The Prime of Deacon Brodie and the Dog Days of Summer

Iris Wildthyme FifteenWoah!

It’s been a busy summer. The annual clamjamfry of the Fringe, with friends visiting and shows to see, and events to participate in as well… I read at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (twice!), taught at the Advanced Higher Creative Writing Conference, and worked day and night on my second novel: which now has both an excellent cover and a new title. More news on The Daemon Parallel sequel soon.

I’m pleased to tell you two of my projects from earlier this year are now about to be released. This month you can read ‘Dog Days of Summer’, the closing story in a new anthology of Iris Wildthyme adventures: Fifteen. For those not familiar, Iris began in Paul Magrs’ fiction before cannoning into the world of Doctor Who and staggering just as blithely back out again. She’s an eccentric inter-dimensional traveler with a penchant for gin and causing chaos. As you can see from the cover (by the talented Mark Manley), she’s also a woman of many faces – and one of the great things about this collection was editor Stuart Douglas encouraged us to find our own Iris. You can meet her (all of her…) and Andrew too in both hardback and ebook from Obverse Books. Here’s a tiny extract to whet the appetite:

“It’s winter in the woods,” Andrew said slowly, “because your bus changed size?”

“A very cogent summary.”

Andrew lifted a branch and stared again at the bus. It was a surprisingly perfect model – if that’s what it was – about a metre tall, with amazing amounts of detail. There were tiny splatters of mud on the wheels, and the sides were decorated with billposters advertising the Notting Hill Carnival. The pink curtains round the windows were a bit odd though…

“How big should it be, really?”

The old woman’s eyes narrowed. “Don’t be obtuse, child. It should be bus-sized, of course.”

“And then it shrunk?”

“With indecent rapidity. The old girl seems troubled… We were tracking some unusual visitors to your area, and I think they disturbed her.” She lowered her voice to a confidential whisper. “Smaller things are trickier to hunt!”

“This is completely mad,” said Andrew.

“No madder than my usual escapades, I assure you. Now, if you would, could you see about freeing me? I’ve been wriggling and wiggling all morning, and I’m quite worn out.”

Dorian Gray - Deacon BrodieNext, at the end of October, you can download my audio play from Big Finish Productions – a feature-length season special for the series The Confessions of Dorian Gray. Here’s how Big Finish announced it. (Producer Scott Handcock also blogged about the series here last year, and I’ve written about the thrill of watching my first script recorded).

Dorian too is a character who has broken free of his original source text, and now has his own series of dark, supernaturally-inflected adventures, brought to charismatic life by Alexander Vlahos.

I was delighted to be asked to pitch by Scott, and began with a simple premise and a place: Edinburgh in the 1920s. Edinburgh has long been associated in myth, legend and literature with notions of duality – the respectable and the grand existing alongside the depraved and corrupt – and so it seemed the ideal location for Dorian to visit. I don’t want to say too much for fear of SPOILERS, so here’s how Big Finish describe it:

Edinburgh, 1920. Seizing upon the possibility of a reunion with his closest comrade from the trenches, Dorian arrives in the capital city of Scotland on Halloween! Guisers are out in force, disapproving gentlemen walk the streets… and a sinister department store has a great deal more on offer than it might initially advertise.

You can encounter The Prime of Deacon Brodie this Halloween (and like the rest of the series, it’s worth pointing out it’s not an adventure intended for younger listeners…).

Hope you enjoy these new stories. See you soon!