Historical fiction – where to draw the line

The issue of factual inaccuracy in historical fiction is a perpetual source of debate, and occasional outbreaks of controversy. Reports in the media today pick up on this issue with aspects of the new film Mary Queen of Scots labelled ‘problematic’ by a historian in a BBC report with the Telegraph going as far as…

Nemesister – review and interview with Sophie Jonas-Hill

I am pleased to welcome to Air and Sea Stories, Sophie Jonas-Hill, whose pacy psychological thriller Nemesister was recently published by Urbane Publications. First off, a review of the book, followed by an interview with Sophie: Review – Nemesister Sophie Jonas-Hill’s novel is an incredibly atmospheric thriller that swings from eerie to brooding to intense…

Detectives of the occult – hanged, drawn and quarterly

I wasn’t really aware of just how enduringly popular the Occult Detective is in literature and other art forms until recently. It was through fellow writer and aficionado of weird fiction and long dogs, John Linwood Grant, that I had my initiation into the genre. John, with Sam Gafford, edits a new publication that promises…

Interview with ‘Last Roundhead’ author Jemahl Evans

Air and Sea Stories is pleased to welcome Jemahl Evans, author of the critically acclaimed The Last Roundhead (Caerus Press, 2015) and the forthcoming sequel This Deceitful Light, which is due for publication in September. Jemahl graduated with an MA in History, focussing on poetry and propaganda during the Wars of the Roses, and started…

Stealing the editor’s chair

My co-editor JA Ironside has already given a fascinating account of the process of editing the anthology A Seeming Glass on her blog here, so I shan’t go over ground she has so ably covered. That said, I thought it might be interesting to add my perspective on how this collection of stories came into…

Free short story – ‘Ascent’

The short story ‘Ascent’ can be downloaded here for free in honour of the first successful ascent of the Eiger Nordwand, on this day in 1938 AscentMWillis240714 The short story collection ‘A Seeming Glass’, co-edited by me and JA Ironside will be published next month. See The Random Writers website for more details A Seeming…

The frigate in literature

A little while ago someone asked me what kind of ship a frigate was. When you’re as immersed in naval culture and terminology as you become when writing a novel on the subject, it’s easy to lose track of terms that many people might not be familiar with. These aren’t necessarily things you need to…

Stories for Homes anthology – supporting Shelter

Several very good friends of mine have stories in this very exciting anthology, just released today. Stories for Homes is a collection of stories inspired by the theme of ‘home’, and all the proceeds will go to the charity Shelter. If that weren’t reason enough, early feedback suggests that this is an amazingly good collection…

Difficult Second Novel

It’s so hackneyed a concept as to be a cliche. The difficult second novel/ album/ breakfast (delete as applicable). The problem, as with most old saws, is that there is truth in it. This is why it doesn’t go away. My first novel – and please prepare for a second cliche – ‘amost wrote itself’….

The chase – a story of a spy in the sky

Since he arrived in Malta, it had been drummed into Pilot Officer Peter Ross that using your radio in the air was “a wonderful way to commit suicide.” Air Commodore Frank had snapped that at him on his first day. “The enemy has stations only a handful of miles away. They’ll have a fix on…

Shipping forecast stories

The short series of stories about the shipping forecast were originally written for the monthly competition on the Word Cloud writing community. There are three so far, but another is on its way. The first, ‘German Bight’ is based around the Battle of Heligoland Bight, one of a series of clashes between German and British…