To date I have written 13 novels over the course of my writing life. It is interesting to look back and consider this harvest of the imagination
The amazing covers by Steve Hambidge for The Windsmith Elegy (vols 1-5) https://www.behance.net/crookedkm/projects
Flights of Fancy: My Novels
To date I have written 13 novels over the course of my writing life. It is interesting to look back and consider this harvest of the imagination – what connects them, if anything? Certainly a strong strain of the Fantastic – most are explicitly within the Fantasy or Science Fiction category, with just a couple of anomalies: my first novel, which could be categorised as Weird or Timeslip; and my latest, which is my most ‘mimetic’ to date – being set entirely in this world, with no element of the Fantastic (except perhaps through the combination of extraordinary characters in an extraordinary place – albeit both within the purview of the possible). From the very first a strong sense of place has been a key element of my fiction. I am also inspired by myths, legends, folk tales, and folk songs, so what I call ‘mythic resonance’ permeates all my work (indeed, I called my Fantasy novels ‘Mythic Reality’). Nature has always been more than a backdrop in my writing – an ecoliteracy informs them all. And increasingly, there is a keen sense of the Climate Emergency – this has manifested most tangibly in Black Box and Thunder Road. Finally, I think I am drawn to hybrid, marginalised voices – characters caught between worlds in different ways. These are the voices that interest me the most.
So far, only 8 have been published (one as an interactive novel), although my SF novel, Black Box, has manifested as an audio drama via Alternative Stories and Fake Realities. Hopefully, the others will see the light of day at some point. Otherwise, to keep writing them without guarantee of publication is a kind of madness – I call it my Obsessive Narrative Disorder. I just can’t stop writing. I have so many ideas, and novels just pounce on me and don’t let me go until I’ve written them. With my current novel, The Bath Circulating Library Society, I have set up what I hope to be a long-running series – I have several plot ideas already sketched out, enough probably to keep me busy until the end of my days. Let’s hope I get a publisher for them soon!
The Ghost Tree (1994 – unpublished)
The Long Woman (2004, Awen) – Arts Council Award winner
Windsmith (2006, Awen)
The Sun Miners (2007, Awen)
The Well Under the Sea (2008, Awen)
The Burning Path (2010, Awen) – El Gouna Writing Residency, Egypt
This Fearful Tempest (2012, Awen)
Black Box (2016) – winner of the One Giant Write competition run by Literature Works; adapted into an audio drama for Alternative Stories and Fake Realities.
The Knowing: a Fantasy (2018) – my PhD novel, published by the University of Leicester, via Open Access, as a hardbound dissertation, and website: www.thesecretcommonwealth.com (2nd draft written as a writer-in-resident at Hawthornden International Writers Retreat, December 2015).
Thunder Road (2020) available to read via this website
Hyperion (2021, available via Tales Writer on App Store and Google Play)
The Bath Circulating Library Society (2021) – long-listed for the Bath Novel Award
The Bath Circulating Library Society is a prequel to an intended novel series, the first volume of which has been written (completed in 2020).
Kevan Manwaring, 17 October 2021