Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Writer's Constant Companion; gentle words from British Horror Writer ALAN PORTER

                       A dog would most likely be asleep at my feet; a cat would certainly be asleep in front of the fire. But parrots are not big sleepers during the day. And they like to be involved.
My office is staffed by two industrious souls - me, at present working on the second draft of my new novel, and Tiki, a three year old pyrrhura conure. Pyrrhuras are easy company - they are smaller than a modern budgie and generally very quiet. They do have an ear-splitting shout inside that little body, but they don't use it often, and with the right training it is used only as an alarm call in the most extreme circumstances (eg there's a buzzard flying at the window or I've gone off to make another coffee and he's been left behind).
In common with most writers, I sit still for long periods of time. As far as Tiki in concerned I'm just keeping him company, although the truth is very much the other way around. He has a large and elaborate play-stand in the window and he entertains himself there for hours, curtain-to-curtain and windowsill-to-ceiling. I tap on the keyboard; he unravels a length of string. I kill a main character; he preens his wings. I have break; he flies over for a piece of biscuit.
And that's when I really know I don't work alone. The immutable truth about parrots is that they love company - and the closer the better. Sometimes when he flies over for a 'visit' he will just perch inside my collar and watch, sometimes he will walk down my arm and nudge my finger. This is code: It's code for 'I want to snuggle'. This involves him lying on his back, feet tucked up into his feathers, my fingers curled around him. If I'm quick, I can manage to get him into my left hand, so at least I can operate the mouse with my right and just about manage to type. If, between us, we get it right he will often nod off for half an hour and I can get on. If we don't, he'll wriggle and eventually decide that his best option is to make for the desk and throw everything on the floor.
Tiki is also a great talker. I will often discuss plot ideas, character issues, problems with pace and other dull things with him. Once engaged, he talks back. Sometimes it's in Parrot (of which I have to admit I know only a few very basic words), sometimes it's in English. I wouldn't say he has a lot to contribute to a discussion of literature, but he is a voice of reason. What does he care about passive voice or dangling modifiers? It is said that these small parrots have the intelligence of an eighteen-month old human child. That's about the level of the discussions, but it never ceases to amaze me when context-appropriate human words come out of his little beak.
Does he have any kind of imagination - any idea what I a really doing? No, but I can't imagine working without him in the background. He's not a pet; he's a companion, and that's a very rare thing for a writer to have!

Alan Porter is a British horror writer.

I was born in Wales in 1967. After a successful career as a composer of theatre and commercial music in the 1990s I moved into publishing, initially as a music typesetter, then later as a book designer.
I began writing in 2003 and my first horror novel, Midwinter Lucie, was published in 2008. A second novel, again for young adults, appeared a year later. My first adult novel, the start of a sci-fi/horror series under the title 'Firestorm' was published worldwide in Spring 2012. 'Run', a psychological horror, came out in 2013.
I live in rural Worcestershire, England, with a wife and parrot.



How do you outrun an enemy you can’t even see?

Daniel Ang lives to run, so when a freak accident leaves him in a wheelchair, he thinks his life is over.
He fights against his injury, against the creatures that did this to him, and against life itself.
What he doesn’t realise is that the real enemy is not out there at all.
It ’s inside him, and crippling his body is only the beginning....

ISBN 978-1902528-755 (352 page equivalent) ebook

Click HERE for Amazon (US) or HERE for Amazon (UK).

A world ravaged by war, humanity on the brink. A traveller comes from another time.

Is he the saviour mankind has been waiting for...or something much darker?

ISBN 978-1902528-742 (550 page equivalent) ebook £2.56

Buy now/sample (Kindle edition) The print edition can be found here

Alan Porter's fantastic debut novel - a chilling horror for anyone over 12!

ISBN 978-1902528-717 (paperback 160 pages) £5.95 / ebook £1.99 (Kindle only)

"A superb ghost story that is an ideal introduction to ghost stories for young readers." WriteAway

"The characters are real... the horror is palpable.... children's literature has found an important new talent." TES

The Black Pear

Alan Porter's second teen horror novel.

ISBN 978-1902528-816 (paperback 160 pages) £5.95 / ebook £1.99 (Kindle only)

"gripping (and) well thought-out... a novel aimed to scare and unnerve the reader, it is also a lesson in reflection and an understanding of what makes us human. " WriteAway

Buy now/sample