Welcome to our latest arrival! It’s a bit of a prickly one, gets in your head and might fester there for a while, bringing shadows and uncertainty as it stays with you…
Doesn’t it sound fantastic?
Hard for Hope to Flourish, our latest volume in the Midnight Bites series, is a three-novella mini-anthology featuring stories by authors from the UK and Kenya.
The book opens with “The Cliffman,” by Melanie Bell. In this novelette, two sisters, each with their own hopes and dreams and longing to escape from the roles their parents have cast them in, wander the beach seeking that escape. Bell’s story of family and love and growing up is a quiet, slow dark fantasy burn.
What draws Bell to the genre of horror?
“It’s a playground for exploring the world’s dark sides,” Bell says. And in her novelette, there are elements of play and danger, of childlike wonder and ancient wisdom, and creatures and adults who see the children as vessels for their own formative desires.
Bell grew up in rural Prince Edward Island, the setting of which, she says, served as the inspiration for “The Cliffman,” with its red cliffs and “shocking beauty.” With the stark imagery and the evolving relationship between the two sisters and the creatures they meet, this story opens the volume and invites the reader farther down the path of horror, dark fantasy, and settings where those you meet are not as they seem.
The second novelette is “Paranoia: The Disappearance of Mr. Boasi Joram Nyaoma” by Kenyan author Nyamweya Maxwell. This story is his publishing debut, and the depth and descriptions within the piece promise more from his dark pen.
“Style is always a challenge,” Maxwell explains, when asked about his writing process. “The story always determines the style and getting the style to match the content is no easy matter.”
“Paranoia” has a distinctly literary style, one that draws the reader into Mr. Boasi Joram Nyaoma’s everyday life as the voices in his head get louder and louder…
The final novella in the mini-anthology is Thomas Ouphe’s “The Whispering Marsh.” Although creatures feature prominently in the events of this piece of horror fiction, much of the tension comes from the family at the center of the conflict. Amelia’s family hasn’t been the same since her father disappeared in the middle of a family outing. Making matters worse, the tabloid press seized on his vanishing and have not missed a chance to drag the family back into the spotlight. But the most vile media imaginings haven’t even come close to what actually lives in the marshland beyond the wall.
When asked what draws him to the horror genre, Ouphe answers, “Purity.”
He further elaborates: “Horror gives a distinct threat, a clear challenge and an almost universal sense of resolution. All stories are driven to some degree by the metaphorical clash of humanity versus monster. But in horror, you get to have actual monsters.
“Horror strips humanity down to its most basic need to survive, and in that, there is a purity that is hard to match in any other genre. All the protagonist has to do is make it out alive. Anything else they’ve done wrong can only be fixed if they survive.”
In the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing some more in-depth conversations with the authors. In the meantime, you can check them out at their information below. If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of Hard for Hope to Flourish, you can purchase it here. And, if you have read it, we’d love a review on Amazon or Goodreads!
Check out author Nyamweya Maxwell online at Twitter!