THE RELUCTANT VAMPIRE
I've actually just rediscovered this novel in 2011 after originally writing it before Dry Rot. The main character is very similar to Francis in Dry Rot; like her, she is a restless teenager searching for a new experience. When she meets Thomas the enigmatic reluctant vampire and gradually uncovers his life story, she becomes absolutely besotted by him. However, when her friends hear about her charismatic new friend, they don't believe it and in fact she gets sent eventually to a psychiatrist. The eccentric Doctor Lloyd-Jones is intrigued by Alison's stories and wants to meet Thomas himself - but Alison refuses. This is a wonderful tale, set in Timperley. This novel will be available on the internet shortly.
This was one of my first complete novels, written originally in the early 80’s. It is still my personal favourite - it combines black humour with an attack on religious hypocrisy. The central character is 17 year old Frances, who is sent to stay with her Uncle Robert who is a catholic priest. Uncle Robert has just had his leg amputated because of cancer - his own visible form of decay, also seen in the dry rot which is attacking his church. Frances is a typically restless teenager; she longs for experience both sexual and otherwise… so she is easily charmed by the exotic transvestite, Mary. He encourages her to lead her uncle into temptation… is the only way forward to purify the decay by fire?
Written originally in the mid 80’s and re-written in 1991, this novel is more ambitious than Dry Rot - involving two different times co-existing simultaneously. The contemporary part is set in East London; the heroine is Louise who is becoming troubled by feelings of being overtaken by someone else’s spirit. She meets the mysterious Guy Saint, a psychic medium who is very interested in her experiences. Meanwhile in Victorian London (1888), Oscar Wilde and his friend Robbie Ross talk of “Killing Time”; in the background there lurks the Whitechapel Murderer, who moves closer towards Louise…
THE TURN OF THE CENTURY PARTY
This is a political and historical novel; it is based on factual events and involves real characters as well as fictional ones! Set in Paris in the 1890’s, the main characters are Michel and Emile both of whom are committed anarchists. After planting a bomb which kills several people, Emile is eventually caught and guillotined. Michel is totally devastated by his death, and plants a bomb at a busy hotel before leaving the country for England. Although he longs to return to Paris, he knows that to do so he will have to be in disguise...
MRS JOHNSON’S CAVALIER
My fourth novel was written in 1998/99, and was partly a practice-run for me to get used to my newly acquired computer! Although it is set in modern times, this novel also used history; Mr and Mrs Johnson are both obsessed by the 17th Century and belong to an organisation in which they can play the part of being Cavaliers and Ladies. Annie Johnson is a teacher of History at South Trafford College in Manchester and among her students is Caroline, who is also fascinated by her teacher’s enthusiasm. She attends a 17th Century Dance with them, where everybody is dressed up in their finest lace and silk – including Robert Johnson. In the present day he remains a very ordinary chap; irritating and insensitive, but as a Cavalier he is someone else completely, someone who’s dashing, elegant and charming. Not surprisingly, Caroline falls for the Cavalier. The book has been published by RAWPRINTZ, and is still available on demand.
This is the sequel to Dry Rot, set in the year 2000. Having been in and out of various mental institutes, Frances has finally tried to make the break and return to normal society and to Old Trafford. Near to the site where the dry rot church once stood she discovers a warehouse, where the mysterious Camp Mary is situated; though the sand, sun and sea are all artificial, the tents are not… and neither are the customers who pay for an unusual weekend break. Frances is amazed to discover that the site is run by her old friend Mary, who has cut his hair short and has taken to wearing suits. Once again Frances is drawn to his strangeness – but she also becomes entangled with the more conventional love triangle. Both of these have disastrous consequences…
WORK IN PROGRESS -
THE SPACE BETWEEN (the trilogy)
When I began work on this project in 2005, it was going to be a trilogy - but now I'm not so sure! I have already finished a first draft of the first novel The Spark, and I'm now nearing the end of the second which is also entitled The Space Between. The original idea behind the trilogy grew out of my studies at University about Wilde. My imagination was captured when I read about the disappearance of one of Wilde's short stories at the time of his arrest, and then its subsequent reappearance in America twenty one years later. I was intrigued by the fact that there was such a large space in between in which nothing definite is known about the missing manuscript... The space beckoned enticingly to me, and I just had to fill it with my own mixture of history and fiction. You can read extracts from the novel The Space Between in my Monthly Online Newsletter Raw Meat
Part of the story is set in Whitechapel East London, involving one of my own fictional characters Harriet who is a prostitute - the novel opens in 1889 with the birth of her son Jack - who Harriet names after Jack the ripper... see my novel Killing Time for more.
Another thread of The Spark is set in West London and is based around the artistic partnership of Charles Ricketts and Shannon - their original idea of setting up their publishing company The Vale Press; and also their various friends which included both Oscar Wilde himself and his close friend Robbie Ross. As the years progressed, Wilde's short story The Portrait of Mr WH is written but never published, Ricketts thinking it too dangerous a subject for The Vale Press to handle. Meanwhile in Whitechapel, Harriet leaves the brothel to live with her friend Emma, - whose son Freddy has become a good friend with Jack.
Since completing the first draft I don't feel happy enough with it to be able to go ahead and publish it myself - therefore I would greatly appreciate any comments or suggestions you can make. I'm including with each extract (that I post on this weblog) my own comments and criticisms of it.
THE SPACE BETWEEN (the novel)
Although I was originally quite sure that this novel would be the second part of a trilogy, I think that almost having completed it, I'm having second thoughts about how much further to take the original idea. So far the novel continues directly from where The Spark left off with the death of Wilde in Paris. Meanwhile in Kensington, Harriet is working as a maid in the house of Robbie Ross. Ross becomes friendly with Jack's friend Freddy - which provokes Jack. Sensing her son's dislike of Ross, Harriet steals the manuscript and leaves his house for the Freedom Press in Whitechapel where Jack has been living with his new friend Georges. Following Wilde's death Ricketts publishes his friends story as a final tribute to him and also as a special bond with Shannon, to show their commitment to each other.
- Nicola Batty
- I am a writer of novels, plays and film scripts. I live in Manchester England with my partner Andy and our teenage son Jack. Andy and I started my Newsletter Raw Meat and began publishing with Rawprintz in 1999 to showcase my work. Some of you may be confused by my continual references to Ziggy, that’s my wheelchair! Both Andy and I are writers. I’ve recently lost my sight – hence the continual reference to my being confused! Thanks for visiting.