The Complex

Reflections on writing

  • In the foothills

    In the foothills

    20 Sep 2020

    Graham Swift once said, ‘All novelists must form personal pacts with the pace of their craft.’ Now I am deep in the foothills of my second novel, that quote is a comfort, because I’d forgotten how hard it is...

  • 31 Days of Horror, 2020

    31 Days of Horror, 2020

    06 Sep 2020

    With 2020 being a demented shitshow, I did fleetingly wonder if I wanted to do #31DaysOfHorror again this year, but then I remembered why I love horror films — they are an escape from reality; they are an outlet...

  • Reality Bites

    Reality Bites

    12 Jul 2020

    I first watched Reality Bites when it came out in 1994, the summer of my final year at university. I’d finished cramming for my exams and it was obvious I wasn’t going to be an...

  • Writers on lockdown

    Writers on lockdown

    25 May 2020

    I was interviewed by author CR Dudley on the website of her independent press, Orchid’s Lantern, about being a writer in the current lockdown. She asked some fascinating questions, and it was a lot of fun. Please have...

  • Leaving Rebecca

    Leaving Rebecca

    18 May 2020

    It’s hard to pinpoint when I stopped reading Rebecca. I started it in the middle of April, and I chose it for many reasons: lots of people I like and admire loved it; I wanted to read something from the...

  • Website as digital garden

    Website as digital garden

    16 May 2020

    I’m doing okay in my little lockdown bubble. We live in a relatively rural spot, we have a garden, and we are working remotely pretty successfully. The days are going by fast — they all feel very similar, whether work...

  • The inner Wonder Woman

    The inner Wonder Woman

    21 Apr 2020

    Last night, I had a deep dream of stasis and being held. I seemed to accept it, though there was a suggestion of pressing against constraints. I can’t remember any details. It’s a feeling from a fragment.

  • My favourite five books of 2019

    My favourite five books of 2019

    17 Apr 2020

    In 2019, on Goodreads, I set myself the challenge of reading 52 books. I succeeded — I wanted to read more, and the challenge did the trick. There were periods where I hardly read at all, and to stay on...

  • A walk around my writer’s block

    A walk around my writer’s block

    12 Apr 2020

    It took me thirty years to get from wanting to write a novel to finishing one. I walked away from writing several times, but I always came back, because deep down I knew it was a vital part of who...

  • Escape room

    Escape room

    31 Mar 2020

    I wrote a fun post about how I write and the room I write in, prompted by some great questions by Georgina Bruce. There are lots of others in her escape room series and I recommend them....

  • First post, best post

    First post, best post

    29 Jan 2020

    I find it liberating to write whatever is next in my thoughts. The train doesn’t ever stop, not even for sleep, and for me, capturing some of that stream in a notebook bucket allows me to read those thoughts with...

  • Minimalism


    23 Nov 2019

    My son and daughter are both YouTube watchers, but until this year I’d never felt the need to try it. The whole influencers and cult of personality thing put me off. Then last week I decided to look on YouTube...

  • Writing and reviewing

    Writing and reviewing

    15 Nov 2019

    I’m sitting in my kitchen listening to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, and I have some thoughts about how it’s making me feel. Christine McVie is singing Songbird, a song she wrote, and while the lyrics are hopeful and full of love,...

  • Blogging with Jekyll

    Blogging with Jekyll

    14 Nov 2019

    I’ve updated this website, hopefully in ways that aren’t obvious to the reader, but that let me have more control (and fun) in the months ahead. It’s been through several iterations over the years. The last one was built with...

  • On writing ‘The Complex’

    On writing ‘The Complex’

    12 Jul 2019

    The first shoots of the ideas that would combine to become The Complex appeared way back in November 2012, when I was fascinated by Lars von Trier’s film, Antichrist. I hadn’t watched it, I was too scared of...

  • Point Break

    Point Break

    20 Aug 2018

    It’s tricky to find films that my fifteen-year-old son will want to watch with his forty-something parents, but this seemed to sit in the sweet spot — surfing, armed robbers, a cocky young hero, skydiving, a love interest and lots...

  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

    19 Aug 2018

    Siblings Sally and Franklin come to a remote part of Texas to make sure their relatives remains haven’t been dug up from a local cemetery in a bizarre, gruesome local crime. But Franklin’s curiosity goes much further and he wants...