Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Too Near The Dead wins the Children of the Night Award!


Wow, it's been a long time since I last blogged! Nearly a year, in fact. I've put quite a lot of news on Twitter, Instagram and FB but I haven't written anything longer for a while. 

One of the big pieces of news for this year is that I have acquired new representation from Lindsey Fraser of the wonderful Fraser Ross Associates in Edinburgh. It's exciting to be starting on this new working relationship, and especially nice to have an agent here in Scotland as I can actually see her without travelling hundreds of miles! 

The other piece of news is that my last novel, Too Near The Dead, has won the Dracula Society's Children of the Night Award 2021! I knew about this at the beginning of September but the award was actually presented at the Society's annual dinner, which was in London on 5th November. What with the distance, the ever-present risk of having to cancel things because of Covid, and the current train strikes, I've been on tenterhooks for several months, wondering whether I would make it to the event or not, but thankfully all went smoothly. 

The Society's annual dinner celebrates the birthday of the illustrious Bram Stoker himself, and takes place at the Civil Service Club in Great Scotland Yard. This year's dinner was well attended, with 50 guests (including a few faces familiar to me) and some gorgeous evening clothes - red and black velvet, glorious metallics, jewelled cravats and even - I am pretty sure - an actual bustle. The guest of honour for the evening was actress Marianne Morris, one of the stars of the cult 1974 film Vampires.

After a beautiful meal to which I was unable to do justice thanks to butterflies in the stomach(!), the awards were presented. The Children of the Night Award is for the best original fiction published in the Gothic (including horror or supernatural) genre during the previous year. Too Near The Dead was nominated by fellow author Sue Gedge - thank you, Sue! I made a very short speech in which I thanked those who voted for the book, and also my father, William, from whom I got my love of all things grim and Gothic. 

Next up was the Hamilton Deane Award (named after the man who first made Dracula famous on the stage). This is awarded for the best dramatic performance, or involvement with a presentation, in the Gothic horror/supernatural genres during the previous year. This went for the third time to actor, writer, producer, and director Mark Gatiss - he previously won in 2008 and 2013 and is now the first person to have won the award so many times! This year he mainly won for his BBC TV 'Ghost Story at Christmas' adaptation of M.R. James' The Mezzotint, but also for his adaptation of The Amazing Mr. Blunden and A Christmas Carol

I have to say that I was pretty much overwhelmed at being at the same event as Mark and actually meeting him! That was super exciting and I am sure I burbled like an idiot - however, as others have said, he is very very nice and brilliant at putting people at their ease. I loved his Mezzotint and look forward to future adaptations!

Both awards were individual pieces sculpted to reflect the award-winning works, by Arthur Payn, so big thanks to him, and also to everyone at the Dracula Society for being so welcoming and generally lovely. I'd especially like to mention Julia Kruk, Adrian Autton (who took the photos of me/Mark Gatiss and me, above) and Maria, who looked after me on the evening. 

Finally, here's a close up of my award! It represents the "lavender lady" who haunts Barr Dubh House and has a subtle patina which suggests that funereal shade. She travelled home to Perthshire with me wrapped in an ignominious shroud of bubble wrap, and is now haunting the bookcase in the living room.