First draft of 'The Mine Field'
A short while ago I decided to commit to writing mainstream contemporary literature under three of my real names e.g. Christopher Richard Barker. However, I still feel the irrepressible urge to occasionally compose work of supernatural horror (I refer here to the more intellectually sublime edge of the genre, haunted by the likes of Robert Aickman, Angela Carter and Reggie Oliver). To that end I created the sobriquet 'Jane Fox'.
As 'Jane Fox' my short story 'The Mine Field' won third prize in a recent British Fantasy Society short story competition; this tale is set at the former workings of Magpie Mine in the Peak District, Derbyshire. If you have ever visited the site you may have been struck by its strange, eerie atmosphere. Also as 'Jane Fox', my longer piece 'Better Than Borley Rectory' is soon to appear in Egaeus Press's 'Midwinter Entertainment', alongside work by the superlatively decadent Vincent O'Sullivan.
'Better Than Borley Rectory' recounts the experiences of a television crew who seek to film a documentary about the famous ghost-story author M.R. James at his former family home in Great Livermere, Suffolk. It is based upon my personal visits to the house and a real-life ghost story told to me by one of the subsequent residents. My fictional characters discover the childhood diary of M.R. James under one of the beds, and their plunderment of this dangerous volume unleashes a series of disturbing supernatural incident.
The story is an homage to the televised ghost story as perhaps best exemplified by the BBC's excellent 'Ghost Story For Christmas'.
Still from 'The Signalman' (BBC 'Ghost Story For Christmas', 1976)