Hello. On the blog this time it my pleasure to hand over to a very talented writer, Aidan Thorn. Aidan has recently released his excellent second collection of short stories on Near to the knuckle publishing, which I reviewed on here last time (see Mazy run 5, below if you missed it). So…Over to Aidan.
When I wrote my first collection of short stories coming up with a title was relatively easy. Every story in that collection involved a crime and so, Criminal Thoughts was born. This time it was a little trickier. See, since completing Criminal Thoughts I’ve tried to broaden my range a little. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still primarily a crime writer but I’ve tried to do two things, write different genres and write strong characters. Characters that you can get inside the head of even if you don’t want to. Characters that you can understand, not agree with, but see how they got where they are.
When it came to putting this collection together I found I had a real range of characters that had led to a more diverse collection of stories. Yes, there are still gangsters and coppers, but this time there are a lot more ordinary folk caught up in extraordinary situations. There are office workers and small business owners and we get to see more of the life that surrounds the characters, the co-workers, the friends and the families affected by the central stories. I guess what I’ve tried to suggest with this collection is we’re never really sure who’s who and what’s going on in seemingly ordinary lives. And, often we’re closer to a story than we ever really realise. My last collection primarily kept the criminals and the crime operating in their own world, with occasional straying into ordinary lives. This time I’ve put Joe Public right alongside the criminals or given them problems of their own, problems that we hear about every day but probably never think much about the consequences unless they’re happening to us.
My last collection was complimented for the amount of humour I managed to inject into a lot of my stories of dark deeds. I’m not sure there are many, if any, laughs in this particular collection, but it’s definitely a collection of work I’m very pleased with. I think the stories are strong and entertaining with a lot more heart than I’ve previously written. Just don’t expect the corners of your mouth to turn north too often when you’re reading it. This time I hope readers will stop at the end of each story and feel some connection to it because the characters involved had had an impact on them.
Simply put this is a collection of stories about people living in a city. Stories from the dark underbelly of a city, an underbelly that sometimes pops up and drags people in. And, so this time I called it Urban Decay, it’s about more than crime, it’s about desperation, depression, vulnerability, debt, bankruptcy – the struggle to keep move forward.
Sounds like a lovely read, right? Go grab a copy, cheer yourself up! In all honesty, although, as you’d expect from a book called, Urban Decay, it’s got some pretty dark themes and I don’t think I’m going anything away if I tell you, not everyone makes it out alive there’s also a lot of hope and moments when the reader will feel heartened – I promise.
NEXT TIME ON ANOTHER MAZY RUN: Maybe something about Borneo, travel…shit like that.