March 24, 2017

A guest post by James Walley, author of "The Fathom Flies Again"

THE FATHOM FLIES AGAIN by James Walley - It's time to wake up and smell the carnage. Just as every night gives way to dawn, all dreams yield to the break of day. For Marty, that's kind of a problem. When you've fought killer clowns, sailed the seven skies, and generally laid waste to your own dreamspace, real life can be kind of a drag. At least, until your nightmares crawl through the cracks and shadows, and take a liking to your town. When the jesters come a knocking, it's time to man up. When the unmentionables under your bed come a biting, it's time to grab your trusty, pint-sized pirate compadre and lead a charge against the night terrors. What does this mean for Marty? It means the crew of The Flying Fathom are back, surfing on rainbows, swashing their buckles, and saving the world, one sleepy little town at a time. Book one of this series, The Forty First Wink, brought you a glimpse of utter, rum-swilling madness. Now The Fathom Flies Again, pushing you over the edge and chuckling at your plummeting screams, before scuttling off to find something shiny to steal. Remember, if you hear something under your bed, don't move. Don't make a sound. Draw your cutlass and think of something devilishly witty to shout, because things, my friend, are about to get all too real.

a guest post by James Walley

When I sat down to write The Forty First Wink, there were no plans for it to be part one of a trilogy. There were no plans for anything really, I just wanted to see if I could stay the course and write a novel. That lasted about four chapters, at which point I realised that there was a lot of mileage in the unfolding story I was tentatively tapping out on my newbie-author keyboard.
Fast forward a year or so. Wink is out, and happily receiving some lovely words of praise. And so it was time to stop walking, get the jetpack out and take it for a test drive.
There were so many things that drove Wink as I was writing it. My love of absurd comedy, the unlikely, rag tag group of heroes, old school horror movies and an overriding sense of fun which I wanted to be the driving force. The story does take place in a dreamscape after all, where everything is amplified, distorted and exaggerated. That was all well and good for the whimsy side, but I felt I was selling my antagonists short a little. Only a little, because come on – Demonic clowns. Put one in a tutu and make it dance a jig and it’d still be terrifying, and a little adorable.
Being a big fan of trilogies, and particularly the dark, harrowing second acts, I saw The Fathom Flies Again as an opportunity to give my Empire its time to Strike Back. I wanted to make it bigger, bleaker, and somehow more grounded in reality, and the latter is precisely where I started with this sequel. It’s all fun and games when you’re gallivanting around your own dream, even if you do have Hell’s harlequins chasing you most of the time. With Fathom, the waking world in all its grey, mundane nine-to-fivery that plays host to hordes of everyone’s worst nightmares.
I’ve always been a fan of sleepy little towns, they always seem to be the places that are set upon in horror fiction. Something about an unreal terror descending to wreak slicey mayhem on a hamlet of unsuspecting victims makes people shudder and grin in equal measure, it seems. I’ve seen and read about that very scenario so many times, and it is so ripe with possibility, that I couldn’t help but unleash my red nosed baddies on the general public, along with a few new nasties thrown in for good measure – Hey, it’s a horror homage, and who says demons can’t bring their friends on a night out?
That’s the creepy element sorted, what now? Oh yes. BIGGER.
Whilst Wink wasn’t at any stage reluctant to throw a stick of dynamite into a store selling more sticks of dynamite, I wanted Fathom to blow the roof off what had come before it. Imagine trading in your car for a monster truck, and then fixing a P.A system to the roof that perpetually thundered out The William Tell Overture, then took it for a spin through a shopping mall. Messy? Loud? Well yes, a bit, but damn that sounds like a lot of fun. I wanted the sort of triumphant fanfare for my heroes that I’d heard from the likes of Captain Chaos in The Cannonball Run, or even Sloth as he slid down the mainsail in The Goonies. Stuff that makes you want to throw a fist and everything it’s attached to into the air in appreciation of the sheer reckless bedlam you wish you could perpetrate too.
While The Forty First Wink was undoubtedly a labour of love, The Fathom Flies Again wasn’t a labour at all. It was the world and its contents that I had written about in book one, but let off the leash, and allowed to be as big, bad and bombastic as they could possibly be. Ultimately I think that’s why I had so much fun writing The Fathom Flies Again. It was as though I had laid the foundation, and now I could go ahead and build a whopping great funhouse on top of it, clowns and all.

Of course, there are worse things than clowns out there…

Hailing from the mystical isle of Great Britain, James Walley is an author who prefers his reality banana shaped.

His debut novel, The Forty First Wink, released through Ragnarok Publications in 2014 scuttles gleefully into this bracket, with a blend of humour, fantasy and the unusual.

A clutch of follow up work, both short and long (including books two and three in the Wink trilogy) are in the offing, and have a similar demented flavour.

When not writing, James is partial to a spot of singing, the odd horror movie or ten, and is a circus trained juggler.

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