It’s Indie April, a celebration of all things Indie, be it novels, movies, music or art. The idea being to encourage interaction between indie creatives, and that most elusive of beasties the wider audience, and it is a time to celebrate all those wonderful indie creatives and their work. As a writer, my focus (I know, I know, this bits always the same in these posts, look just skip down a paragraph why don’t you…) is on bringing indie writers (and artists) to your attention. So for the rest of the month, I will be periodically featuring some of the best the independent scene has to offer. Some of these will be names familiar to those who read my blog, some will be new, but all of them are undoubtedly wonderful and deserving of a wider audience. So take the plunge and invest in some indie goodness, give an indie writer (and artists) a try, I guarantee you’ll not regret it.
Passing Places and Hannibal Smyth: Mark Hayes
Mark writes novels that often defy simple genre definitions, they could be described as speculative fiction, though Mark would never use the term as he prefers not to speculate. When not writing novels Mark is a persistent pernicious procrastinator, he recently petitioned parliament for the removal of the sixteenth letter from the Latin alphabet. He is also 7th Dan Blackbelt in the ancient Yorkshire marshal art of EckEThump and favours a one man one vote system but has yet to supply the name of the man in question. Mark has also been known to not take bio very serious.
Now I know what your thinking, ‘This is a tad nepotistic, isn’t it?’ well, I refute that claim on a technicality as I am not my own father, and I am not putting forward a relative’s work ahead of anyone else’s. So no this is not nepotism, just blatant self-promotion. But as I have been pushing loads of awesome books by loads of awesome indie writers all month, you’ll forgive me if I at least take a moment to push my own. I’m an Indie Author too… anyway back to writing this in the third person, which is frankly weird…
Mark writes in an eclectic and character-driven style. His 2016 novel Passing Place is set in a fictional bar that travels the multiverse so it doors open out into different points in time and space, as well as diffrent alternative versions of reality. It follows the journey of a widowed musician who at the end of a grief-driven journey across America takes a job at the bar because of the sign in a bus station window that advertises the bars need for a piano player, one who must know ‘Forever Autumn’ which by sheer coincidence happens to be the favourite song of the musicians dead wife. Also, he takes the job because a cat tells him to do so. In Esqwiths Passing Place, as he plays piano he meets a series of unlikely characters who tell him stories, wierd wonderful strange stories and each in their own voice, each of which helps the musician in his search for the answer to that most unforgiving of questions, why?
One of the characters who wandered through an early draft of passing place was an ignominious lying braggart called Harry Smith, who served in the Royal Air Navy of a clockwork version of Queen Victoria. While Harry slipped out of the Bar door and never made the final novel, old ‘Arry went on to become Hannibal Smyth, a no less ignominious swine but a tad more lovable than his original incarnation. The Hannibal Smyth Misadventures is set in a version of the world where Good Queen Sticky Vic never died and has sat on the throne of an Empire upon which the sun never set for two hundred years. Told in Hannibal’s own idiosyncratic way by the man himself, the first of this series of novels ‘A Spider In The Eye’ was released in January this year. The next ‘From Russia With Tassel’s’ is due out sometime this summer, with two further novels planned in the series, because quartets are more interesting than trios (or so mark claims)
There is also a cross over novella set in the Passing Place, in which Hannibal drops in for a drink and tells a tale or two. (literally drops in as he has fallen off an airship somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean at the time)
This is the point when I give you a few links to other posts on marks work. But as this is my blog that would seem a bit silly… click on anything 🙂
Aside from his own novels, Mark also has a Hannibal short story in the Harvey Duckman Presents Anthologies. Which by no coincidence what so ever was released last month … Just waiting for you to read, so if you fancy a taster of both Mark’s work and 13 other Indie writers of SciFi, Fantasy, Steampunk and Horror, you could do worse than get yourself a copy, so click on the lovely picture below 🙂 There may be more indie April stuff to come if I have time, if not it will be indie May….