Tuesday, 18 December 2018
"Shooting Stars" in "Suspense Unimagined."
Just received my copies of Suspense Unimagined which features my 5000 word short story "Shooting Stars." I originally wrote "Shooting Stars" maybe 15 years or so ago (I do tend to sit on my stories for many years; partly out of being too busy to work on them and partly because I'm a big believer in polishing and editing stories, and I think this works best once you've pretty much forgotten them so you can approach them with a fresh pair of eyes).
I can't really remember the origins of the story but I think it was one of those instances where I read a story somewhere else and the story went nowhere near where I thought it would go based on its premise, so I ended up writing the story I thought I would read. I had been reading Alexei Sayle's Barcelona Plates collection, so it could have been "The Minister for Death" although I can't remember anything about the story other than it featured a pensioner who was a contract killer.
One thing that was certainly the case was that, even though this wasn't the usual kind of collection I read, it did really resonate with me at the time and I very much enjoyed Sayle's sneery narrative voice in many of the stories. I'd used a similar type of narrative voice in "Foetal Attractions", "It" and "BobandJane" and not only did I like it but I also found it very easy to write in and, as I had recently written several stories with a more traditional narrative voice, I felt it was time to do another where I could sneer away to my heart's content. Like all those stories, this one too came out quickly and virtually fully-formed (as easy as I find that voice, I try not to use it too much as I am aware it can wear the reader down).
I can't remember where the initial idea of s celebrity serial killer came from, but the title came from the Vic and Bob quiz show, (".... Welcome to Shooting Stars / Welcome whoever you are / The guests have been greeted / The stars are now seated / So come along and let's start Shooting Stars!") and the intent was to use the story to satirise contemporary attitudes towards celebrity, attitudes which have become even more bizarre with Instagram models and Love Island competitors and so on getting their mugs into the national Press. Throw in the thwarted (and clearly terrible!) novelist aspect and the "creative" deaths angle and bingo! There you have it.
This one did the rounds of lots of anthologies and magazines and even though I always liked it, it never quite got accepted. Several places said they liked it and one or two said they would like to use it but they felt uncomfortable about the use of real celebrities' names. But it finally got accepted by Suspense Unimagined and I am very happy with that. It's a really nice looking product that has clearly been put together with care.
Anyway, Suspense Unimagined can be bought from Amazon UK here or directly from the publisher's here.