My urban fantasy novel, Feline Alchemy, has been reviewed at the bookscover2cover website by Piper Templeton, who was generous enough to sign-off with the comment “I highly recommend it even if fantasy is not your genre because the writing is so clever, and the observations on human nature and the workplace are so perceptive.” The full review can be read by clicking on the link –
The very wonderful Oyinkan Braithwaite (poet, prose writer and, latterly, TV personality) has been kind and deluded enough to nominate me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. The Award Guidelines are as follows:
1.Thank and link to the amazing person who nominated you.
2.List the rules and display the award.
Which is what’s happening here…
3.Share seven facts about yourself.
i. Sue Blake is the name of a fictional character who originally appeared in the dark fantasy novel Feline Alchemy.
ii. Sue Blake is a man’s name.
iii. In Feline Alchemy Sue Blake explains that he was given the name Sue because “My parents were both huge Johnny Cash fans, although they chose to ignore his advice about naming a son, obviously.” But I’ll let Johnny himself explain –
iv. While I was proofreading Feline Alchemy I realised it might be wise to adopt a pen-name because a number of scenes in the book take place within the office of a company called LoreLei Media; these scenes are played mainly for satirical purposes but are based on characters and situations from life. Basically, when I wrote Feline Alchemy I, like the central character, was working at LoreLei Media.
v. I like the name Sue Blake for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I tend to think of it as being like a band name in the mould of Alice Cooper, i.e. there never was any person named “Alice”, only a band of that name. It also works as an ironic nod to the time when women writers were usually forced to adopt men’s names in order to publish their books.
vi. Two of the central characters in Feline Alchemy are named Morrigan and Leiliana, in homage to the Xbox game Dragon Age: Origins (see the image at top of this post). The reason for this is that a few years ago, whilst looking to treat myself to a Christmas present, I decided to buy an Xbox. The first game I played was DA: Origins, which I started by quite enjoying and then became hooked on, not due to the gameplay so much as the storyline and characters. Essentially, it became a matter of honour that I and my trusty comrades (Alistair, Morrigan, Leiliana, Win, etc) should defeat the horrors that threatened the kingdom of Ferelden. And so it was that, auspiciously, on New Year’s Day we were finally victorious and killed the detested dragon after numerous shambolic failed attempts. It was a beautiful moment for my comrades and I.
Well, the imagination is a weird and powerful force and, as I raised my heroic arms aloft in celebration (ahem), a moment of epiphany flashed across my mind – I realised that for the Hero of Ferelden (i.e. myself) the prospect of starting another year with nothing better to maintain my interest than a job I heartily despised (see point iv) was never going to be an option if I hoped to get to December with my mental faculties intact. Instead I felt the need to try to make a positive contribution of some sort, according to whatever abilities I might have. Dragon slaying was sadly out. But I realised I could return to writing fiction, which I’d set aside a few years previously. So I did.
vii. Besides the Xbox game, the main influences in creating the characters of Morrigan and Leiliana in the novel were my cats, George and Bootsy. They were named, of course, after George Clinton and Bootsy Collins of Parliament/Funkadelic fame –
There’s no particular reason for including the clip except that the day always feels better for having a little funk in it, I think.
Now, since this post is getting rather long, I will be returning at a later date for Part 2 of the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, when I will complete the tasks set out in the guidelines as follows (drumroll….)
4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
5. Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.
Feline Alchemy is published as an e-book today, revolutionising the dark fantasy genre at a stroke…
Cultural commentators haven’t begun to comment on this milestone, as yet, but when they do they’ll no doubt rehash the kind of flattering descriptions I currently have running around inside my head, e.g.
“Written in a chatty style, like a series of blog posts, Feline Alchemy is a quirky paranormal story set in modern-day England. The book is a warped romance and social satire, as well as an urban fantasy that blends the fairy tale elements of Angela Carter with the classic horror of the film ‘Cat People’ and Joe Orton’s sly humour.”
Yep, that’s probably what they’ll say.