1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who took that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure.
Welcome to my spot on the Blog Tour for Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski, published by Orenda Books in paperback on 15 March 2017.
I read and reviewed Six Stories here on Random Things back in January this year, and loved every page of it. Here's a snippet from my review:
"Six Stories is genre busting, it's a crime story, a psychological thriller, a coming-of-age story. I will appeal to readers of all ages and genders. Gripping, fascinating and wholly entertaining, Matt Wesolowski is a very welcome new voice in fiction. An absolute triumph and highly recommended from me."
I'm delighted to welcome the author to Random Things today, he's talking about My Life In Books.
My Life In Books ~ Matt Wesolowski
Back in primary school I hated maths as much as I hate it now. Maybe not such vehement hate now but numbers still hold little interest and make little sense to me, I have no time for them, numbers can get lost. Back then I felt the same way about other kids.
Carpet time in year 6, my teacher played a game that drew forth a terrible dread and sent me scurrying to the far corner of said carpet, hunkering down and pretending to be invisible, lest she direct a question from the pile of laminated maths cards on her lap toward me.
My hiding place from the maths bombardment in primary school was the vast book shelf. Whilst multiplication and fractions rained around me, I read Stig of the Dump.
That's kind of an apt metaphor for my entire life.
My dad read me The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and my mum read me Michael Rosen poems when I was a kid. For Christmas presents my parents used to pirate copy me audio books on cassette from the library as well as record themselves reading stories and poems. I treasured those cassettes and listened to them long into my teens.
Nothing to Be Afraid Of by Jan Mark, a collection of wonderfully idiosyncratic short stories was my favourite audio book as a child. I was quite an insular boy and spent countless hours in my bedroom listening to it. To this day, I know most of the stories by heart.
Going Home by K.M Peyton - a story of two children from a problem family trying to make their way home from a holiday in France was another one that I eventually wore out in my personal stereo.
My parents, eh? 1980s OGs on the pirate audio scene.
The book that cemented my desire to be a writer, I read, ironically, on a holiday in France when I was 12. Del-Del byVictor Kelleher is a young adult novel about a girl whose younger brother becomes possessed. Reading this was the first moment where a book scared and enthralled me so much, I wanted to be able to do that to people with my own words.
It also sparked my lifelong love of horror.
I read all the Point Horror books that were somewhat of a craze in the early 90s before progressing onto The Rats trilogy by James Herbert. Then came Stephen King and It, the reading of which I can only compare to religious people having some sort of epiphany. Then came Niall Griffiths, Kevin Sampson and John King, Grits, Awaydays and The Football Factory meant a great deal to me as a teenager. I loved the visceral, stream-of-thought style and the fact that these writers did not pull punches.
Then my English teacher recommended I read The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe on the day I left school (with more anger and bad memories than GCSEs I may add!). This was another book that felt like a milestone in my life. Like King (Jon) in its directness with the subtle poetry of Roddy Doyle or Cormack McCarthy, McCabe's novel about a boy's descent into madness in small town Ireland wielded a power over me that only piqued my voracious book appetite and my desire to write.
My adult life has been spent at all times with a book by my side. I am now much more open minded to different genres that I was when I was younger. I like books to move me, to leave a scar or else fill me with inspiration, two recent ones that have done so are:
Stoner by JohnWilliams - a deeply mesmerising and powerful slow-burner about the sad and quiet life of a man. The craftsmanship of this novel is where its strength lies.
Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes - Beukes is one of those aspiration authors whom everything she touches is gold. This dark, Detroit-set crime thriller is everything I want in gritty reality with an effortless blend of the supernatural.
The biggest perks of becoming a writer, for me anyway, is the access to advance copies of books!
Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor and leads Cuckoo Young Writers creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North.
Matt started his writing career in horror and his short horror fiction has been published in Ethereal Tales magazine, Midnight Movie Creature Feature anthology, 22 More Quick Shivers anthology and many more.
His debut novella The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013 and a new novella set in the forests of Sweden will be available shortly.
Follow him on Twitter @ConcreteKraken