Childhood experiences can have a massive psychological affect later in life. A few of the horror books I read as a boy shook me to the foundations. I hired '18' certificate films when I was too young to do it, but teenagers can watch horror films with more enthusiasm than adults because they think they are going to live forever! I sympathised with the hero's bloody struggle, and when they triumphed at the end it felt subconsciously as if I had survived the same horrors myself.

When I was expelled from college in Bristol I took on a job in a fast-food takeaway. Within a few months I concluded that my future should be more interesting than grilling meat. That my life was worth more, so I decided to become a writer. I conceived a plot for a gory manuscript that was completed in 1992. Arguably, at that time, more new fiction was being picked up than does these days. I tackled the publishing houses before the agencies, and that was a mistake. The Royal Mail delivered some encouraging critique, but all my submissions were rejected. Then there was no point in pursuing representation when all the publishers had turned me down already. Nowadays there is an increasing number of houses listed in The Writer's & Artists Yearbook that accept submissions through agencies only.

My 1990s were a mess-pit of drug use and psychiatric treatment. I wrote during the lucid years, moulding myself into an author. "Defender: Adventures in Schizophrenia" was finally published in 2007, then I needed to write fiction. My first manuscript was a fully integrated plot sitting right in front of me! I re-titled it as "Zaxxon", and toned down the gore, sex, and bad language. It evolved into something much more than it had been. Not redrafted, so much as re-created. The end product was no longer a horror book. It was an occult thriller so stylistically advanced it was as if the original had been scrawled by a naughty child. This synopsis will give you a sense of the story:

A professor at the British Museum, and his daughter, drive from London to Scotland on the pretext of taking a holiday. In a tiny village that is not on any maps, he unearths the "Necronomicon Galaxion", a book that has cut a swathe of bloody death for a thousand years. In Bristol, an artist and a student fall in love. At a school in Norfolk, a suicidal teenager sacrifices his soul to become a demon, and together with his demon lover they scour the country for the ancient text. The book and the paperwork required to translate it are stolen in Bristol. The demons leave a trail of cannibalised bodies behind them that the police cannot understand. Via the magic of accelerated evolution, the thief develops a necromancy that is addictive, and potentially Earth threatening. The young lovers must stop him reading it to the end.

"Zaxxon" was a milestone for me, as an author, because it proved that I can write skilfully about other things than psychiatry. This novel and "Defender" are as different as stone and glass. The memoir might leave a deep impression as though engraved in stone. The fiction is full of depth and colour, like a picture in a sheet of glass kept safe in the reader's willing suspension of disbelief. Ultimately, "Zaxxon" is just a fun story, of love and death. It is about a relic with the capability to push the planet to the brink of destruction, and then back to a world safer without it. If you want to read it, signed copies can be purchased above, and if you would like to post your own review send it to rikart@sky.com.

This is Colchester author's Richard Clements first attempt at fiction following his insightful memoir 'Defender: Adventures in Schizophrenia'. That dealt with his illness brought on by his experimentation with LSD in the late 1980's, and for this new book he has chosen an even bigger subject - the ultimate battle between good and evil. This occult thriller rattles along at a fair old pace, a bit like Dennis Wheatley doing his own dark version of 'The Da Vinci Code'. It even ends up with a right old ding-dong with Lucifer himself - good stuff!
- Neil D'Arcy Jones, Essex County Newspapers.
The Necronomicon - a fabled book of the Blacks Arts, lost in antiquity and supposedly bound in human skin. The legend promises absolute power to the finder, but at a price that some are only too willing to pay, a price just as dangerous to the innocent who may unwittingly cross its path.

Set over sixteen days one summer, a suicidal teenager becomes an immortal demon, and two people fall in love and overcome the ultimate evil. A professor with a dangerous ambition discovers this most mystical of books, before it is stolen from him by a criminal with noting to lose.
15 inc. P&P
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