It started so simply. Two indie authors plan to release their novels on the same date. No big deal. Happens all the time.
And then it got weird.
First, each author put out a press release accusing the other of stealing the launch date. Then, head of the genre mafia and owner of Ginger Nuts of Horror Jim McLeod ran the press releases, before angrily accusing both writers of an obvious and shallow publicity stunt.
|Pictured: James "Big Jimmy Fingers" McLeod|
Then Gef Fox put on his investigative journalism hat on over at his book blog ‘Wag The Fox’. He figured that a quick series of questions to both parties would soon flush out the truth.
That didn’t work out so well.
|Gef Fox portraying the piano genius Shiney McShine in the movie "Shine."|
Following that little fiasco, things escalated further on Facebook, until a challenge was issued - a rap battle, hosted by legendary blogger THe GaL iN THe BLue MaSK, with the winner to be determined by public vote as each contestant's minions were to state unequivocally either #teampower or #teamhawkins. (I, like all right-minded people, declared myself #teamneither.) The rap battle went about as well as you might expect...
|The GaL iN THe BLue MaSK (artist's conception)|
Kanly, it seemed, had been declared. Then, like the sudden passing of Shai-Hulud through the desert, peace broke out. Don Jimbo got back on his blog to demand a ceasefire. And both authors agreed to host a joint launch party on Facebook, to prove that they’d buried the hatchet.
Still, lingering doubts remained. Here at Manuscripts Burn, we decided to put this new-found spirit of friendship to the test, so we invited the two authors to take turns explaining what they liked and admired about each other. The results are printed below. Is the rivalry really over? Judge for yourself, as we ask Kit and Rich to explicate...
Five Things I Rate About You
Kit Power: Well, I think the first thing I’d have to say I rate about Rich is his intelligence. It was a genius move, deciding to put his book out the same day as mine, if you think about it. It made sure that my millions of fans worldwide would notice his book just by association. And inevitably, some of them would get curious to maybe check out his book too. That’s smart, isn’t it? I think so. Real smart.
Rich Hawkins: The first thing I rate about Kit is that he’s very gracious in defeat, as witnessed after I’d won the rap battle. It takes a great guy to admit he was comprehensively ‘out-rapped’ and, quite frankly, humiliated. But he took it on the chin. Yeah, a swell guy.
KP: You know, that reminds me of another great quality of Rich - his humility. I mean, he only won the rap battle by one vote, and he was just so gracious about it - in fact, it was almost like he hadn’t even noticed, like it was beneath him or something. I guess the fact that the battle was declared invalid by the UK Battle Rap governing body might have something to do with it. Still, bloody humble, amirite?
RH: Okay, putting aside the fact that Kit is such a good loser, the second thing I rate about him is that he’s so tenacious...like Scrappy Doo or SuperTed. (Note for our non-British audiences members: no one knows what that is.) I mean, he realises that he hasn’t much chance of winning against someone who’s pretty much nailed-on for a British Fantasy Award, but he still gives it his all. He’s like the sidekick to the superhero, and I’m Batman.
KP: Ah, there it is! See, that humility even extends to his BFSA nomination - I mean, sometimes, as long as 10 or even 15 minutes can go by in conversation without him mentioning it! I love that about him - like, if you only talked to him for 8 or 9 minutes, you might never know that his first novel was BFSA nominated, because he’s just that flippin’ humble. It’s really kind of inspiring. Like, he even waited for his second reply here before mentioning it! So very, very humble.
RH: Another thing about Kit is an ability to disguise his envy so well, despite it being so obvious that he’s mentioned my British Fantasy Award nomination more times than I ever have. Some might say he’s obsessed with it. I just think he’s a great bloke, and the rumours about him hanging around goat farms are completely untrue.
KP: One of Rich’s most impressive characteristics has to be his generosity. I mean, how many other authors do you know that would agree to donate a signed copy of his book to his ‘rival’? And yet, with our week one sales bet, that’s exactly what he’s done, given the inevitability of his defeat. That’s some high class generosity right there.
RH: I'm glad Kit picked up on my generosity - I’m just hoping that he’ll read THE LAST OUTPOST and it’ll have a positive effect on his own writing. Maybe it’ll inspire him. I’m always happy to help out writers who haven’t yet been included in any kind of prestigious award shortlist of an award that Stephen King once won. I’m just sharing the good vibes. That’s another thing I rate about him - his willingness to learn from writers who HAVE been nominated for an award. A real stand-up dude.
KP: Finally, I think I have to salute Rich’s courage. There’s a desperate bravery to the way he’s approached this whole rivalry - be it agreeing to a losing bet, cheating so badly at the battle rap that the governing body had to step in and declare the competition null and void, then bragging about the win anyway, or his brazen vote-grubbing in general - there’s a frantic, almost despairing energy to it that I can’t help but admire - a total commitment to leaving no tactic unplayed, no matter how underhand, to somehow prevent the inevitable. It’s a lot like the Dunkirk spirit, only without any of the nobility. Admirable stuff.
RH: A great thing about Kit is his ability to project his own, less savoury, characteristics onto others - it’s a remarkable talent and he should be applauded for it, especially when it’s projected towards a writer whose last novella went as high as 137,542 in the Amazon Kindle Horror Chart. But Kit’s a really great guy, despite his tendency towards envy and bitterness, so I forgive him. I’m very forgiving like that. I just hope that he manages to let go of my coattails and get some success that isn’t because of his association with me. But he’s a top man. Have I already said that? Yeah, a great bloke. Yeah, definitely.
Well, there you have it. GODBOMB! and THE LAST OUTPOST both launch on September 28th with a virtual launch party on Facebook. If the newfound ‘friendship’ continues this way, we at Manuscripts Burn suspect this is one virtual release party you won’t want to miss. The saga of Hawkins-Power is far from over...
About THE LAST OUTPOST:
The sequel to the British Fantasy Award-nominated novel, THE LAST PLAGUE, THE LAST OUTPOST continues to chronicle the events as a devastating epidemic reduces the UK to an infected wasteland.
Great Britain has fallen to the Plague and the war is lost. The few people left alive scavenge in the desolation of a ruined country. A lone man wanders the ravaged land, looting houses for food and hiding from the monstrous infected. Guilt-ridden for failing to save his family, there is nothing left for him but memories of the old world - until hope is whispered in a radio transmission promising safety and shelter from across the North Sea. He joins a group of desperate survivors and heads for the coast in search of transport and salvation. His last chance to make amends. But will they survive the journey, hunted by the infected and the desperate men who stalk the land? Will they find sanctuary at...THE LAST OUTPOST?
"One of the most intriguing post-apocalyptic novels I've read in a long time."
- David Moody, author of AUTUMN and DOG BLOOD
"A blistering and visceral read!"
- Daniel Marc Chant, author of BURNING HOUSE
"A new voice in infection fiction."
- Sean T. Page, UK Minister of Zombies
- Paul M. Feeney, Ginger Nuts of Horror
It's available now for preorder via Amazon US and Amazon UK.
About Rich Hawkins:
I'm Rich Hawkins, horror writer and loveable rascal. I was born in the wilds of Somerset, England. I've loved horror since I was a kid, when I first saw John Carpenter's "The Thing" and was immediately hooked. I've since moved to Salisbury, where I live with my wife and my pet dog. My first novel THE LAST PLAGUE is due for release in summer 2014. My literary influences are H.P. Lovecraft, Conrad Williams, Stephen King, Tim Curran, David Moody, Gary McMahon, Wayne Simmons, Adam Nevill, and Laird Barron. I know that's a lot of influences, but I need something to read while I wait for Cthulhu to rise up and enslave us all.
Find me on Twitter, Facebook, and my website.
Somebody wants answers.
North Devon, England. 1995. A born-again revival meeting in a public building. The usual mix of the faithful, the curious, and the desperate. And one other – an atheist suicide bomber. He's angry. He wants answers. And if God doesn't come and talk to him personally, he's going to kill everyone in the building...
It's available now for preorder via Amazon US and Amazon UK.
About Kit Power:
Kit Power lives in the UK and writes fiction that lurks at the boundaries of the horror, fantasy, and thriller genres, trying to bum a smoke or hitch a ride from the unwary.
In his secret alter ego of Kit Gonzo, he also performs as front man (and occasionally blogs) for death cult and popular beat combo The Disciples Of Gonzo.
You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and his website.