After Memory Seed and Glass were published, I, like a lot of midlist authors, was dropped by Orbit. However, interest continued in my debut during the years that followed, leading me to write three short stories beginning at or set in the Spired Inn, a location I used throughout the novel.
The first was written for Keith Brooke’s Infinity Plus, then a site online for British authors in particular. Called The Green Realm Below, it told of events over a vast time scale, allowing the reader to experience the future of Kray away from Zinina and the Clocktower. The second was written for an anthology and was called Dr Vanchovy’s Final Case. This was fun to write – a detective story, set almost entirely in the Spired Inn. I brought in two male characters, the titular detective and Barakystys, a youth employed by Dhow-lin. The third story was called Granny, and detailed the harsh life-or-death rituals and customs of the Cemetery revellers, not least Granny herself.
These three stories received little coverage, and after the third one I moved on to other projects. Fast forward to 2018 and I received an email from my friend Ian Whates at Newcon Press. We had for some years discussed an anthology of my stories, but never managed to make it happen, so Ian suggested we extract the three Krayan tales from what we already had and that I write two new stories to make a new work. I was absolutely thrilled to receive this request, not least because it gave me a bona fide excuse to make a final return to Kray. In addition, the work was guaranteed publication with Newcon, making it an attractive proposition for me.
Writing Funeral For A Pyuter and First Temple (which featured the return of Barakystys) was a delight. I was amazed how easy it was for me to immerse myself once again in Kray. I think that city and the scenario as a whole must represent me in some deep way, because I’d forgotten none of it and felt all the old fascinations. Ian’s offer also allowed me to write a piece set in the Galactic Quarter, which I had not properly visited in the original novel.
The new cover for the 25th anniversary edition of Memory Seed echoes the Art Nouveau-styled cover I designed for Tales From The Spired Inn. The two books are definitely of a piece.
All in all, writing the Newcon anthology was a wonderful experience for a lucky author.