fluid-tog fixed-tog

So, Wiescka and I have settled back in England again, mainly for family reasons. We have three sons here, and two mothers, and we have always been very close

. I shall miss Cork, especially the many friends we made there. During the four years we lived there, I think I wrote some of the best work I have ever done, including Trauma (aka Bonnie Winter); A Terrible Beauty; Darkroom; The Hidden World and The Devil in Gray. Maybe it’s the soft Irish water; or that pearly grey light; or the peacefulness.

In the end, however, no matter how many friends and acquaintances you make in Cork, it is almost impossible to become assimilated. The Corkinese are suspicious even of people who come from Midleton, which is only nine miles away, so you can imagine what they felt about a Scot married to a Pole. The old woman next door always called us 'blow-ins', and in the end we blew out again. You can read my poem A Farewell To Ireland in Tom Piccirilli’s brilliant collection of poems by horror authors, The Devil's Wine. I think that explains it completely.

I shall miss those afternoons in Henchy’s, however, drinking Guinness and lunching on boiled gammon and cabbage and parsley sauce, with the pale sun shining through the stained-glass windows, and Paddy O’Reilly cracking sarcastic jokes behind the bar.

I shall miss the mountains of Kerry, and the inlets where the seals used to lie on the rocks; and I shall miss the wet afternoons in Patrick’s Street, and the jostling crowds. I shall certainly not miss the smell of fish in the English Market, or the greasy River Lee, in which our sad friend Dermot Murphy decided one night to end it all.

Since we have been back in England, so many of my novels have been optioned for movies and television that I have lost count – including Trauma, Family Portrait, The Pariah, Ritual, A Terrible Beauty, Innocent Blood and the short story, 'Anti-Claus'. Out of these, only Family Portrait and A Terrible Beauty remain in the running.

But the novels keep coming out, and sales are getting stronger and stronger. There is no doubt that the up-and-coming generation of readers have a keen interest in fantasy and horror and the supernatural, but there is also no doubt that they are much more demanding, and expect believable characters and well-constructed plots and a high degree of originality. I find it much more challenging to write for today’s audience than I did when I first started in 1976.

Wiescka and I made another promotional visit to Poland in May, to coincide with the publication of Chaos Theory in Polish, and the Warsaw Book Fair. I signed hundreds of books and did scores of television, internet and magazine interviews in Warsaw, and then we took the three-hour train journey south to Krakow, for more signing sessions and more interviews.

We had never been to Krakow before. It is a very historic and beautiful old city, with a ring of parks around it that used to be the city’s defensive wall. But the wall became so infested with thieves and prostitutes that the city fathers decided to demolish it.

Polish restaurants get better and better with every passing year. After their initial enchantment with McDonald’s, the Poles now seem to have found confidence in their own cuisine, and we had some wonderful bigos (hunter’s stew, served in a huge, hollowed-out brioche), golabki (stuffed cabbage), river trout and veal schnitzels.

It is strange to be so famous in Poland that teenage girls hang around outside the TV studios hoping to get my autograph, and my name is on a brass plaque at the Royal Meridien Bristol Hotel in Warsaw, about two above Macy Gray and just to the right of HRH the Crown Prince of Austria. Yet in the UK I still find it difficult to get my books published by a mass-market publisher.

I call it Norman Wisdom Syndrome ... fabulously famous in Romania but practically forgotten in his own country. Mind you, Norman Wisdom might have been even more forgotten if he wasn’t still nimble on his feet ... I nearly ran him over not long ago when he was coming out of my local pub.

The writing is going fabulously well, however. The 5th Witch is due for publication by Leisure Books in New York in May, 2008. The Painted Man is due out from Severn House within the very foreseeable future. The absolute final showdown between Harry Erskine and Misquamacus is on the stocks, and Jim Rook is set to make a spectacular comeback. Look out for a surprise new series, too.

What makes life especially rewarding is the warm and encouraging response I receive every single day from readers and contributors to my message-board. When you’re working alone, as writers do, it is incredibly important to have compliments and criticism, too. Any comments or suggestions or stray thoughts that you may have about my books (or anything else) are always welcome.

Very best wishes to all of you.


Graham Masterton
July, 2007

Earlier letters:
Letters from Ireland, December 2003
Letters from Ireland, January 2002
Letters from Ireland, July 2000
Letters from Ireland, February 2000

AGENT: My agent is Wiescka Masterton Literary Agency, tel 00 44 (0)1737 359838; fax 00 44 (0) 1737 361293; email manitouman1@yahoo.com

Fan mail to Graham Masterton: manitouman1@yahoo.com