At the same time as the first ideas and sketches for Harvest started to take shape, I worked on stories of a different nature. They’re written under the pen name Valerie Albemarle, a homage to my early years in England. Since childhood I’ve been fascinated by dark forests and night mists, and even by the idea of ghosts, although I’ve never understood why people find these things frightening and malevolent. While I do love a good book-induced adrenaline rush, darkness to me means refuge and solace, while ghosts, if they existed, would be not threatening but vulnerable–or incredibly stupid, if they can find nothing better to do than to sneak up on the living. These stories are designed to be atmospheric rather than scary.
Michael is my very first story, and bears the stamp of my previous career as university professor of philosophy. It’s a tale of magical realism that explores the nature of time and deadlines, whether real or self-imposed.
A Meadow in Saanich is a very short piece that subverts the traditional ghost story. It’s also a tribute to my love of antique vehicles, those old workhorses that shouldn’t be written off in a hurry.
Killer of a Mind has no supernatural elements, but it does make a journey to a place I find most interesting: the abyss of the human soul. In fact, make that two souls. I’m currently working on a sequel to this novella.