Pete Sutton lives in the wilds of Fishponds, Bristol, UK and dreams up stories, many of which are about magpies.
He's had his work published, online and in book form. Pete has just released his FANTASTIC debut novel "Sick City Syndrome".
You can find him all over social media or worrying about life, the universe and events he’s organised at the Bristol Festival of Literature.
Pete signed for Kensington Gore Publishing early March 2016 and we have published his fantastic collection of short stories. "A Tiding of Magpies" and his debut novel " Sick City Syndrome". The first of many we hope.
Pete is on Twitter he’s @suttope
His Bristol Book Blog is here:
Pete is a contributing editor of Far Horizons e-magazine:
KG: What or who inspired you to be a writer?
PS: I always had the vague thought – “I’d like to write one day” - Miss Dempsey, my English teacher when I twelve/thirteen, encouraged me after reading some short stories; although I think if you asked me at the time I’d have said – ‘I want to be a scientist’. I did write a play under her tutelage that was performed by my school though.
Then I discovered role-playing games (not that sort, the ones involving dice) and for a long time writing the interactive stories satisfied my storytelling urge. I haven’t done any roleplaying for a few years now, as the stories have taken over!
In 2011 I attended the inaugural Bristol Festival of Literature, as a punter. I then volunteered and ended up running events and now I’m one of the organisers. Around the same time a couple of my friends got publishing deals. Meeting a lot of writers made me realise that the people who wrote books were just people. I know, an odd realisation to come so late. I’d been putting writers on a bit of a pedestal and assuming I couldn’t be one as you needed to have something special. My “I’d like to write one day” turned into “I should write something.”
In 2012, I considered writing, but didn’t really know where to start. I had started helping out with a local publisher, Vala, after working with them on an event for the Bristol Festival of Literature and went to one of their book launches. “Writing without a Parachute” by Barbara Turner Vesselago.
I had a chat with her and expressed my vague – “I’d like to write something one day.” And she asked me, “what’s stopping you?” To which I had no good answer. It felt like I’d been given permission to write. But like a proper writer I still procrastinated for several months.
The first short story I wrote was called ‘Steinbeck’s Pencil’ and was written for Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath because Ed, their assistant manager, is a big fan of pencils! It was just for fun as were the next few stories. Then Wizards Tower Press did a call for Steampunk Stories for Airship Shape and Bristol Fashion, some of my friends were submitting so I thought I’d give it a go. The fourth story I ever wrote was accepted! I’ll always be grateful to them for that, and for the many rounds of editing it took before the rough pile of words I’d submitted was actually publishable. That gave me an appetite to see more of my words in print…
KG: What gave you the idea of your latest book?
PS: The book I’m writing now, Sick City Syndrome, was sparked from a short story. One of the ones I wrote for fun. At Nine Worlds I submitted it to a critique by the T-Party (Sara Townsend was one of the people who critiqued it) and they rightly tore it apart. I had a, shall we say, idiosyncratic way with punctuation before that session. I did get told that the idea was good though so I put it away thinking I’d come back to it at some point. I then wrote a totally different story as a submission for an anthology of ghost stories, although it wasn’t accepted the two stories seemed to speak to each other and gang up in my subconscious. The book has a totally different protagonist than either of the stories that sparked it and obviously has grown a lot in the telling.
Sick City Syndrome is about: stories and cities, environmental science and magic, ghosts and storytellers. It is about Susan, who is trying to find out why her fiancé committed suicide by burning down their new house.
KG: Who is your favourite writer?
PS: Well… This is a difficult one for me as I always wonder why I’m only ever restricted to one! I’m a big fan of Borges, but as a short story writer only could I say he’s my favourite? Not sure – I’ll also throw in John Fowles and Jeff VanderMeer – I can have three right?
KG: By all means. What's your favourite book?
PS: See above – how could I choose just one? I have a hard time choosing what my favourite book is from a favourite writer (for Borges I can cheat as I have his complete stories). So this is an impossible question! I have recently just built an extra couple of bookshelves to hold the books that were, until that point, stacked up in various parts of the house. The new bookshelves are already full, I still have a few hundred books without a home on the shelves and am running out of wall space to put up any more shelves.
KG: Do you read a lot? If so what are you reading right now?
PS: Define a lot? Because you know it’s not really a problem, I could give it up, any time. <twitch>
I am a biblioholic - I have lots of books and they seem to be breeding. I read over a hundred books a year (a couple of years ago before sitting down to write my first novel I read 181 in a year). Starting in 2010 I started reviewing books online, and after a while I started on my own book blog. I have even been paid to review books for a couple of magazines.
I'm a one book at a time kinda guy though and probably by the time you read this I’ll already have finished what I’m currently reading - which is ‘The Sign in the Moonlight’ by David Tallerman. I will tackle that ever growing TBR (To Be Read pile) though…
KG: What writing projects are you working on at the moment?
PS: I’ve just submitted a story for The Refuge Collection, edited by Steve Dillon, and am awaiting the edits. I’ve also been working on a serialised novella called ‘Tales for the Ferryman’ for Far Horizons magazine, but have had a couple of months break on that, but will get back to it very soon. But most of my writing time at the moment is going on finishing Sick City Syndrome.
KG: Where do you see yourself and your writing in five years time?
PS: I’ll be older and wiser (I can dream about being wiser!) and still writing and will have a few published books in the world. It’s clear that you never stop learning about the craft so I’ll know more, but possibly will have more of an inkling about how much I don’t know too.
KG: What do you like most about writing?
PS: Finishing a piece of work. All the grinding of teeth, all the sweat of the brow, all the staring into space whilst desperately trying to think of what happens next, is over. It all seems worth it once you’ve finished. That is until the editing starts and then you wonder what sort of moron wrote the drivel you are being forced to correct!
KG: What one writing tip would you share?
PS: I have, over the last couple of years, asked a wide variety of writers and editors to tell me, in one sentence, what their best piece of advice was for new writers. There is a huge variety there, from Toby Litt, to Gareth L Powell, from Mike Carey to Karin Tidbeck. But Alistair Rennie’s answer has stuck with me as it needs a visceral understanding. ‘There are no rules.’
KG: What would you say to inspire young writers?
PS: Don’t wait for someone to give you permission. You already have everything you need to be a writer. Just read, write, edit and repeat.
© Kensington Gore Publishing 2016
Described by first readers as ‘Deliciously Dark’ enter the world of writer Pete Sutton. Tales themed on the counting magpies song – “One for sorrow… ” A Tiding of Magpies is an enchanting short story collection which will give you a pleasurable shiver up the spine as you guess at which stories are inspired by which lines of the song.
Whether it is waking up to unmentionable sounds in Not Alone, or taking a trip to the land of stories in Five for Silver, the surprising use of a robot butler in I, Butler or the competition winners It Falls and An Unexpected Return, and many more, these thirty one tales, ranging from tiny flash fiction to long stories of several thousand words, always entertain, even when they disconcert.
These darkly fantastical tales have been published in anthologies and magazines or written especially and collected here for the first time by Kensington Gore Publishing.
Pete Sutton helps organise Bristol Festival of Literature where he is well-known as ‘the genre guy.’ He writes The Bristol Book Blog - http://brsbkblog.blogspot.co.uk/ as well as edits Far Horizons Magazine - https://farhorizonsmagazine.wordpress.com/
What if it was accepted that there really were ghosts? That mediums could actually talk to the dead. That your dearly departed continued to exist on a spiritual plane and that at certain places, or in certain people they could manifest?
Susan is living in a fog of grief after the death of her fiancé. When she is given a dossier that promises answers as to why he died she starts to investigate.
Susan is about to discover that the city is sick and things are much weirder than she ever imagined.
All she wanted to do was talk to him and ask him why.
Sick City Syndrome is Peter Sutton's debut novel. It is a tense, psychological, horror, that will make you look at your world in a different way.
Sometimes sickness is built in.
"An extraordinary novel with an intriguing premise. Pete Sutton is an author to watch." - Gareth L Powell award winning author of the Ack-Ack Macaque books
"An imaginative and thrilling tale with some genuinely unexpected twists." - Sara Jane Townsend Horror Author
"A fast-paced supernatural thriller, Cronenbergian in its scope, which goes straight to the heart of good storytelling. Sutton combines first class mystery with realistic human drama. Read this at your peril. Once started, it's not so easy to put down." - Alistair Rennie, author of BleakWarrior