Alongside the amazing Crime Novel Reader, I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour today for Six Stories, written by Matt Wesolowski and published by the lovely Orenda Books.
1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.
2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame … As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth. A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending.
My Review: I would like to thank Matt Wesolowski (author) and Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books (publisher) for allowing me the opportunity to read Six Stories as well as allowing me to take part in the blog tour. I can confirm that all opinions in this review are my own and are completely unbiased.
Nooooooooooooooooo! I’m left balancing on the edge!!!! What have I just read? What a story!!!!! From the get go I have had chills up and down my spine. Six Stories is just amazing and with a completely different concept to any form of writing I’ve ever read (it’s written as six podcasts) it absolutely 100% sheds new light on fiction. It’s a good old fashioned coming of age and a classic ‘who done it’ projected into the 21st century. Seriously, seriously, SERIOUSLY good!
The characters are strong! They each pulled me in to their podcast sessions showcasing six different perspectives that had me thinking ‘did he, didn’t he, did she, didn’t she?’. I actually felt sometimes like I was each character as each character relayed their story to me. How does Matt Wesolowski do that? I could hear distinct voices, attitudes and emotions along with the portrayal of hardship, vulnerability, cruelty, sadness and manipulation amongst many others. Honestly, I can’t remember ever having read anything like Six Stories before.
As Six Stories jumped between 1997 when the main event behind Six Stories took place and the present day of Scarclaw 2017, there was one point throughout one of the present day chapters – page 78 to be precise – where I actually stopped reading, stared across the room and scratched my head at the same time as goosebumps formed on my arms. I was chilled to the bone. I have to warn you that before you pick this book up to read, there is a recurring theme throughout the story you just don’t seem to find anywhere anymore in fiction. It made me think about how far fiction has come from say the 1970s or 1980s; the good old chill of a Stephen King or Dean Koontz novel just doesn’t exist anymore. However, with Six Stories that good old eeriness appears to have come full circle lending us moments of horrifying terror that at some points makes you wonder if holding the book will curse you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor and leads Cuckoo Young Writers creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North. Matt started his writing career in horror and his short horror fiction has been published in Ethereal Tales magazine, Midnight Movie Creature Feature anthology, 22 More Quick Shivers anthology and many more. His debut novella The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013 and a new novella set in the forests of Sweden will be available shortly. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. He is currently working on his second crime novel Ashes, which involves black metal and Icelandic sorcery.
BLOG TOUR CONTENT – ‘But’ by Matt Wesolowski:
‘But’, it looks like ‘bed’ but with a more uncomfortably shaped vowel. A bed with a dip in it, concave disappointment.
Thank you for your submission BUT…
Every writer’s had them. Every writer’s been hurt by them. Rejection, a necessary evil. Like spiders.
All the advice out there is not to take rejection personally, to learn from it; but that’s easier said than done. Rejection is hard; everything you write contains a little ember of your soul that a rejection can snuff out or even extinguish. You read the rules, you followed the submission guidelines and when you hit that send button, a little part of you thought that this could be it, that this could be the one.
I’ve had my fair share of rejections – Stephen King famously pinned his first rejection slip to his wall with a nail and soon had three nails, all filled. That fact keeps me sane.
Sometimes you think ‘fair enough’, sometime you hurt and sometimes you realise that the rejection was mostly your own fault. (like the time I copied and pasted a query email to a male agent and addressed a female agent as Mr…you can guess what happened!)
I’m going to delve into my rejection bunker (not a real bunker, but a cow-shaped magnetic pin board that looms over my writing desk in a bovine shadow, covered in the names of things I’ve had rejected and by whom) and share with you some of the more memorable ones.
‘Nothing actually happens‘ – This came from the publisher of a horror anthology I’d submitted one of my first serious horror stories as an adult to. I believe the story was something to do with a dog-headed man but the fact I can’t remember says a lot. Looking back I remember cursing as the publisher was right, the story was 80% tiresome exposition but the criticism stayed with me and even now, I make sure that something is actually happening when I write!
The 12 hour no.
I’d researched this agent carefully, had followed their guidelines to a T; written a personalised cover letter that was better than all my other cover letters and had genuine hope that my manuscript might have a chance. This was for a full-length (still unpublished) horror novel called ‘Mermaid’ which had been rejected by a few agents but had received good feedback. This could be the one, I thought. I hit send and prepared for the long wait.
The next morning my inbox had an email from said agent. My heart leaped, I thought it might just be acknowledgement but no. It was a but. Thank you for your submission but…
12 hours was all it had taken. That hurt.
I learned from this that an agent is just like a reader, a reader who had to pick from a pile of thousands and thousands of books; if that firs line doesn’t grab them, if that cover letter isn’t on point or even if it’s just not to their taste, they’ll move on.
That one story…
I have a short story I’m pretty proud of. I’ve edited this story, tinkered with it, honed it, crimped it, permed it, dolled it up and pushed it out into the world but it had been rejected by what feels like every single publication going.
Maybe this particular story just needs taking out back and putting out of its misery.
Because maybe…just maybe…it’s not very good…
BLOG TOUR DETAILS:
If you would like to follow the Six Stories Blog Tour, you can do so at the following dates: