Chris (CC) Humphreys was the first author I approached to contribute to Pulp Literature back in the heat of summer when the idea was just simmering. I caught him at a weak moment: we had just spent an hour rehearsing our swordfight for the spectacular Bard on the Beach launch of his latest novel, Shakespeare’s Rebel, and were nursing our aching muscles with a couple of beers at the Ascot on Pender.
He cocked his head and a small gleam appeared in his eye. “I’ve got something” he said. “It’s not historical though, and it needs a bit of cleaning up.”
I was sold. Anyone wanting to read Chris’s historical books has a dozen to choose from. To be able to offer something different from a well-known author, now that is a treat! And the cleaning up didn’t worry me. A writer who can put out a quality book every year for the past decade certainly has the chops to tidy up a short story in a matter of months.
It’s possible he may have regretted offering it up, especially when I was politely clearing my throat to see how it was coming while he was finishing edits on his next book, Plague. However, from the author’s note that accompanied ‘Where the Angels Wait’, I think you can tell he’s pleased with the end result:
“It has been fascinating revisiting a piece of work I wrote some years ago, before I became a professional writer. I remember being very proud of ‘Where the Angels Wait’ at the time. It seemed to say exactly what I wanted to say at the time, explore what was concerning me. Now… well, it needed some work. I got back into the spirit of it. I also was very aware of all the ticks I had as a young writer. The energy was there but the execution was a little… slipshod?
“One of the big lessons I’ve learned as a novelist is economy. Saying what you want to say in less. Leaving things unsaid. I’ve probably cut one third of the original and think its much better for it. I’ve also recast it in the present tense when the original was in my more customary past. The story called for it, that immediacy of experience. I wouldn’t have known how to do that at the time.
“I have to say, I am delighted with the result – and want to thank my editors for this opportunity to go back in time. I wouldn’t want to live there now, as writer or person. But it was good to visit.”
We’re not just delighted — we’re thrilled with the result! And we can’t wait to show it to you in Issue no. 1 of Pulp Literature!