Publication Day for Carrion by Graeme Cumming @GraemeCumming63

Congratulations to Graeme Cumming on the publication of his latest book Carrion. I’m delighted to feature Graeme with a guest post about how lessons learned in his own childhood found themselves expressed, albeit more extremely, in Carrion. But first a little bit about the book itself.

Carrion is a thriller but, like Graeme’s previous novel, Ravens Gathering, it’s a thriller that crosses genres – because sometimes a story doesn’t fit neatly into a box. Fantasy is an element common to both books, though it’s a little more pronounced here. Nevertheless, Carrion isn’t a fantasy novel: it’s an action-adventure with dark undertones, twists and turns, and the odd cliff-hanger thrown in for good measure.

 

Carrion_eBook

 

CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY. WORDS HAVE POWER.

A sheet of black filled his vision as hundreds of birds dived at the cottage, pointed beaks thrust forward. From this angle, he couldn’t see many of them striking it, but the few he did see held nothing back as they hammered into the shutter. The scale of the attack was beyond anything he’d seen or heard of. And bloodied casualties littered the ground: skulls shattered, wings broken, innards spilling from them. The fact that so many of them continued with the onslaught in spite of this filled him with even more dread.

Salin has always wanted an adventure and, when the opportunity presents itself, he grabs it with both hands, taking his friends along for the ride – whether they want to or not.

With strange lands come strange creatures that stand between them and their goal.

And that goal is the same for someone else, a man who believes the prize is worth every sacrifice – especially when the sacrifices are made by others.

The future is about to change. But who for?

 

A Fine Line by Graeme Cumming

 

They say an author should write what they know. But it doesn’t mean you have to have faced a dragon to be able to write about it. In my own writing, I’ve drawn more on my emotional experiences than what I’ve done. 

In Ravens Gathering, I made reference to an outside loo with a square seat made of dark wood – and I remember it well from visiting my grandparents. Similarly, a character reflects on his childhood and recalls a kite he had with an image of a spaceman on it. To be precise, the kite had an astronaut on it, and my granddad bought it when he came on holiday with my family in the late 1960s. From that same holiday, an incident inspired something I wrote in Carrion.

My dad and I were playing with a football on the beach. My dad was always a great sportsman, so he was very skilled, whereas I never have been. Any game he and I played was always one-sided – and not just when I was a child. In his fifties, he could leave me a sodden wreck after forty minutes on a squash court. So, it’ll come as no surprise to know it was me who kicked the ball in the wrong direction, sending it hurtling out into the sea. 

The tide was going out and, before long, it became apparent that the ball was going with it. My dad did go after the ball but, after a while, he returned without it – which didn’t go down well with me. I might not have been the best footballer in the world, but I wanted my ball back. 

He did try his best to explain how it wasn’t possible to get the ball without putting his life at risk, but I can still recall a sense of being let down.

In Carrion, I included a scene where a character has a sudden revelation when he reflects on a similar experience with his own father.

Dalwin had fashioned a less than circular hoop from a long, thin branch, bound with twine to keep it together. They’d taken it in turns to roll it along the ground as they made their way through the trees. As with most six-year olds, Salin had been keen to impress his father and spun it as far as he could. It’d been a good roll, because the hoop went much further than he expected, wobbling a little as its momentum died, and disappearing over a ridge.

Father and son had jogged over. Proud of his achievement, Salin had been full of himself, while Dalwin used his big hands to ruffle the boy’s hair and told him what a great roll it had been. Then they’d looked down to see it in a familiar stretch of the river.

“You go and get it, Dad.” Salin said it as if he’d been debating who should climb the forty feet or so down to the riverbank.  

The hoop was floating in calm water and drifting gently. Further downstream, though, the current was picking up speed, and white water betrayed the hidden rocks.  

Dalwin smiled down at his son and patted him on the shoulder. “No,” he said with resignation. “We’ll just have to make another one.”

“But I want that one!” Salin was adamant.

“I’m sorry,” Dalwin said reasonably. “The river’s too dangerous here.”

“Aren’t you brave enough?” he’d demanded. 

And Dalwin had shaken his head and smiled. 

“You know, there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity.” He looked down, and Salin followed his gaze as the hoop was suddenly caught in the current and splintered as it slammed against one of the rocks. Dalwin looked back at his son. “I don’t want to cross it today. Let’s go and make another one.”

In case you’re wondering, yes, I did accuse my dad of not being brave enough. I learnt the lesson in the end, though. So does Salin, though his experiences are a little more extreme than mine have ever been.


 

About the Author

Graeme Cumming - Author

Graeme Cumming lives in Robin Hood country.  He has wide and varied tastes when it comes to fiction so he’s conscious that his thrillers can cross into territories including horror, fantasy and science fiction as well as more traditional arenas.

 

When not writing, Graeme is an enthusiastic sailor (and, by default, swimmer), and enjoys off-road cycling and walking.  He is currently Education Director at Sheffield Speakers Club.  Oh yes, and he reads (a lot) and loves the cinema.

You can follow Graeme via:- His website, Facebook and Twitter

 

 

 

 

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