Today we’re welcoming author Michael Keyton. Read on to see what he has to say.
‘Tales From The Murenger: Stories to darken the soul’ is collection of the weird and dark, its title inspired by one of Newport’s oldest pubs, likely the oldest with its origins in the C15th.
Most of the stories have been previously published in various British and American anthologies; in fact the first story, Mr Nousel’s Mirror’ was included in anthologist, Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the year for 2011, along with works by Stephen King and Jack Ketchum.
With the various copyrights having reverted back to me I pondered how best to make them earn me a little more money. There was no problem in putting them together in a single collection, for they all had a central motif: every story was set in or around Newport and for good reason.
Newport, or my version of it, has become my ‘Arkham’ the Welsh equivalent of HP Lovecraft’s sinister creation. My Newport is a dark, seedy and magical city, the unimaginable just around the next corner . . . or the corner after that. So far no one has objected to the depiction. Perhaps they agree that ‘dark and seedy’ suggests fertility, and there’s no doubt Newport is magical, if you know where to look. Mind you, with cannibalism, seductive cats, rats where you don’t want them to be, and houses that possess more than your body, you may think twice before visiting the place.
The one problem I did have was choosing a name for the book. Tales from Newport . . . No, perhaps not; Tales from the Transporter Bridge . . . no — but I was getting there. I needed an icon, something everyone in the area would recognise, something once seen you immediately think – ghosts; something smelling of . . . beer. Good beer.
The Murenger immediately came to mind – which is not really surprising. I’ve been drinking there on and off for over thirty years. And what you see on the front cover is pretty much what you see on the street, though I can’t guarantee the ghostly smoke. After that it was a marriage made in heaven. Rob, ‘Mine host’ has a savvy media presence and the relationship became symbiotic—Rob marketing the book and me marketing his pub.
I suppose the point of this short piece – other than ‘selling’ a book – is if you have something on your hard-drive gathering dust, something that has previously been sold but you think deserves a fresh audience—go for it. The other equally important point is the need to think of a marketing angle. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best – especially those conjured up by three or four pints – speaking of which, the kindle version at £2.35 is cheaper than a Murenger Pint of Sam Smiths, the paperback at £5 is about the price of a pint in London.