Craig Douglas is the unsung hero behind the Near To The Knuckle anthology. Darren Sant of course is also involved and the two make a fine team. But if it weren’t for men like Craig there would be no anthologies. The quiet unassuming force behind the brilliant collection of stories by the likes of Paul Brazill, David Barber, Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw, B.R Stateham, Graham Smith, Alan Griffiths, yours truly and many more, met me at The Slaughterhouse where we talked about how close it gets and pebble dashed walls.
Tell us about the Near To The Knuckle Anthology.
It was something we’d been thinking about for a year. It was in its embryonic stage early last year and we only started to take it seriously when we began to see the flood of talent that submitted work to Near2theKnuckle. We saw many other anthologies on the market, but the main anthology that inspired us had to be the Radgepacket series which I and Darren both have stories in several of these. They set the standard and we aimed to achieve a similar level, though not in print as we don’t have the capital for that sort of venture. It’s going to be an electronic anthology filled with works that scrape the skin off knuckles and chins. We found it difficult to select the apropriate work in a whole array of talent. We had a criteria that the work should fulfil and that it should be Close to the Bone, Near to the Knuckle, as sharp as a snapped tooth, as gritty as rocksalt and keeps you guessing.
How close do you think it gets?
We have to stick to moral ethics here and we went as close as we as editors felt necessary. Now some people would go too far and we have an unspoken code of decency…. I think we’ve gone as close as the authors dared go. As I said we are normal people and we have boundaries though there was one short story I was hoping to get into the anthology and it involved a man being buggered in prison in the first paragraph. Darren objected and said it was for the main site. I thought it would have been ideal. I think we’ve gone pretty damn close and it’s like we’ve rapped our fists against a pebble dash wall.
Who made the pebble dashed wall?
That was probably Daz as I couldn’t have made a pebble dash wall. The closest I get to pebble dashing anything is on the toilet after nine pints of Stella and a Curry.
Is there a particular quality to the stories in the anthology that you believe makes it a good read?
They tell a story that’s as honest as the dog on the street when it cocks its leg to a lamp post and pisses on it. It’s as honest as the steam that rises from the piss. It speaks of the dark corners of society, of those people we know or those people we hear about, often in street folklore. They take the reader on a giddy ride to a sharp and violent end, usually in explosive muscle rendering circumstances or as silent as the pox.
The stories should resonate in the readers’ mind and after reading them. They will look upon people in a different light, they might even question them or themselves…. what if? Would I do that? Could I?
Craig thank you for a tight and sharp interview.
Visit Craig’s blog at Gritfiction.com
And if you’re not into formatting your own manuscript for Kindle or Smashwords, Craig offers a quality conversion service at amazingly reasonable rates at Gritfiction.com here.