Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Witchcraft in the Harem

The Great Witchcraft in the Harem blog tour of 2013 kicks off today right here, and will be visiting a number of great blogs over the next two weeks.

I've started in the middle there. Let me backtrack.

Yesterday my first collection of short stories was published. I've changed genre since I was published by Macmillan, and am now writing what you could call literary fantasy. Well, whatever it is, it's still pushing out the boat of weirdness and hoisting the mainsail of unpredictability.

You’re running away from something terrible. You think you’ve escaped it, this thing, but it turns out it’s waiting for you in all the places you hide: your house, your garden, a self-help group, a seraglio, the island of Zanzibar, a museum in Turin, a hot air balloon in Canada, even in the ladies’ room of your favourite nightclub. You’ve carried it into these places with you. It’s inside you. And now it’s time for it to come out.
This first collection of acclaimed short stories by Aliya Whiteley takes the reader to the strangest, deepest corners of life experience. Grotesque, unsettling, and often very funny, Witchcraft in the Harem deals with birth and betrayal, love and loss, and all the terrible thoughts we want to escape, and find still waiting for us at the journey’s end.
Acclaim for the Book
‘The experience of reading this collection is like being waterboarded by an angel. Shocking, heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny, this is some of the best writing I’ve ever seen. If you like Aimee Bender or Etgar Keret, you will love Witchcraft in the Harem.’ —World Fantasy Award-winner Lavie Tidhar

I love the beetles on my front cover.

You can purchase the book right here.

There is going to be a launch party in London, on 13th May, details of which you can find here. And there is also a blog tour (fanfare!). That's what this post is. The beginning of the blog tour. Details of the blog tour are up on my own blog here. I'll be answering questions, talking shop, and explaining why I chose the beetley cover and what it's like to change genre and fiction length, in lots of different electronic places.

For instance, tomorrow I will be at Iain Rowan's blog. He's a very talented writer of crime and speculative fiction, and we chatted about our favourite authors and getting stuck in lifts.

Later on I'll be stopping off at the blogs of lots of familiar MNW faces. Hope to see you there.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Two Gentlemen of Verona, with apologies to William Shakespeare

About this time of year in 1997--16 years ago, although that barely seems possible--I sat down in front of my very first PC.  I was determined that, having run out of excuses, I would write the novel I had been promising myself for years.  I had some vivid characters and the outline of the plot.

That Friday evening, after a day at work and a light dinner, I wrote the opening chapter of The Zael Inheritance.  (It transpired, in a process that all novelists will understand, that I'd actually written Chapter 7).

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Back in Action

The Macmillan New Writers blog has been quiet the past months but the same can't be said about  the writers.  On March 20, Frances Garrood, Eliza Graham, Simon Packham, Tim Stretton, Deborah Swift, Len Tyler, and I tore ourselves away from our writing desks and met for lunch at Brown's Covent Garden in London.  

What's up?  What's new?  Tim is working on a steampunk novel, Len continues to wreck havoc in the world of crime, Eliza and Deborah are bringing the past alive with compelling characters, Frances is involved in the world of e-book publishing, Simon's novels inspire young adults to turn off social media and actually read, and I was in London celebrating the release of my second novel. 

And the latest trends in the publishing world?  We talked about those, too.  To blog or not to blog?  What about GoodReads?  Twitter?  And self-publishing?  We all had opinions but one thing was clear.  Much has changed since we published our first novels with Macmillan New Writing. 

One thing remains the same:  the friendships forged by those of us lucky enough to be part of MNW, an upstart imprint with an editor willing to look at work by unknown writers not represented by agents.  Our publication experiences were and still are different from most authors', and that's what unites us today.  I wouldn't change that for anything.