In the short time Stitched Smile Publications has been around, they have put out three separate works of fiction. One of those was released on February 17th. It is by David Owain Hughes and Alice J. Black. The novella is titled, Granville. Here is the synopsis for the book:
Stanley is a typical high school student trying to find his way through the hierarchy of study and popularity. Nobody wants to spend time with him and even his crush turned him down nine times. He spends most of his time alone in the house, cursing his mother and blaming her for driving his father away. He has a preoccupation with all things horror and his love goes beyond just watching the movies; he wants to be the star of the show.
Making masks started as a hobby that soon becomes a practiced ritual and finally, when he has the right mask and slips it on over his head, he realizes that he is transformed. He is no longer Stanley but Granville, a masked warrior who intends to get payback for all the wrongs done to him and he will hold no punches.
The town is on lock down, the people terrified of this hideous killer, all the while he waits and plans his final masterpiece before taking off.
On the day of the release, SSP threw an online Release Party. I was only able to attend the last half of the event, but in that time, I got to know Alice and David and we talked a little about Granville.
(Side Note: Being an online party, there were a few interjections into our conversation.)
AJ: Alice, David, tell me about Granville. I read the description for it, and it sounds right up my alley.
Alice: Stanley is a loner, a young boy who is pushed too far one day and snaps. He takes things into his own hands and as his degradations get worse, so do his masks…
AJ: Let’s talk concepts: David, Alice, where did the concept for this story come from?
David: I think it first started with myself – I had this idea about a hapless teen who wanted to be a serial killer. I was looking to co-write a second project with Alice.
AJ: So, then you two have worked together before?
David: Yes, this is actually our second novella.
Alice: Yeah we wrote a novella length creature feature…#
David: The first is currently in the hands of a publisher, but we can’t release details.
AJ: Nice. Tell me about Stanley?
David: He’s your typical horror geek, who has a crush on a girl at school he can’t get.
AJ: Is he somewhat of an outcast?
David: Oh, very much so. He’s pretty much tortured by his peers. He’s a ghost to the tutors. Faceless, nameless.
David: Yes, mentally and physically.
AJ: So, he is essentially there, but no one likes him or takes the time to get to know him? They just kind of push him around.
David: Yes, spot on. Nobody cares about Stanley – he’s a punch bag.
AJ: That’s sad.
AJ: So, Granville. That is WHO he becomes, correct?
David: Yes, that’s right.
Jennifer H: I read it and it was an excellent book. Very twisted and dark. Twists and turns you wouldn’t expect
AJ: If David had anything to do with it, I know it is dark and probably somewhat disturbing.
Jennifer H: Have you read any of his others and which ones?
AJ: I’ve read some of David’s work. Not a ton, but enough to know that his mind is a bit dark.
Jennifer H: Great I will have to look up his stuff.
AJ: Alice, when you two sat to write this, did you write one part and David write another one and you mashed it together in the end? How did the collaboration of this story go?
Alice: When we wrote, we wrote a section each, maybe 1-2k words and then emailed it across and the next person started from there until we hashed it all out. We did the same with editing.
AJ: Very nice. A true collaboration. Did either of you, at any point, not like something the other one had written and discuss it with each other to make sure it came out right?
Alice: I have to be honest and say no. It all flowed so well. We obviously changed a few bits during editing but that’s natural.
AJ: At any point during the writing of Granville, did either of you say, eh, maybe we should scale back on this scene? And did you scale back if that were the case?
Alice: I don’t think that ever came up! If anything it was pouring more on.
David: I always go out guns blazing! I don’t like holding anything back.
AJ: David, I expect nothing less from you.
David: Have you picked up something of mine prior to this?
AJ: David, I’ve read a few of your pieces online. Something for Horror Geeks I think was the last thing I read.
David: Cool. I’ve written a lot of dark, twisted stuff. I can’t get enough of it!
AJ: You also have a book with BWP, right?
David: Two, one novel and one collection of short stories.
AJ: Very nice
AJ: Of the two of you, which do you think has the darker side?
Alice: Um I think it’s hard to say. We both have dark sides. I think David is a little more explicit with his while I tend to stay a little more somber but in our own ways, we’re both very dark.
David: I think our difference in dark styles very much suit our co-writing team.
AJ: David, in what way? That intrigues me.
David: One will do something different to the other – subtly and brute force mix well.
Alice: I found I learned a lot from David. I often shy away from the more explicit side of horror, and working with him made me consider why and branch out in my own writing.
David: Alice, that’s nice of you to say.
AJ: So playing off of each other’s strengths also strengthened your own styles?
David: Oh, definitely.
AJ: Then your styles fit well together. That is good to hear. I have only done a couple of collaborations, and it has been a LONG time since I did my last one, but I loved trying to fit our styles together.
David: Alice and I get on so well – she’s like my little sister.
AJ: I’m jealous. I don’t have a writing partner like that.
David: I’m lucky in that respect. I think she only keeps me around for the laughs.
AJ: Most women keep men around for the laughs. They don’t need us.
Alice: That’s not true!
David: Which part?
Alice: We don’t just keep men around for the laughs.
AJ: You mean there are other reasons? I need to talk to my wife about this.
Alice: Haha. Maybe you should.
AJ: Alice, I think you and I are going to get along quite well.
Alice: Me too!
AJ: I know when I finish a particularly good story, I want to celebrate. When you finished Granville, did you smoke a cigarette or drink a beer?
Alice: I’m not sure I did! I was very excited about it but it wasn’t until we were accepted for publication that I really celebrated.
AJ: Tell me about the process of getting Granville published.
Alice: David could probably tell you more because he did a lot of leg work on this one
David: It was luck, I guess. I’d done some work for Lisa Vasquez and saw she was taking submissions.
AJ: So you subbed and she accepted, eh?
David: Yeah, she knew of me and my work.
AJ: Alice, tell me a little about YOU?
Alice: Um…I write mostly horror but I like to write other stuff to. I have a novel out which is a YA supernatural. That one is my baby! But I’ve got a lot of shorts out in anthologies and a novel series in the works
AJ: Tell me about the novel, if you don’t mind.
Alice: The novel is called The Doors. It’s about a young girl called Amanda who is made to move down the country when her dad gets a new job. They move into Godfrey Hall but from the get go, she doesn’t like it. There are a set of mosaic doors in the dining room that she can’t stop staring at and whenever her parents are out, the little man in the mosaic seems to move. Amanda has to figure out the mystery of the mosaic doors before it drives her insane.
AJ: Alice, you said YA? What is the age range?
Alice: I suppose for anyone who likes reading YA. I like YA but I know that some adults don’t so probably around 16-20
AJ: My daughter is almost 15. Would it be appropriate for her?
Alice: I would think so. There’s a little romance but it’s nothing heavy, more of an attraction really. Other than that it’s more than suitable. It’s available on kindle. Would you like the link?
AJ: Well, yes, I would.
Alice: The Doors on Amazon
Donelle: I think you will like this book.
AJ: I plan on getting it, Donelle. I like David’s work and Alice seems like my type of person.
Donelle: I am about halfway through.
AJ: Is there anything else, Alice and David would like to say before I let you all go. I know it is late (or very early) where they are at.
Alice: Not that I can think of, except thank you for your support!
AJ: No problem.
If you would like to find out more about David and Alice, follow these links: