Greetings, fellow horror freak…
Well, it’s out there.
April saw the long-awaited release of my debut horror novel For Rye, and although my planned celebratory events were mostly contained to the week of release, the entire month has been a roller coaster, which culminated in my little nightmare hitting the #1 bestselling spot on Amazon’s new British horror releases. Ranking alongside such amazing releases was an honour, so thanks to you all for making that happen!
I’ve had a great time throughout the month seeing my baby out in the wild as you’ve sent me pictures of For Rye landing on your doorsteps. There’s one gentleman, however, who deserves an extra special shout-out. His name is Miguel Gonçalves, and not only did he purchase both the digital and physical versions of the book, but he’s also gone to great lengths to get the word out there in any way possible. He’s left reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads, posted across his social media channels, and gave me the great thrill of recording the first ever video review of For Rye. He was also one of the five winners of the giveaway I hosted during release, but since he’d already purchased a copy of the book, he has an extra special prize on its way to him as we speak. Here’s the legend himself:
Thanks again, Miguel!
Throughout the month I had the great pleasure to taking part in a bunch of interviews in which I was able to dig into the workings of For Rye, and was presented with several opportunities to reveal elements of the writing process behind the book, offer my advice to writers just starting out, and give my opinions on the current state of the horror genre. You can check out a full list of my appearances HERE, which include both video interviews and written Q&A sessions.
Another massive shout-out has to go to Michelle, AKA CoffeeFitnessUnicorn, who took the time to conduct two interviews throughout release week, one of which came in at a whopping two-and-a-half hours! She also featured me on her website for a Q&A session, where you can also watch the video interviews.
As well as that, excerpts of For Rye were featured in the legendary Scottish horror website Ginger Nuts of Horror, and Puzzle Box Horror, both of which also conducted interviews with yours truly, again found in ‘appearances’ section of my website.
Throughout release week I took a trembling step out of my comfort zone by recording a bunch of live readings from the book on Instagram. I didn’t have the courage to put these up on YouTube, but you can still find them on my feed. This is the social media channel on which I’m most active, so do give me a follow and say hello!
Finally, the reviews have started to trickle in. Richard Martin from MyIndieMuse said:
“This is a relentlessly bleak love letter to the horror genre. Not an easy read, and certainly not for the squeamish, but a bold and memorable book, big on ideas and bursting at the seams with creativity and unpredictability.”
Author extraordinaire Stephen Howard said:
“Yet it is also a deliciously grotesque tale of revenge. Gardiner skilfully drags us to hell and… well, he never really brings us back. The writing is as sharp as the knives in their eyes, the horror builds and builds until it starts to hammer you like a relentless storm, and in here are memorable characters that will surely stay with you long after you finish reading.”
And I was particularly pleased that Victoria Gross from FanFiAddict found in my book a cathartic experience:
“For Rye is not an easy read for anyone with mental illness, but I will tell you this: it was one of the most cathartic experiences of my life. Gavin Gardiner gave me a character that I could see myself in: she was broken, manipulated, meek. And I was rooting for her to come back strong and solve this mystery. I was ready to see her get her life back.”
Plenty more have been cropping up on Amazon, Goodreads, and social media, and continue to do so. It’s a surreal experience reading everyone’s thoughts on a story that’s been nothing more than a storm inside my head for four years. This is an inevitable phase in the lifecycle of any book, when it finally makes it out of the author’s brain and into everyone else’s, and it’s proving a fascinating stage of the game.
I always imagined the weeks following the eventual publication of For Rye as being the end of a journey, the closing of a chapter, but now that those weeks have rolled by it’s become evident to me that the journey’s only just beginning. Small-time authors such as myself don’t have marketing departments, and must grab the reigns of visibility themselves. It’s for this reason I humbly ask those who have read (and survived) my little nightmare to consider leaving even a short review on Amazon and/or Goodreads, as this is the number one way for a book to be taken seriously.
Having said that, my greatest wish is for you to enjoy the horrors I’ve carved out for you. With every passing day my plans for future books are solidifying in my mind, and grand plans of which must remain a secret for now beg with increasing ferocity to be let out.
What I can tell you is that For Rye is only the beginning, and I very much hope you’ll join me for the nightmares to come.
Once again, I offer the bloodiest of thanks to you all for getting me this far.
The nightmare is here…