Wednesday, 24 October 2012


     Short stories. You know, the easy-to-write stuff. Just like novels, except that they are shorter and take up less time and effort. And nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.

     I have now had thirteen full length books published (counting STARSHINE,which comes out on 11th November)and have written dozens of short stories, but only one of the latter have seen the light of day.

     This is probably due to two reasons: I was not very good at writing 'em and there are very few publications left in the UK that publish short stories. I feel now that one of the mistakes I have always made in trying to create the short stuff is in regarding the form as - as stated above - really novels in a diminutive form; i.e. with a defined beginning, middle and end. Now, I am not sure that that is right. In fact, I think it is wrong.

     Re-reading some of the past masters of the genre - V.S.Pritchett, William Trevor, Hemmingway, Katherine Mansfield, Scott Fitzgerald et al - I have become increasingly aware that they depict what is, in effect, a slice of life; their tales are observations on the human condition as revealed by glimpsing a happening, often not one of high drama, that illustrate what it's all about Alfie. Some of the earlier successful specialists, such as O'Henry and de Maupassant, employed the device of a slick, surprise ending to lift the tale, but the basic technique remained the same: one of revealing an episode that depicted some great truth.

    So, having STARSHINE, my World War I novel poised on the slipway for launch next month, and the latest Fonthill safely put to bed for publication in the Spring of 2013, I have a little time in hand. I will, then, dip my arthritic toe into the seemingly so placid waters of short story writing.

     I'll let you know how I get on.


  1. Hi john
    nearly finished the war of dragon lady looking forward to starting your next book
    about first world war

  2. Thanks, Ciaran. STARSHINE is a bit different from the Fonthill novels - but not all that much, I guess. More a love story set against all the actions and, of course, with different characters. Let me know what you think of it. Good reading!


  3. John, just completed reading all the Fonthill novels on a new kindle. I had read them over the years when released on paperback. Ie started a digital library for myself. It is a luxury to read the stories back to back now which took years for your to craft and publish. I enjoyed them all.

    I hope you keep the enthusiasm for the characters and the writing! I hope STARSHINE is a success and not a distraction from 352's travels

    I look forward to the next installment!

  4. Thanks, Andrew. Blimey! - reading all the Fonthills back-to-back is quite an achievement and something that I wouldn't wish on even my sainted mother. But Starshine, now safely launched, will not be a diversion away from Jenkins et al - and neither will the projected book of short stories I refer to in the blog, for it now looks as though my publishers now want at least another two Fonthills so I must take my mind back again to the Dear Old Empire.

    Thanks for your interest and your support.


  5. Hi, John, this is Jessie from NY, in Soho, remember boring Eli., I had no idea, you wrote so many books. I want to get your book on Warhol. If you remember me, you shot me in one of your cable shows. Here is my e-mail, I am doing
    some art work now. I have to take some photo's of what I have. I hope you remember me. I was looking at your Video on the discussing of Warhol Autobiography. Jessie Shrieves