Monday, December 19, 2016

"The Goblin Child and Other Stories" by Michael Forester

The Goblin Child and Other Stories
by Michael Forester

The Goblin Child and Other Stories by Michael Forester is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author and an excerpt. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Michael Forester’s award winning short stories and flash fiction range from fantasy to young love and old fear, LGBT relationships to spirituality & religion, metaphor to morals, to literary fiction. Always these powerful, highly original tales are gripping and readable, stories that surprise, illuminate, engage and enrich:
• A man who remembers his birth in terrifying detail
• A woman who is certain she has given birth to a goblin child
• A child who takes his god to school for show and tell
• A youth who prefers his revenge served cold
• A teenage girl who, due to her love of nature, falls under the spell of a sexual predator
• A priest confronted by a man who believes he is Santa
• A worker in a care home who is never permitted to leave
• A man who sees the purpose of his life only after he dies
• A dying poet who searches desperately for the interracial love of his youth
In this apparently unconnected and eclectic group of tales, Michael Forester explores the circularity of our lives. The collection culminates unexpectedly in the story of a dying poet who finds, then loses, interracial love in a racist age, and discovers with TS Eliot that he "arrives where he began, to know the place for the first time." In so doing Forester reveals to us the circularity of our lives and that the events in them, so independent, so seemingly random, are truly interdependent, connected, planned.
Venture into the world of Michael Forester’s short story collection and it’s unlikely you’ll want to step away. You’ll experience a rollercoaster of emotions as you read the 30 stories that have emerged over 16 years, emanating from eclectic themes including ecology, racism, child abuse, politics, family, relationships, war, anti-exploitation in all its guises, and so much more. This is a fascinating, raw, heart-wrenching, beautiful and shocking collection of stories that are crying out to be read.

Click below to read an excerpt, including five complete stories.

Praise for the Book
"I highly recommend this book; kept my attention throughout! I enjoyed the variety of short stories this collection gifts. A great big thank you to Michael Forester for writing such wonderful shorts, renewing this reader’s appreciation for short story plots with plenty of twists. Enjoy the read!" ~ Alicia Rose Harrell
"This is a wonderfully rich and diverse collection by the ever versatile Forester, who’s probably best known for his poetry. As a fiction debut, this is impressive work, with eye for startling detail and the quick wit and emotional depth that fans of the epic Dragonsong will instantly recognise as the author’s signature style. The language is confident and lush, as one would expect from a poet telling stories, and Forester’s theme are universal. First love, loss, regret, faith, art, ambition, desire and death are all explored in genuinely original ways, with unique voices and widely different genres, ranging from science fiction, magic realism and gothic horror to urban realism and good, old fashioned humour. There’s a fairy tale motif running through several stories, most notably 'The Goblin Child' itself, which showcases Forester’s ability to blend the discourses of the real and the fantastic through the mind of his protagonist. [...] I live on short story collections, and this one is a genuine treat. Based on this work, we can only hope there’s a novel in the pipeline." ~ Dr Stephen Carver
"This book contains 30 short stories, some only a page long, others about 10 pages but on so many varied subjects, love, regret, hate, ambition, death, his scope is endless. The author is able to write in many different styles. His characters are so well drawn both in characterisation but also in their speech. They range from young children to old people incorporating so many conversations and thoughts many imbued with a fairy tale atmosphere but also some extremely down to earth feelings and emotions. [...] The amazing way this author can write about tragic events, funny events, fantasy events and even horrible events is quite brilliant. I urge anyone who can, to read this book it is enthralling. I feel that a lot of the stories could have been novels and I would be first in the queue to read any further offerings from this author." ~ Dexter, Breakaway Reviewers
"Michael Forester has an uncanny way of drawing readers to worlds they may not normally inhabit and then enable them to experience - first, curiosity, then empathy for the characters, followed by surprise, and finally, delight and a sense of wonder - the marks of true literary craftsmanship! These stories are eclectic in subject matter and points of view, held together by a fascinating gossamer thread evoking the mysterious and the mystical reinterpreted for 21st century reading. The illustrations also wonderfully complement the stories, and as a reader that equally delights in the various other arts, I appreciate this creative collaboration. Bravo, Mr. Forester! And thank you for your gift of joy in your stories!" ~ Victoria G. Smith
"Collection of fast paced short stories that reflect on tough subjects from the demon of drink, young love, a sci-fi tooth fairy, to the emotional turmoil and angst faced by a first time young mum. The style is poetic yet gritty and definitely a grown-up read. The author takes the reader on a journey imparted with all the drama and tension of the coming of age challenges the characters find themselves confronted by or reminded of. It’s a moving, insightful, and sometimes unnerving collection, well observed and told with warning, humour and great insight." ~ Kate

Guest Post by the Author
The Inspiration Behind My Stories
I was a painter back then. I sought to splash colour on canvass as God paints the summer meadows with the cornflowers and the poppies. I craved reputation; to be ranked among the greatest artists of my generation. In my daydreams the elders of my town would fall back in amazement at the power of my images. Invitations would be issued to city mayors and burghers who would come to congratulate me, then humbly plead that I accept their commissions. Nonchalantly I would add them to the end of my growing waiting list, while the prettiest girls of the Canton vied to become my muses.
But my nights, my nights were not so happy. Alone in my chamber I feared to extinguish my candle, for in the darkness the terrors would come. And always, the dream was the same. Standing in my studio, with my canvasses stacked around me, I laboured with a burning intensity to create my masterpiece, a Madonna and child, the signature work of my life by which all the world and the generations of time would know my towering greatness. Then I would smell the smoke. The fire always started behind me. But so oblivious was I to all but my work, that by the time I recognised it for what it was, it had taken hold. Above me the ancient oak beams smouldered and cracked, then burst into incandescent flame that rained the fire of heaven down upon my paintings. Too late I would see my predicament and the impending destruction of my most precious creations. I would grab at the canvass on the easel and the one or two nearest to my feet, only to come to a terrified realisation that I did not know the way out. The roof beams would crash down around me destroying everything I valued as I sat in the middle of the floor, weeping. And just as the heat began to sear the flesh of my hands, I would finally awaken, sweat-soaked, upon my bed.
Last night the dream was different. Still I laboured at my canvass, still the fire started behind me. But as once again the roof beams crackled above my head, I took a different course. Without hesitation I grabbed my largest brush and into the centre of the canvass I painted a door; an oak framed door so large it covered the face of the Madonna and all of the child in her arms. And once the door was completed to my satisfaction, oblivious to the smoke and the flames, I seized upon the handle like a madman and turned it, pulling back upon the door with all my strength. It flung itself open with such force that I was thrown back to the floor as a mighty rushing wind blew in, a hurricane so powerful that it extinguished the flames that threatened me. As the wind finally died down I looked about me, the smoke curling up from my eviscerated canvasses.
This morning I took all my paintings out behind the studio and made a bonfire of them. My life’s work has finally begun.

About the Author
Some are born with silver spoons in their mouths. Michael Forester was born with a pen in his hand. He is a deafened writer living in, and drawing his inspiration from, Hampshire’s New Forest. Michael’s most recent book, The Goblin Child, is a disarmingly eclectic collection of prize winning short stories exploring the circularity of our lives and the events in them, so independent, so seemingly random, yet truly interdependent, connected, planned. It follows his first published creative work in 2009, If It Wasn’t For That Dog, about his first year with his hearing dog, and his hugely successful 2016 novel in rhyming verse, Dragonsong.
Michael is a Winchester Writer’s Festival prizewinner and has been long/shortlisted three times in the Fish Writing Contest. His work has appeared several international journals and competitions.
His children look on aghast as he squanders their inheritance on such profligacies as A4 printing paper. They need have no concern. He plans to leave them the pen.
Michael divides his time between Hampshire and Somerset, and is regularly to be found at book signings and events across the country talking about storytelling or his beloved hearing dog Matt. He attended Oxford University.