Brit Grit Alley

Brit Grit Alley features news and updates on what's happening down British crime fiction's booze and blood soaked alleyways.

By Paul D. Brazill 

Ey up! This week's guest columnist is none other than Darren Sant, creator of the fantastic TALES FROM THE LONGCROFT series. The blurb: 'Darren Sant has created an excellent series of gritty urban tales set in and around the fictional Longcroft Estate. Featuring the kind of flawed, blurred and, occasionally, downright sinister characters that inhabit today's Britain his work is a masterpiece of crime fiction and social realism combined. All we can say is just enjoy reading this first volume of three stories, look forward to the next one and, most of all, be glad you don't live there! '

Take it away Daz! 

The Rise of Speculative Fiction by Darren Sant

I've never liked the way genre fiction is looked down upon by the literati. As talented author Josh Stallings recently said, "A book is a book."

A genre is just a label used to help publishers categorise fiction into markets. Sadly, the buying public buy into this and some folk rarely stray from a chosen favourite genre.

To me perhaps more important than a book is a book is the idea that people are people and almost all fiction, regardless of genre, is about people. Before Terry Pratchett rose to fame and became the hugely successful author that he is today his fiction was looked down upon as quirky fantasy. Those of us that have been reading his work from the outset knew better. Pratchett is a master character conjurer and people love his books for these characters. We can see ourselves in the likes of Granny Weatherwax, Captain Carrot, Nobby Nobbs or even Lord Vetinari.

The rise of the e-reader has allowed many writers to bring us interesting and different fiction at a fraction of the cost of a novel. Some of the most interesting fiction falls between genres. Paul D.Brazill's cross-genre Werewolf Noir series Drunk On The Moon is one of the best examples of a successful and entertaining series that might not have found a publisher in the pre-kindle era. It’s an excellent fusion of two different genres but it would leave the single minded corporate marketing suits chewing valium by the bucket load. Of course it shouldn’t because a good product is a good product but dinosaurs are slow to react to change.

In these times of ridiculous day walking sparkly vampires it's nice to have an antidote with something dark and different. People have woken up to the fact that the world is now their oyster and we are seeing collections weird fiction that wears its eclecticality like a badge of honour.

These are interesting times for the reader and I'd say to any content to go down the self-publishing road just make it interesting, your characters gripping and readers won't mind if your setting is unconventional. Story structure need not be conventional either provided it works and can be understood. Experiment with genre and don't hold yourself back. So as an avid reader I dare you to surprise me. Bring on the weirdness!
Thanks much, Darren!


Spinetingler Award nominee Paul D. Brazill has had bits and bobs of short fiction published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Mammoth Books Of Best British Crime 8 and 10,and he has edited the anthologies True Brit Grit & Off The Record 2– with Luca Veste - and Drunk On The Moon 1 and 2. His ebooks Red Esperanto, Death On A Hot Afternoon, 13 Shots Of Noir, Vin Of Venus (with David Cranmer & Garnett Elliot ) and Snapshots are out now, and his novellas The Gumshoe and Guns Of Brixton will be out pretty damned  soon. His blog is here.