James’ short story Flip Flop was placed 3rd in our April 2020 competition. It was included in our first print anthology, (a handful of copies are still available!), and can also be read on our website here.
James says he writes stories which are a little bizarre. He enjoys taking readers down strange and seldom trodden paths. Often dark, and always with a twist or two along the way. Comedy, thriller, horror and weird fairy tales. Stories to make you laugh. Stories to make you cry. Stories to make you leave the bedroom light on. But most importantly, stories you will want to share with your friends. But they might not thank you for it.
Here, he continues our On The Shelf series, and tells us about his five ‘must-have’ books.
The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (Book One of The Kingkiller Chronicle)
Book one is excellent in itself, but also sets up book two perfectly. Frustratingly, I met Patrick Rothfuss at Worldcon 2014. I was looking for another author, and there was Pat, standing quietly at his table. We exchanged a ‘hello’ and I went on my merry way. His books had been on my ‘to read’ pile for years, but not read at the point of meeting him, and how I kick myself now. Why didn’t I talk to him, get him to sign my books, get him to sign me, and simply chill for a bit with the man who would become my favourite author? To turn back time.
The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (Book Two of The Kingkiller Chronicle)
I didn’t think a story would get any better and then came book two. Book Three has yet to be released, so I’m hoping and praying it lives up to the excellence of the first two books. For me, this is fantasy at its best. It doesn’t need to be monsters, magic (there is a little) and great battles. It is the story of a boy/teenager, Kvothe, and his extraordinary journey. Rothfuss is certainly a quality over quantity writer, and with the help from many beta readers’ feedback, edits and rewrites until reaching perfection. I couldn’t put the book down. And then read it again.
A Game Of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. (Book One of A Song of Ice and Fire)
The TV series was very well done. The books are better and, for me, book one was/is the bee’s knees.
A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin
Three novellas combined to make this fabulous book. The tales of Dunk and Egg. Set approximately 90 years before A Game Of Thrones, the story follows the adventures (three of them) of Ser Duncan The Tall. The story isn’t as heavy as A Song Of Ice And Fire, but is still rich with quality and flavour. Not without GRRM’s darkness, this is far tamer, and definitely a great fantasy book for young adults.
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
I don’t want to fill up my top 5 with fantasy stories, so I’m including a little horror. Atmospheric suspense horror. The first of Joe’s books I read, and for me, still his best. Far from epic, the book tells the story at just the right pace and in the just the right amount of words. Some of Joe’s other books have been adapted for TV and film, and in my opinion the results haven’t touched the quality of the books. Like his dad, he’s still churning out the novels. Did I mention his dad is Stephen King?
You can follow James on twitter here.