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Island Life by William Meikle

An archaeological expedition is intent on opening an old barrow on a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides despite the reservations of the locals, who all know and fear the old stories. The scientists unleash a colony of murderous monsters from deep under the earth. As the released creatures swamp the island, slaughtering livestock and people alike, the humans must band together to combat it with few resources save their courage and wits.


About the Author: I'm Willie, a Scottish writer, now living in Canada, with ten novels published in the genre press and over 200 short story credits in thirteen countries, the author of the ongoing Midnight Eye series among others. My work has appeared in a number of professional anthologies.

My current best seller is THE INVASION, a sci-fi alien invasion tale with mass carnage, plucky survivors, and last minute rescues. It has been as high as #2 in the Kindle > science fiction charts. (and #4 in Kindle > horror ). Please check it out.

I've been asked many times why I write what I do. I choose to write mainly at the pulpy end of the market, populating my stories with monsters, myths, men who like a drink and a smoke, and more monsters. People who like this sort of thing like it.

I've also been criticised for it by people who don't get it. Willie Meikle is..."the author of the most cliched, derivative drivel imaginable...the critical acclaim he receives from his peers is virtually non-existent." is only one of the responses I've had.

Now, I don't write for the critical acclaim of my peers. I couldn't give a toss what other writers think of me. I'm writing for two reasons... myself and a readership. Posterity, if there is one, can decide on whether it's any good or not. Besides, the harder I work at it making my writing accessible, the more readers I get, so I'm doing something right.

But that's still not why I do it. My pat answer has always been the same. "I like monsters."

But it goes deeper than that.

I write to escape.

I grew up on a West of Scotland council estate in a town where you were either unemployed or working in the steelworks, and sometimes both. Many of the townspeople led hard, miserable lifes of quiet, and sometimes not so quiet desperation. I was relatively lucky in that both my parents worked, but I spent a lot of time alone or at my grandparent's house.

My Granddad was housebound, and a voracious reader. I got the habit from him, and through him I discovered the Pan Books of Horror and Lovecraft, but I also discovered westerns, science fiction, war novels and the likes of Mickey Spillane, Ed McBain, Alistair MacLean, Dennis Wheatley, Nigel Tranter, Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov. When you mix all that together with DC Comics, Tarzan, Gerry Anderson and Dr Who then, later on, Hammer and Universal movies on the BBC, you can see how the pulp became embedded in my psyche.

When I was at school these books and my guitar were all that kept me sane in a town that was going downhill fast. The steelworks shut and employment got worse. I -could- have started writing about that, but why bother? All I had to do was walk outside and I'd get it slapped in my face. That horror was all too real.

So I took up my pen and wrote. At first it was song lyrics, designed (mostly unsuccessfully) to get me closer to girls.

I tried my hand at a few short stories but had no confidence in them and hid them away. And that was that for many years.

I didn't get the urge again until I was past thirty and trapped in a very boring job. My home town had continued to stagnate and, unless I wanted to spend my whole life drinking (something I was actively considering at the time), returning there wasn't an option.

As I said before, I write to escape.

My brain needed something, and writing gave it what was required. That point, back nearly twenty years ago, was like switching on an engine, one that has been running steadily ever since.

And most of the time, the things that engine chooses to give me to write are very pulpy.

I think you have to have grown up with pulp to -get- it. A lot of writers have been told that pulp=bad plotting and that you have to have deep psychological insight in your work for it to be valid. They've also been told that pulp=bad writing, and they believe it. Whereas I remember the joy I got from early Moorcock, from Mickey Spillane and further back, A E Merritt and H Rider Haggard. I'd love to have a chance to write a Tarzan, John Carter, Allan Quartermain, Mike Hammer or Conan novel, whereas a lot of writers I know would sniff and turn their noses up at the very thought of it.

I write to escape.

I haven't managed it yet, but I'm working on it


Dawn's Review:
I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved this book. It was gripping right from the beginning and held on until the end. I loved the way William sprinkled the backstory throughout the book, giving us an inside look at the bad guys. But just enough without taking away the mystery and fear they evoked. Which is of course what I loved most about it. Horror. My favorite genre. This was the first book I read by William Meikle, but I can assure you it won't be the last.

1 comments:

williemeikle said...

Glad you enjoyed it Dawn