Poetry in Fiction – The Abattoir of Dreams.

I used poetry in The Abattoir of Dreams to explore one of the character’s feelings about the situation he was in and the abusive experiences he’d been through. The poem is written by 14 year-old Liam, who shares it with the main character, Mikey, when they run away from Woodside Children’s Home. The poem was also the inspiration for the title of the book.

Here is the poem in full:

How I wish I could feel,
The hot sun on my back,
Fresh cut grass,
Beneath my feet,
My father’s hand,
Strong upon mine,
His aftershave,
Bottled nostalgia,
Promises of tomorrow,
Safe within his smile,
But the night stalker comes,
Cloaked in shadows,
The sound of his heels,
Marking time on the floor,
His stinking breath,
Whispering threats,
You’d better not tell,
You’d better not scream,
No one can hear you,
In the Abattoir of Dreams.

I felt the poem helped to explain exactly how Liam saw Woodside, and how it made him feel. His poetry also acted as inspiration for Mikey.

When used in the right way/place, poetry can work really well in fiction. Other novels that have used poetry successfully are:

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.
Tolkien gives some of the characters verses of poetry to say throughout the story. These verses are part of the story, and written instead of continuous prose.

Beneath the Watery Moon by Betsy Reavley
Main character, Annabelle, uses poetry in the earlier parts of the book to explore her feelings and reactions to the circumstances she finds herself in. The poems fit in very well with the story. One of my favourites from the book is called This House:

Treading
through the belly
of our house;
a prison
for unhappy souls.
I could hang
from the beams
oppressive
above my head.
I hear spiders skip
across the floor
searching
for cracks to haunt
under the floorboards.
The undead are here,
their naked feet
pacing
pacing.
Curtains closed
locking out stars
veiling me
from myself.
Dead furniture
scattered around me
in no particular order.
This place
does not resemble
home
and splinters bite
at my bleeding feet
forever pacing.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
Poetry is used regularly by the fantastical characters in this children’s story. It is used to describe what happens to Alice during her travels and by some of the animals to tell their own stories. In chapter 2 Alice recites, How Doth the Little Crocodile:

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
How cheerfully he seems to grin
How neatly spreads his claws
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!

One Swift Summer by R. J. Askew.
Main character, Tom, tells the story from his POV. He has lived a difficult life, and the story is interspersed with his poems which explain what has happened to him and how he has learned to cope.

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling.
When Harry first arrives at Hogwarts he is ‘sorted’ by the singing Sorting Hat into one of the 4 school houses. The hat works on a new song/poem for each new intake of pupils, and in The Philosopher’s Stone it recites it’s newest one in full. This is how the hat introduces itself:

“Oh, you may not think I’m pretty,
But don’t judge on what you see,
I’ll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,
For I’m the Hogwarts Sorting Hat
And I can cap them all.”

 

What do you think about authors including poetry in novels? Do you know of any other novels that use poetry? If so, let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

All the best,

Mark.

 

It’s Publication Day!

I’m pleased and proud to announce that The Abattoir of Dreams is now available on Amazon in both kindle and paperback formats. The blog tour has been going really well with reviewers saying:

I felt like my heart had been shattered into millions of tiny pieces and I wanted so badly to be able to take away the hurt and uncertainty that Michael as well as Liam goes through.
Shocking and heartbreaking, The Abattoir of Dreams is without a doubt one of my outstanding reads so far of 2017.
5* from Sarah Hardy @ bytheletterbookreviews.com

This book was so fantastic and it’s earned itself a spot on my top reads of 2017 list, I was blown away by everything about this one. The subject matter here is very dark and disturbing, it’s truly not for the faint of heart. There is abuse of every kind imaginable, it’s graphic and horrifying, but if you can stomach that, this is a must read. It evoked a wide range of emotions within me from shock, horror, sadness and tears all the way to laughter and warm moments, it was a hell of a ride.
5* from Amy Sullivan @ novelgossip.com

So….the question is, would I recommend this book? Hell Bloody Yeah, I would! If you like challenging story-lines, can suspend your imagination, enjoy tension/feeling anxious waiting to see what will happen, and a cracking twist or two – then this is the book for you!
5* review from Noelle Holten @ crimebookjunkie.com

Seriously you guys are in for one hell of a treat with this story. It is nothing like any other Psychological thriller I have read before….. it’s absolutely fanflippintasic.
5* review from Shell Baker @ Chellesbookreviews

 

I hope that you enjoy the book, and if you have the time, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

All the best,

Mark.

The Abattoir of Dreams cover reveal and sample chapter.

Today, I’m delighted to be able to show you the cover for my latest novel, The Abattoir of Dreams. This harrowing thriller will be published by Bloodhound Books on 28th February.

Book Description:

The past is never far away.

Michael Tate has not had an easy life. With his
father in prison, and his mother dead, Michael
was sent to Woodside Children’s Home.

Now an adult, Michael wakes up from a coma in
hospital suffering from amnesia and paralysis.
Confused and terrified, he is charged with the
fatal stabbing of his girlfriend, Becky. He also
learns he attempted to end his own life.

 

Detective Inspector John Carver is determined
that Michael is sent to prison.

With no way of defending himself, Michael is
left in his hospital bed awaiting transfer to remand.

But then strange things begin to happen and his
childhood comes back to haunt him.

Can Michael ever escape the past?

Will he ever discover the truth about Becky’s
murder?

And why is DI Carver so eager to make him suffer?

The Abattoir of Dreams is a bitter sweet story of murder, innocence and abuse.

 

I’d also like to share the first chapter of the book with you. I hope you enjoy it.

Chapter One

Nurse Emily Dixon fussed with my bedsheet and fixed me with a smile that seemed more professional than friendly. ‘There’s someone here to see you, Michael.’

‘Who?’

‘Detective Inspector Carver. Thames Valley police.’

‘Has he found my memory?’

‘I think it’s more serious than that.’ She left, replaced by a tall, slim man in a charcoal suit.

‘Hello, Mr. Tate.’

There was something about his lopsided grin I didn’t like. Half-sincere, perhaps? ‘Hello.’

‘I see they’ve given you your own room.’

Wasn’t I the lucky one.

He sat on a chair next to the bed. ‘Do you know why I’m here?’

‘No.’ I wiped sweat off my forehead with the back of my hand. There was a fan on top of a five-drawer unit by the window; its blades didn’t so much as spin but lurch, like a buckled wheel. Next to the unit, a wheelchair, my only mode of transport in this brave, new, paralysed world. If anyone ever bothered to hoist me out of the bed, that was.

‘Look at me when I’m speaking to you, Michael. Didn’t your mother teach you any manners?’ Continue reading

Exciting News!

 

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Today, I’d like to share with you the wonderful news that Bloodhound Books have agreed to publish my third novel, The Abattoir of Dreams. This is such a massive opportunity for me, and a great chance to reach a bigger audience. Bloodhound Books was the first publisher I’ve approached with any of my work for a very long time. The reason? I simply love everything about them. Not only are they extremely approachable and helpful, they have an excellent track record with the works in their care. They actively seek out unknown authors, and specialise in the darker side of fiction – my preferred genre. Also, they don’t follow trends, and prefer individuality. Bloodhound owners, Betsy and Fred, focus on publishing the fiction which they enjoy.

I couldn’t be more pleased about this association. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support, especially those who bought The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused. And special thanks to those who have taken the time to offer help and advice, especially Maggie James, Maxine Groves, Heather Osborne, Mel Comley, Louise Mullins and Cassie Adland. And, of course, Bloodhound Books!

As always, many thanks for reading,

Mark

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