Category: Book Blog

Where is Trotterwell?

With the blatant exception of her hometown of Trotterwell, every location that Argana visits is from the real world. They’re places that I’ve been, and that I love. But you may be less familiar, so I’ve drawn this map to help you out. Although there are more villages and sites of note than shown, this has the broad sweeps.

To give you an idea of scale, it’s around 20 miles from Buxton to Bakewell. But the roads are narrow and there’s a sheep around every corner, so it takes longer to drive than you’d imagine!

Also, I was inspired to draw it because my fantasy author mates have brilliant maps in the front of their books, and I’m envious 😉

Map of Peak District showing location of Trotterwell

Oh, and this marks my first use of the zoom plugin. Give it a go!

Removing the single stories

I’m taking my short stories down off of Amazon. Just the individual ones, they’ll still all be available as collected editions, which represent better value anyway.

In theory I’m doing this because I’m concerned that a plethora of short books will confuse new readers. But secretly it’s because it confuses me to have to keep track of them all. That and I changed cover styles several times, and it’s all just messy!

It’ll take a little while to sort out, so if you happen to have collected most of them and just have a couple of gaps to fill, now is your moment.

Why Argana Zeit?

I wrote a submarine horror novel. It took three years and genuinely gave me nightmares, which was possibly my first clue that I wasn’t cut out for penning terror. I duly sent it off to agents that I admired, or at least had heard of, and waited for the advances and royalties to roll in.

As that wait grew unaccountably longer, I figured I’d write something short, as a bit of a pallet cleanser. I’d been watching Columbo* and really wanted to do something with clues in it. I had this paranormal investigator character from a comic I’d half drawn years earlier, so I blew the dust off, and threw her in a story. That was Argana Zeit and the Haunted Busker.

When the replies finally came in on the submarine novel, they were all delightfully polite variations on ‘this is very imaginative, but you haven’t got a clue what you’re doing’. I rediscovered that manuscript recently, the same way you find a rotting vegetable at the back of the fridge hiding behind the cheese box, and about as appetising. I’m eternally grateful that no one was foolish enough to publish it.

But that’s okay. I enjoyed writing Argana so much I came up with another seventeen adventures, and probably more by the time you read this. They’re undeniably cosy stories, set in a green-leafed world where nobody ever dies on camera, the swearing is mild, and the paranormal threat is undermined by the chaotic humour of the background characters. It’s this way because – the aforementioned nightmares aside – when I started writing in 2020, I needed an antidote to the strong possibility that the world was about to end.

It didn’t, though, and fortunately neither has Argana Zeit.

*It’s to Columbo that Argana owes her terrible driving and tactically dishevelled look.