn and face the audience, took an exaggerated breath, before swiftly swinging his other leg and sinking to the bottom of the tank.  A lid was placed over his indoor Davy Jones Locker.

His body started to gently writhe, like the fronds on a coral reef wafting in the undertow. The chains bucked and twisted like metal seaweed on the tide. 

“They’re pumping oxygen into the tank for him!”
“How does he breathe it in without equipment then?”
“Look, you can see the bubbles!”
“You must have 40-20 vision to see that from up here in the gods”.

The PA was playing a heartbeat, perhaps they had mic’d up the illusionist in the tank. The tempo started to increase, suggestive of an urgency to the heart’s pumping. The movements from within the white canvas shroud were more spasmodic though with greater amplitude, causing a greater swell of the water. The audience began to serrate their own breathing as they watched on. 

The torso in its tethers had stopped moving. Only one the legs intermittently convulsed. The two black-clad assistants sprinted over to the tank. One scaled the steps, worked off the lid and handed it to his partner. Then he dived into the water while the other took up position on the top step. Between the two of them they levered the illusionist out of the water and manoeuvred him back down to the stage floor. The audience was hushed as they saw the water rivulets forge from the illusionist’s still body. The woman ran over and threw herself down to her knees and started mouth to mouth resuscitation. No one now dared to speculate about this being an extension of their lives beyond the theatre. 

“If he was still alive, wouldn’t he be shivering?”
“Not if he’s gone into shock maybe?”
“That’s not very convincing heart massage. This is all part of the act”.
“How can they possibly do it properly with the chains still on him?”

The water had stopped flowing from his body. There was no rising chest to impel it down inclines of his inert body. The stage curtain started shuffling across. Only one foot peeked out from under the drape, utterly, utterly still. Had they stopped working on him on the other side of the material? 

“Wow, that was something!”
“That’s what you call a real showstopper!”
“You’re joking aren’t you? I want my money back!”
“Why? He most definitely gave us a show didn’t he?”
“Gave it everything he’s got. Had”.
“Dying on stage? It’s the way to go for anyone in show business”.
“Not comedians”.
“You’re awful the lot of you. A man just died out there. For our entertainment”.
“It’s what he would have wanted”.
“It’s what his agent and publisher would have wanted at the least”.

The PA system announcement began, “Ladies and gentlemen, we are sorry to have to inform you”. The audience picked up their coats started filing out all abuzz. Too busy opining to finish their drinks or their toffees. They swarmed over the stairs as the volume rose beneath the high vaulted ceilings. They flowed into the foyer, whereupon they were confronted with the sight of the illusionist. Not two-dimensional on the giant panels on the billboards, but stood there in the flesh. Wet, shivering, shaking hands and handing out leaflets. 

“Thanks for coming tonight… Hope you enjoyed the show… Thanks you so much… Had you going for a bit there right…? Don’t forget to buy my DVD from the stall over there… Yes all my best illusions are on there… You can spend as much time as you want playing it over and over again, you won’t spot how I do the tricks… Thanks for coming out tonight…”

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Cover Reveal - Three Dreams In The Key Of G

I have a new novel (my fifth) coming out in October, published by Dead Ink Books. As part of my book deal, the cover art would be designed by a designer of their choice. They opted for artist Michael Lacey who has had exhibitions of his art in Scotland, London and the North-West. 

The Dead Ink authors were each asked to fill in a questionnaire about our book (produced below) for the artist to start from. 

Normally I have an idea for what might go on the cover, but this time I was really struggling; the only two notions I had were both a bit kitsch, which doesn't fit the tone of the book. Fortunately Michael came up with a brilliant design, which I am delighted to share with you now. 

The first thing is I love the colour and the strength of the hues. But what's really ingenious is how Michael has designed the image of thorny flowers with molecular structures. Finally there are subtle, shadowy outline of a machine gun. In another blog post I'll talk about the themes of the book so you can see how Michael has perfectly captured those in this arresting cover design. 

Even though Dead Ink employed three different artists for their covers, there is a detectable style that links all the book covers together so that I think you can tell they come from the same literary stable. No mean feat considering this involved three different artists each with their own unique approach to art and design. Here are some of the other covers.



Here is the questionnaire with my responses:

Please provide a brief cover blurb for your book:

Three very powerful female characters, Mother, Crone and genetic Creatrix,  none of whom will meekly submit to their besiegers. Whether they are aware or not, they are being informed by another intimate voice so close at hand, as to be under the skin. Will the language they are able to draw on, be sufficiently robust to meet their enquiries, or will it betray them and lead the triumph of their besiegers? 

Main themes of the book:

Nature V Nurture (false binary)
Human genome, science (and Frankenstein science). What makes us human?
Human reproduction 
Northern Ireland religious divide
Reintegrating paramilitary men of violence back into a peaceful society
Parenting - why do we as a species have children?
The SI system of units of measurement & how all measurement is iniquitous

Main characters:

Jean Ome (Northern Irish mother of two daughters)
Jean Ohm (octogenarian cult leader/ battered women’s refuge leader)
Genome (the human genome being dissected & coded by scientists)

Are there any art movements/styles that match, are included in, or inspired your book?

Wall murals during the Troubles in Ulster
Calligraphy is a minor theme of the book

Are there any pieces of art that influenced your book or appear in it? (Paintings, books, films, music, etc.)

No. I am a big fan of Mark Rothko, not sure if it’s relevant

If you had to choose three four (!) words to describe your book what would they be:

pentimento/ palimpsest *

* the 3 characters are unknown to each other, yet each influences and overwrites the next one in an unending circle. 

Are there any colours that you think are particularly relevant to your book?

Notionally the Orange Order and Green of Irish Republicanism set against one another

Are there any props or items relevant to your book?

A journal in which all the pages have come loose and are out of order.
A lambeg drum
A baby’s calibrated milk bottle (empty, stained with milk swash)

For what it’s worth I always envisaged part or all of the cover being a garden gnome with a fishing rod dipping into a pool/pond of sperm like tadpoles, with a Preppy letter ‘G’ on his preppy shirt. However I have also contemplated this may be too kitschy and jokey which goes against the themes of the book. So I am neutral on this. 

Are there any locations relevant to your book?

Omagh, Northern Ireland
The laboratories where the human genome is being coded
A (cult) compound in the USA

Is there anything that you DON’T want to feature on your cover?

Can’t think of anything

You can pre-order my new novel during August from the publishers here