Published by Orenda Books
ebook: 20 December 2016 | Paperback: 15 March 2017
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 took 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.
It’s a pleasure to be taking part in, and winding up the blog tour for Six Stories (together with the brilliant Susan from @thebooktrailer – do check out her fabulous blog). I must say a big thank you to Karen Sullivan and especially to Matt for coming up with such an excellent guest post at very short notice.
by Matt Wesolowski
The advice is this; ‘don’t read reviews’, but even when you do, ‘don’t take it personally’.
There have been plenty of books I’ve not enjoyed, plenty of albums I’ve declared ‘terrible’, plenty of films I’ve turned off 10 minutes in because they’re ‘not funny’, ‘boring’ or ‘awful’.
Until Six Stories was unleashed on the world, I never considered these thoughts I had about other people’s art, I never considered my dismissal of these fragments of other people’s souls.
That may sound dramatic, but that’s what it is when you create something; the thing you put up for judgement by the world, contains a little piece of you. The terror is the knowledge that that part of you is up for judgement.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to twist about reviews or be precious about someone else’s opinion. I just want to reflect on what it’s like to know that your creation is not altogether yours anymore.
I remember the first time I took my little boy to his first day at nursery, I walked out of that room with his wails echoing after me, piercing my very soul with accusation about what a terrible father I was. Of course, this is natural, it’s my paternal instinct kicking in, it’s that first stage of letting go. Even now, some days I drop him off at school and feel a little bit emotional walking back the way we have come with an empty hand.
Whilst art is not directly comparable to a child, the emotions are similar, for me anyway. One of the scariest things I’ve experienced was waiting for those first reviews to come in. I’d like to tell you I was cool, blasé about the whole thing, that I didn’t obsessively check Amazon and Goodreads those first few weeks, but that would be a lie. Just like leaving my boy in the care of others, pushing Six Stories out into the world shared a similar anxiety, that lack of control. I couldn’t hold it close to me and protect it, it was out there in the big bad world, this thing that I had created.
What if everyone hated it? What if, this novel that I’d poured my heart and soul into was a failure?
The internet is a scary and sometime strange place and to expose a little bit of you in front of this abyss is an utterly terrifying prospect.
I feel that by now, I’ve made a little bit of peace with the terror. As I’ve said, there have been books, music, films, art that I’ve not enjoyed and some I have. That doesn’t, by any means, mean that their creators are failures, that they’re bad at what they do, it’s just a mis-match of taste.
There are going to be people that hate Six Stories, the odd format, the characters, the storyline; it’s going to jarr with them, it’s going to be a discordant racket, white noise in their imagination or a black monolith of boredom.
Or else, they’re just going to be non-plussed. It’s going to pass them by, instantly forgettable and average.
But whatever people think, that’s ok, that’s part of the process and there’s nothing I can do about it.
About the author:
Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for children in care and leads Cuckoo Young Writers creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North.
Wesolowski started his writing career in horror and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous magazines and US anthologies.
Wesolowski was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at ‘Bloody Scotland’; Crime Writing Festival 2015 and his short crime story ‘Tulpa’ was subsequently published in the Northern Crime One’ anthology (Moth Publishing 2015). His debut crime novel ‘Six Stories’ will be available through Orenda Books in the spring of 2017.