In the run up to the imminent release of my short story collection Skein and Bone, I wanted to share the press release from Undertow Books and to expand on some of the themes within the collection. Those of you familiar with my work, may have come across some of these stories in publications like Black Static, Interzone, Shadows and Tall Trees and Strange Tales IV. When I began collating and editing the collection, I realised that there are similar threads running through many of the stories, drawn from a variety of places but notably from myth and fairy tale and their preoccupation with entrapment and transformation. Taken from the title of one of my short stories, Skein and Bone seemed particular fitting, as it strings together (if you’ll excuse the pun) the idea of both imprisonment, of being tethered, and the idea of fashioning and self-construction – of the layers we wear to survive. I’m extremely thankful to Michael Kelly for publishing my collection and for being such an enthusiastic supporter of my work and to Vince Haig, for producing such a wonderful cover design. Also featuring unpublished stories, Skein and Bone is due out in August from Undertow Books.
Debut collection from V. H. Leslie
Toronto, Canada, January 2015 — V. H. Leslie’s first book, ‘Skein and Bone,’ a collection of strange and supernatural tales, is forthcoming from Undertow Publications, July 2015.
“I’m beyond excited to be working with Undertow,” Leslie said. “Michael Kelly is a champion of the short story and he produces beautiful books. This is the perfect home for Skein and Bone.”
Leslie’s fiction has appeared in Best British Horror 2014, Black Static, Interzone, Shadows & Tall Trees, Strange Tales IV, The Best British Fantasy 2014, and others. She’s also an accomplished illustrator, and lives in Portsmouth, United Kingdom.
“I’m excited to be working with Victoria on her first collection,” Kelly said. “Her stories haunt and beguile. They’re an elegant amalgam of Shirley Jackson and M.R. James, and I’ve loved every one.”
Advance praise for Skein and Bone:
“The strange and vivid worlds in V.H. Leslie’s stories have a nightmarish fairy tale quality to them – a pantry full of secrets, nursery wallpaper whose pattern resembles ‘a forest of umbilical cords’, a crinoline petticoat ‘like an enormous birdcage’. An absorbing and gorgeously unsettling collection.”
– Alison Moore, Author of The Lighthouse (Short-Listed for the Man Booker Prize)
“A delicate and considered approach to richly imaginative stories.”
– Adam Nevill, Author of No One Gets Out Alive
“Tales of quiet unease, enigmatic, beautifully told, varied and darkly poetic. Your trepidation with a V.H. Leslie story is not that you might be disappointed but rather the thrill of just how good it is going to be.”
– Stephen Volk, Author of Whitstable
“V.H. Leslie’s fiction builds in intensity, but at the same time possesses a strange, silky kind of calm. Like a spider, she constructs delicate webs, and she lures you in with elegant, oblique writing. There is an almost unbearable patience to her stories, and, in the best possible sense, a horrible inevitability that shivers within them.”
– Conrad Williams, Author of The Unblemished
Established in 2009 by writer Michael Kelly, Undertow Publications (UP) is home to the acclaimed weird journal Shadows & Tall Trees, as well as Year’s Best Weird Fiction. (UP) and publish/editor Kelly have been hailed by Peter Straub, Glen Hirshberg, and others. Stories from (UP) are regularly reprinted in annual “Best Of” anthologies. Kelly has been a finalist for the Shirley Jackson and British Fantasy Society Awards, and his fiction has appeared in a number of venues.
Forthcoming from Undertow Publications:
‘These Last Embers,’ by Simon Strantzas, February 2015.
‘Aickman’s Heirs,’ edited by Simon Strantzas, May 2015.
‘Skein and Bone,’ by V.H. Leslie, July 2015.
‘Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 2,’ edited by Kathe Koja and Michael Kelly, October 2015.