Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Sangria in the Sangraal

My book of whimsical fantasy stories set in Old Spain is now available for pre-order from Ex Occidente Press here. It's a deluxe limited edition designed for book connoisseurs. Some books have a certain magic about them. I guess it's not good manners to claim such a quality for one's own creations; and yet I genuinely believe there's something bewitching about these stories. They form a sequence that spans 1000 years of the history of an obscure (but real) little city in the remotest part of Aragon. I came upon this little city purely by chance back in 2007. I have written about that encounter elsewhere on this blog and if you're interested to read more, the relevant link is here and that blog post contains another link to another blog post about the book I read when I was there...

That book (Jan Potocki's Manuscript Found in Saragossa) partly inspired the tales in my own book. While wandering through Albarracín and the mountains around it, I realised that one day I would write a set of stories set right here. Two years later I began the project. When it was completed I gave it the overall title Tucked Away in Aragon but Dan Ghetu, the owner of Ex Occidente Press, suggested changing it to something more mystical. So I called it Sangria in the Sangraal instead; and it's a better title. Obviously when writing a sequence that spans so many centuries there needs to be an overarching theme or conceit to help preserve the wholeness and intergrity of the scheme. In the case of this book that conceit is... sentient clouds! You'll understand how and why if you read the stories.

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