The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales Of Victorian Terror, by William Meikle is coming out on December 9th. This is a great book by my Scottish friend. One I'm sure you'll love.
Straight from the master himself:
BLOG POST: SCOTTISH SUPERNATURAL
FICTION AND ME BY WILLIE MEIKLE
I'm Willie, I'm a Scotsman, and I like horror fiction.
A lot of my work, long and short form, has been set in Scotland, and a lot of it uses the history
and folklore. There's just something about the misty landscapes and old buildings that speaks straight to my soul. (Bloody Celts... we get all sentimental at the least wee thing).
Scottish history goes deep. You can't swing a cat without hitting a castle or a historic monument or, from further back, a burial mound or standing stone. Five thousand years of living in mist and dampness, wind and snow, lashing rain and high seas leads to the telling of many tales of eldritch beings abroad in the dark nights. Add in the constant risk of invasion and war from Romans, Danes,
Irishmen, Vikings and English and you can see that there's plenty of fertile ground for both fact and fiction to merge into a rich and varied mythology.
I grew up in the West Coast of Scotland in an environment where the supernatural was almost commonplace. My grannie certainly had a touch of “thesight”, always knowing when someone in the family was in trouble. There are numerous stories told of family members meeting other, long dead, family in their dreams, and I myself have had more than a few encounters, with dead family, plus meetings with what I can only class as residents of faerie. I have had several precognitive dreams,
one of which saved me from a potentially fatal car crash.
What with all of that, it was only natural that my taste in reading would take a turn towards the spooky.
I think my first close encounter of the Scottish kind must have been with Rabbie Burns. I'm from Ayrshire like Rabbie, and we share a birthday, so he was ever present in my early schooling. I remember learning a recital of the galloping frenzy of Tam o' Shanter as drunken Tam escapes the witches Sabbath by the skin of his teeth.
Walter Scott too wasn't above slipping wraiths and fairies and fey folk into his romances, and he too was an early sight for me of some old Scots preoccupations with the darker side.
When I started reading seriously for myself, Treasure Island was one of my early favorites, and it led me directly to the man who would be a lifelong companion. Robert Louis Stevenson didn't just anchor a whole sub-culture of horror with Doctor Jeckyll and his alter-ego-- he also wrote some of the greatest adventure novels of all time, and some of the most beautifuly constructed short stories you ever did read. He also introduced me to Scottish history in a way that school books had never managed, and through him I was led to Victorian Edinburgh and London, and directly into the arms of another great Scotsman.
Yes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was Scottish. No, he wasn't an English gentleman. Now
that's out of the way... I fell in love with Doyle through Challenger more than Holmes at first, from a love of The Lost World that persists to this day. Holmes came along later, and when I started writing Holmes stories of my own, the supernatural kept creeping into them, which gets me castigated by
Sherlockian purists, but I don't care; as a Scotsman, like Doyle, steeped in the stories told in the mists and dark rooms in old buildings, it feels as natural to me as breathing. Doyle also wrote some top notch horror shorts that were a big favorite of mine in those early years.
Also writing at the same time was Margaret Oliphant, a prolific Scotswoman better known for romantic dramas than supernatural works, but in later years I discovered a ghost stories collection of hers and was delighted to discover that she too shared our kinfolk's love for the things that live in the dark and foggy nights in the auld country.
My later reading in my early teens before I found Moorcock then Lovecraft then King was almost
all sci-fi or thriller based, but there too I found Scots with a taste for the darkside, in John Buchan and
especially Alistair MacLean, a man who would have made a great pulp horror writer in different circumstances.
Later still William McIllvaney and IanRankin, while ostensibly working in the crime field also showed me more than a few glimpses of their familiarity with the dark and the ways of things that creep in the shadows.
And then, in the Eighties, horror cameback to Scotland in full measure, in Ian Banks' The Wasp
Factory, in Jonathan Aycliffe's Edinburgh ghost story, The Matrix, and in the many works of Joe Donnelly, a much missed genre writer who gave us a whole range of Scottish spooks, spectres, bogey-men and monsters in his short horror career during the boom years.
Which brings us round to when I started writing for myself, in the early '90s. I've tried over the
years since then to explain in a variety of works what the rich history of Scottish supernatural writing has given me.
In my new book, THE GHOST CLUB, I've gone right back to basics, and provided as part of it three tales as if told by Stevenson, Oliphant and Doyle, and a wee cameo by Rabbie Burns in another story for good measure. I hope I've done them justice.
I'm Willie, I'm a Scotsman, and I write horror fiction.
THE GHOST CLUB BY WILLIAM MEIKLE
THE GHOST CLUB, a new collection of supernatural stories, is coming from William Meikle and
Crystal Lake Publishing on 8th December 2017.
It's a simple premise.
In Victorian London, a select group of writers, led by Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker and Henry
James held an informal dining club, the price of entry to which was the telling of a story by each invited guest.
These are their stories, containing tales of revenant loved ones, lost cities, weird science, spectral appearances and mysteries in the fog of the old city, all told by some of the foremost writers of the
day. In here you'll find Verne and Wells, Tolstoy and Checkov, Stevenson and Oliphant, Kipling, Twain, Haggard, Wilde and Blavatsky alongside their hosts.
Come, join us for dinner and a story.
Here's the TOC, which may have a different running order in the final book.
THE GHOST CLUB MEMBERS AND THEIR
Robert Louis Stevenson
Wee Davie Makes aFriend
The High Bungalow
The Immortal Memory
The House of the Dead
Once a Jackass
Herbert George Wells
To the Manor Born
The Angry Ghost
Henry Rider Haggard
The Black Ziggurat
Helena P Blavatsky
Born of Ether
The Scrimshaw Set
At the Molenzki Junction
To the Moon and Beyond
Arthur Conan Doyle
The Curious Affair on the Embankment
'The Ghost Club is a massively ambitious anthology of stories 'by' classic authors as imagined by the extremely talented William Meikle. Massively entertaining, too.'
- Simon Clark, author of the award winning THE NIGHT OF THE TRIFFIDS
'In the past, we’ve had the Diogenes Club, the ‘Club of the Damned’, and even Peter Straub’s ‘Chowder Society.’ Now we have THE GHOST CLUB by William Meikle. And it is, quite simply, a delight. Not only has the author displayed his knowledge of and love for the writers of yesteryear, but in creating ‘The Ghost Club’ our host has produced his own collection of unknown and previously unpublished short stories ‘by’ Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Leo Tolstoy, Bram Stoker, Mark Twain, H. G.Wells, Margaret Oliphant, Oscar Wilde, H. Rider Haggard, Helena P Blavatsky, Henry James, Anton Chekhov, Jules Verne and Arthur Conan Doyle. I say ‘unknown’, when I mean – of course – that all the stories are written by Mr Meikle in the style of the aforementioned authors; and the entire experience of reading this collection is like sitting with him in an old fashioned study, with a roaring fire, guttering shadows and a snifter or two of brandy as he unfolds his ‘Ghost Club’ tales. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.'
- Stephen Laws, author of GHOST TRAIN
'William Meikle is an audacious writer! In The Ghost Club he takes on the personalities of literary
icons Bram Stoker, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne and the like and creates stories they might have told, mimicking their voices and writing styles. And he makes that work! I have too many favorites to name but as I read from start to finish, the stories just got better and better and I found myself as absorbed as if I were reading spooky tales told by these master storytellers. Kudos to Meikle! Lovers of traditional and quirky ghost stories need The Ghost Club in their library!'
- Nancy Kilpatrick. author of REVENGE OF THE VAMPYR KING
"Masters of literature spin classic spooky tales in this chilling collection."
– Scott Nicholson, author of THE RED CHURCH