Whitstable by Stephen Volk: press info

Below is the press-release for the forthcoming novella from Stephen Volk, Whitstable:

Whitstable cover image





1971. A middle-aged man, wracked with grief, walks along the beach at Whitstable in Kent.

A boy walks approaches him and, taking him for the famous vampire-hunter Doctor Van Helsing from the Hammer movies, asks for his help. Because he believes his stepfather really is a vampire…

So begins the moving and evocative new novella by Stephen Volk, published by the British Fantasy Award-nominated Spectral Press in May 2013 to coincide with the centenary of the most celebrated and beloved of Hammer’s stars, Peter Cushing.

In Whitstable—which deftly mixes fact with fiction—the actor, devastated after the recent death of his wife and soul mate Helen, is an inconsolable recluse. In that vulnerable state he is forced to face an evil far more real and terrifying than any of the make-believe monsters he tackled on the big screen. And here he is not a crusader or expert with crucifixes to hand—merely a man. A man who in some ways craves death himself, but cannot ignore the pleas of an innocent child…

Stephen Volk is a life-long fan of Cushing and grew up sneaking into cinemas underage in his home town to see Hammer’s gruesome and uncanny fare. A love affair with the macabre and the gothic was kindled, and this book is very much intended as a way of repaying the debt he owes to his favourite actor and the star known universally as “The Gentle Man of Horror”.

The author was aided in his extensive research by film historians and critics, those who have met Cushing, residents of Whitstable, and even Whitstable Museum itself.

“This will engross and enthrall all Hammer fans and those who adore and revere Cushing. It brings his screen persona vividly to life in a modern context when the monsters are all too real.” – Tony Earnshaw, author of An Actor and a Rare One: Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes and Beating the Devil: The Making of ‘Night of the Demon’

“Peter Cushing was my first hero, and in my opinion Stephen Volk has done something heroic by putting the man who fought onscreen monsters at the heart of a very human drama. Sad, tinged with a palpable sense of loss, beautifully written, and blessed with an unerring eye for crucial detail, Whitstable is a story to savour. If I may be so bold, I’m convinced that Peter Cushing would have approved” – novelist Gary McMahon

“A wonderful piece” – David Pirie, author of A Heritage of Horror: The English Gothic Cinema

“I loved Whitstable! It’s a beautiful love letter to a man, a genre, and an era that means so much to those of us of a certain age” – Mick Garris, director of The StandBag of Bones, producer, Masters of Horror

STEPHEN VOLK is best known as the writer of TV’s notorious Halloween “hoax” Ghostwatch, starring Michael Parkinson, which caused outraged viewers to jam the switchboards, calls for “heads to roll” at the BBC and even raised questions in Parliament. He also created the ITV drama series Afterlife and the recent feature film The Awakening starring Rebecca Hall and Dominic West, and has worked with directors William Friedkin and Ken Russell.  His previous fiction (some of which is collected in Dark Corners, Gray Friar Press, 2006) has been shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award and Shirley Jackson Award, and his stories have appeared in Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, Best British Mysteries and Best New Horror. He has also won a BAFTA.

Accompanied by a heartfelt Afterword by horror novelist and fellow Hammer devotee MARK MORRIS, Whitstable is the third in the series of SPECTRAL VISIONS novellas. The first two (Gary Fry’s The Respectable Face of Tyranny and John L. Probert’s The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine) have garnered wide acclaim from readers, reviewers and bloggers alike.


Cover image by Ben Baldwin

Publication date: May 26th 2013 (Peter Cushing’s birthday)

3 comments on “Whitstable by Stephen Volk: press info


  2. Pingback: Whitstable by Stephen Volk available to pre-order » This Is Horror

  3. Pingback: New Small Press Open: Spectral Press - Science Fiction Fantasy Chronicles: forums

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