New Book!

You may have seen a few social media posts regarding this, but here’s the full story about my new book! It’s called Life is Elsewhere/Burn Your Flags, and is a novella set during the pandemic in Japan. Here’s the official blurb:

Christmas Day, 2020 and in Japan, Cormac is headed for the hills. In the midst of the pandemic the bar he runs is closed, his marriage to Eri is falling apart and a phone call from his doctor could change everything.

As a teenager in late 1980s Tokyo, Eri documented the rise of a legendary female punk band. In the wake of its explosive demise, she shed her identity and ran. Now an unexpected message forces her to exhume long-buried memories and confront her past.

Over twenty-four hours, everything they’ve been repressing erupts under the pressure of a year in lockdown. In times like these, it’s hard to hold on.

It’s being published by Liminal Ink, a new face on the Scottish publishing scene run by Angela and Paul Docherty. I couldn’t be happier – the book is seeped in the punk DIY aesthetic and so is Liminal Ink:

[We’re] about blurring the lines between author and publisher. An idea of inclusion, of collaboration. An idea based around some of the work and play we’re involved in: writing, publishing, editing, theatre adaptation, proofreading, audiobook production, book cultures research and education… We’re either independent authors who publish, or independent publishers who write. Either way, we’re all about words.

Novellas are notoriously difficult to publish – although they are enjoying something of a moment with Alan Bissett and Linda Cracknell recently publishing fantastic novellas, and some publishers now actively seeking them – but it’s a form I adore, more sprawling than a short story but requiring less commitment from the reader (not that commitment is a bad thing, but a 500-page novel can be off-putting when you’re approaching a new writer for the first time), and as a storyteller the shape of a novella really suits me, combining my love of the novel (I’m a baggy monster) and the haiku. So to be able to publish one is a big tick on the bucket list.

It will be released on the world on September 16, 2021, but you can pre-order to ensure you get a copy here. There will be a physical launch in Nagoya, Japan (TBC) assuming we ever actually get vaccinated, and some online events around the pub date, but if you can’t wait that long, I’ll be talking about this book and my writing more generally on Thursday, July 8th as part of Lakeland University’s ongoing lecture series. It’s free but you need to register to get the link. It’s 7pm Japan Time which is 3am in the UK, but the video will be available afterwards.

If you feel so inclined, you could drop by your local indie bookstore and order your copy through them – it’ll get the book on their radar, and they might order some extra copies for the shelves, and you’ll be supporting an indie bookshop during these Terrible Times. Win win win. If you do order it through an indie bookstore, let me know – I’d love to see the book’s progress through the real world.

More, as and when…

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