Tag Archives: The Hyde Hotel

V.H. Leslie and The Hyde Hotel

The blue room had leant her some of its colour and she couldn’t help but stand out.The Hyde Hotel
From The Blue Room by V. H. Leslie

PS: Hi Victoria. What’s in your room at The Hyde Hotel?
VHL: A woman, a Picasso painting and fifty shades of blue.

PS: Why blue? Tell me about the art influences that run through the story?
VHL: I was at the Museu Picasso in Barcelona a few years ago and was really struck by Picasso’s blue period. I didn’t know much about it at the time but found myself much more moved by this earlier period in his career, than by the cubist work he is more famous for. I’d also watched Dr James Fox’s documentary series, A History of Art in Three Colours and found the idea of seeing the world around us through one colour particularly interesting. Blue is a supremely important colour in terms of historical and cultural associations but also has a strong link to our psyche, as I think Picasso’s blue period exemplifies particularly well.

PS: Your story draws on women’s visibility/ invisibility, colour and madness. Did The Yellow Wallpaper influence you at all?
VHL: Not overtly, but I think ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ has certainly influenced the themes and concerns I’m interested in exploring as a writer. Actually, at the time of writing ‘The Blue Room’ I was researching material for my novel, most of which was centred on nineteenth-century attitudes and practices associated with women’s health, which included hysteria and mental illness. My background is in nineteenth-century gender studies, so perhaps some of these aspects filtered through.

PS: What appealed to you about the hotel as a setting?
VHL: I liked the fact that it draws on a particular topography we associate with the genre but allows for lots of different spaces, rooms, basements, breakfast rooms, to be exploited by the writer in new ways. Also, hotels provide anonymity and there’s something very engaging about all these people coming and going over time and the things they potentially leave behind. That was certainly a consideration in my story; the pain that my protagonist brings with her, colours her experiences, whilst The Hyde Hotel is an accumulation of all this pain from its previous residents.

PS: Do you have a favourite story in the Hyde Hotel collection yourself?
VHL: I think the anthology contains some absolutely brilliant stories from some very talented writers but if I had to pick just one, I’d say that I particularly liked Alison Littlewood’s ‘The View From the Basement’. As an opening story, it sets up the anthology particularly well, exploring the dimensions of the hotel and alluding to things supressed and buried.

PS: What’s your favourite hotel story/ film?
VHL: The Shining is one of my favourite books of all time. There’s something particularly creepy about an empty hotel, off season. I also really like R.B. Russell’s story ‘Night Porter’ in Shadows and Tall Trees, issue 6, which has a lovely dark and surreal quality to it.

PS: Do you have any new projects you can talk about?
VHL: My debut novel, Bodies of Water is due out from Salt Publishing on May 17th. The story takes place in what was once a hydropathy establishment (a hotel of sorts) beside the Thames, where affluent Victorians went to take the Water Cure. But it isn’t the water treatments but the river itself that accounts for the strange occurrences that take place inside Wakewater House.



V. H. Leslie’s stories have appeared in Black Static, Interzone, Shadows and Tall Trees and V.H. LeslieStrange Tales IV and have been reprinted in a range of ‘Year’s Best’ anthologies. Last year saw the release of her short story collection Skein and Bone and she was a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award in the category of novelette. She is also a Hawthornden Fellow and has recently returned from the Saari Residency in Finland, where she was researching Nordic water myths for her PhD in English and Creative Writing. Her debut novel, Bodies of Water is due out from Salt Publishing later this year. More details on her work can be found at www.vhleslie.wordpress.com

Skein and Bone – Amazon.




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S. P. Miskowski and The Hyde Hotel: A Guest Post

What’s In Room 309 of The Hyde Hotel?

‘Lost and Found’ is my contribution to the anthology The Hyde Hotel edited by James The Hyde HotelEverington and Dan Howarth and published by Black Shuck Books. The story is about a reader’s admiration for a writer whose books were published by a small press several decades ago. The writer’s output was modest, only three novels. And in the years since her death her work has gone out of print and is now largely forgotten. The reader stumbles upon these books in a used bookstore in the United States. Taking a rare vacation this woman of modest means who never does anything adventurous has uncharacteristically booked accommodations at the Hyde Hotel where her idol grew up and wrote her books. ‘Lost and Found’ is about marginal existence and the way in which so many artists fade away and are never fully appreciated because they didn’t leave as bold or as distinctive a mark as they hoped. Yet they may be greatly loved and appreciated by a reader whose discovery of their work is entirely by chance.
The idea at the core of ‘Lost and Found’ first occurred to me while researching a thesis topic in graduate school. I was perusing the university library’s extensive collection of small press magazines. They dated back many years and I thought it would be interesting to read the early works of authors who went on to be influential and well known.
As I leafed through one volume after another I began to realize I didn’t recognize a very large percentage of the names listed. Wandering back into the stacks I saw row after row, shelf after shelf of these beautiful, well-edited magazines. And I thought how extraordinary it was that most of the writers represented there had stopped writing, stopped being published, moved away from fiction into more lucrative or steady careers like advertising or teaching, or had simply been forgotten.
Years later when the editors of The Hyde Hotel invited me to submit a story and explained how the hotel would be a shared setting with layers of history and overlapping lives, my imagination wandered back to that moment in the university library when I realized the ephemeral nature of most fiction. At the same time I thought of writers I admire—Beryl Bainbridge came to mind—whose work was unique and brilliant but who didn’t receive quite enough of the standard accolades or didn’t become quite popular enough to make them household names. I’m not ignoring Bainbridge’s DBE or posthumous Booker Prize recognition, only noting how much more her contribution merits. I don’t believe Bainbridge will be forgotten but I’m sure some of her contemporaries have faded from view, and these were the individuals I had in mind when I created the writer in my story.
The idea that one person whose existence is marginal and ignored might come to worship the author of a handful of out-of-print books, and find meaning and solace by following the author’s footsteps through the places where she’s left little trace—this was the seed for ‘Lost and Found.’ The story presents readers with a sad yet (I hope) true connection in spirit between these two mostly forgotten women, reader and author, reflecting one another.

— S.P. Miskowski


S.P. Miskowski’s novel Knock Knock and novella Delphine Dodd (both published by SP MiskowskiOmnium Gatherum) were finalists for the Shirley Jackson Award. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Black Static, Supernatural Tales, Identity Theory, Other Voices, Nightmare Magazine, and in the anthologies October Dreams 2, Cassilda’s Song, The Hyde Hotel, Sisterhood, Autumn Cthulhu, Little Visible Delight, Monsters Rebuilt, and Leaves of a Necronomicon. Her novelette Muscadines is part of the Dunhams Manor Press hardcover series illustrated by Dave Felton, and her chapbook Stag in Flight, illustrated by Nick Gucker, is forthcoming from Dim Shores.

S.P Miskowski on Twitter 

S.P.Miskowski’s Amazon page

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Cate Gardner and The Hyde Hotel

Arthur Charles Manfred Edwards, resting against the hotel room door, handle poking into his back and fire emergency poster affixing itself to his bald patch, clutched the bomb to his The Hyde Hotelchest. The bomb, which for the purposes of the story we’ll name Lullaby, was a traditional cartoon version of a bomb, a little airship-like in shape and gold in colour. Arthur didn’t know much about bombs, only slightly more than Lullaby who thought itself a six-year-old boy. Children scared Arthur.
-from The Coyote Corporation’s Misplaced Song by Cate Gardner
PS: Welcome Cate. What’s in your room at The Hyde Hotel?
CG: There are threadbare sheets that the current occupants and countless others have worried at with fingers and teeth, and a phone that cries for attention and grows lonelier with each ring.

PS: Lullaby is the most wonderful bomb I’ve ever encountered. Where did he come from?
CG: In the reality of the story, he dropped from the sky. In his mind and mine, he’s a little boy who wants to be so much more. If you’re asking how he came to be in terms of story, then oh goodness, that little gem is long lost in the swirl of other things and probably the result of eating too much chocolate that day.

PS: Your writing is unique, I think. Part Roald Dahl, part James Thurber and all Cate Gardner. Would you consider doing some dark novels for children?
CG: I already have and they live in dusty boxes in my study. Once upon a time, I thought they were very, very good, then I realised they were horrid. I suspect I wrote The Coyote Corporation while working on a children’s novel as when I try to combine writing for children and short stories at the same time my shorts tend to come out extra-weird and a little odder. I’ve been promising my niece I’d write something for her for years, but I think she’s given up waiting as she’s started writing her own stories (I’m so proud).

PS: What’s the appeal to you about the hotel as a setting?
CG: A hotel can be anything and anywhere your story needs it to be. There’s something creepy about all those endless corridors. It’s a place most of us are familiar with and hopefully no one I know has ever stayed anywhere as unsettling as the Hyde.

PS: Do you have a favourite story in the Hyde Hotel collection yourself?
CG: The Blue Room by V.H. Leslie

PS: What’s your favourite hotel story/film?
CG: Probably 1408, although the last time I watched it, while in the midst of knock-me-over grief, I declared I could never watch it again. It’s one of the most unsettling movies (haven’t read the short story it’s based on) I’ve ever seen.

PS: Do you have any new projects you can talk about?
CG: Well, Snowbooks are releasing my novella The Bureau of Them at FantasyCon this year alongside novellas by Ray Cluley, John Llewellyn Probert, Mark Morris and Gary Fry. Very excited about that. I have two hush-hush projects (short stories) in the works, one due the end of April and the other next year. Other than that, I’m hibernating.


Liverpool-born Cate Gardner lives on the windy shores of the Wirral with the horror and Cate Gardnercrime writer Simon Bestwick and a ghost called Kneecap. Her short stories have appeared in Black Static, Postscripts, Shimmer, Best British Fantasy and many other weird and wonderful places. You can find her on the web at www.categardner.net

When the Moon Man Knocks appears in Black Static Issue 48

The Tranfiguration of Mr Punch contains Cate’s novella This Foolish and Harmful Delight.

Cate Gardner’s Amazon page

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Mark West and The Hyde Hotel

The Hyde HotelHoffman hated the city and he was sure the feeling was reciprocated.
Each time he visited – sometimes for work but often at Monica’s insistence, to visit the theatre or friends or simply shop- it was always hot and filthy and far too crowded. He hated the fact that everywhere he turned, he was pushed or pulled, cajoled or pressured, swept up in clouds of perfume or body odour and baked in the hot-house atmosphere the canyons of concrete created.
-The Sealed Window by Mark West

PS: Welcome Mark.
MW: Thanks for having me, Priya.

PS: What’s in your room at The Hyde Hotel?
MW: Madness, static-laden 70s porn on the TV and a sealed window.

PS: What inspired the claustrophobic qualities that you develop with The Sealed Window?
MW: Two completely different events, as it happens. My wife had to go to London for a thing with work and it was during the summer. They put her up in a hotel and she said she had the tiniest room she’d ever seen – it was on a main road so she had to make the choice, either swelter through the night with the window closed or leave the window open and it be too noisy to sleep. A couple of years later, we were on holiday in Wales and staying in a chalet that was long and narrow. Our bedroom was at the narrowest end and at the time, I was reading an anthology and that nights story had featured someone drowning in sand on a beach. I think the claustrophobia of the room, plus the idea of drowning, really played on my mind and I woke up in the middle of the night and tried to get out of bed but forgot how close the walls were, bounced off it and back onto the bed and the panic set in. In the end, Alison woke up and helped me around the bed into the hallway so that I could calm down.

PS: Tell me more about Hoffman.
MW: Hoffman is a forty-year-old man who is clearly at the end of his tether, forced to endure a stay in a city he hates, in a sticky heat that doesn’t do his mood any good at all. His day is made worse by the people around him – from fellow travellers on the train to noisy neighbours in the hotel – until a sealed window proves to be the final straw. I liked him, I could empathise with a lot of the things that drove him barmy!

PS: Do you have a favourite story in Hyde Hotel collection?
MW: I think they’re all as good as each other in their own way (or, “how to answer a question diplomatically…”)

PS: What’s the appeal of the hotel as a setting?
MW: I think the anonymity works well, in that nobody knows who you really are but, likewise, you don’t really know who anybody else is. All we see, in a hotel, are the masks that people want to present to the world. But it’s human life writ large – a hotel with fifty occupied rooms has at least fifty life stories, all different and all as complicated and detailed as our own, existing at the same time. For everyone in there who’s happy (a second honeymoon, perhaps), there’s also someone there in the doldrums (perhaps escaping a failed relationship, with little or no hope for the future).

PS: What’s your favourite hotel story/film?
MW: Probably “Psycho” by Robert Bloch.

PS: Do you have any new projects you can talk about?
MW: I do, thank you for asking. I have a novella called “Polly” due from Stormblade Productions (as a print/digital and audio edition) about a woman who discovers, on the eve of her twentieth wedding anniversary, that her husband is playing around and flees to Paris for a long weekend to gather her thoughts. Later on I have another novella coming out from Hersham Horror Books and there are a handful of short stories due too.

Thanks for having me here, Priya.


Mark West lives in Northamptonshire with his wife Alison and their young son Matthew. Mark WestSince discovering the small press in 1998 he has published over eighty short stories, two novels, a novelette, a chapbook, a collection and two novellas (one of which, Drive, was nominated for a British Fantasy Award). He has more short stories and novellas forthcoming and is currently working on a novel.

Away from writing, he enjoys reading, walking, cycling, watching films and playing Dudeball with his son.

He can be contacted through his website at http://www.markwest.org.uk and is also on Twitter as @MarkEWest

Drive Kindle  / print 

The Mill Kindle/print

What Gets Left Behind Kindle

Mark West’s Amazon Page


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James Everington and seven days at The Hyde Hotel

The Hyde Hotel Welcomes You…The Hyde Hotel

The Hyde Hotel looks almost exactly as you’d expect it to: a faceless, budget hotel in a grey city you are just passing through. A hotel aimed at people travelling alone, a hotel where you know so little about your fellow guests that they could be anyone… and where, perhaps, so could you. But sometimes things are hiding in plain sight, and not everyone who stays at The Hyde gets a good night’s sleep…
Enjoy your stay.

The Hyde Hotel is an anthology of original fiction co-edited by James Everington and Dan Howarth, containing work by some of the newest talent in horror today.

I’ll be spending the next seven days with hotel manager James Everington and his guests Alison Littlewood, Mark West, Cate Gardner, S.P. Miskowski, Simon Bestwick and V.H. Leslie.

Table of Contents
Checking In by James Everington
The View from the Basement by Alison Littlewood
Night Porters by Iain Rowan
Tick Box by Dan Howarth
The Edifice of Dust by Amelia Mangan
Lost and Found by S P Miskowski
Housekeeping by Ray Cluley
Something like Blood by Alex Davis
The Coyote Corporation’s Misplaced Sony by Cate Gardner
Wrath of the Deep by Simon Bestwick
The Sealed Window by Mark West
The Blue Room by V H Leslie
Checking Out by James Everington

 PS: Welcome James!

JE: Eh up!

PS:This is your first time as an editor. What made you want to be on the other side of the table?

EV: Simple really: I’ve always loved anthologies. I love the thrill of discovery, the way they allow you to read new authors alongside ones you know and trust. A good anthology isn’t just a load of stories in a row, the pieces should reflect or juxtapose each other. The order is important; an anthology should take you on a journey, like an album of songs does.
So basically, putting one together appealed to the part of me that used to love making compilation tapes of music for people in the 90s.

PS:What surprised you about the process?

EV: That the authors we asked to write a story said yes.
I was convinced some of them would say no/laugh at us/snub us in the street for having the audacity to ask. The Hyde Hotel genuinely features some of my favourite UK horror writers, and to get such fantastic stories from them was a wonderful feeling. I got to read these stories before the rest of the world had chance, like I was in on a secret.

PS:Would you want to repeat the experience of putting together an anthology?

Yes, I’ve spoken to Dan Howarth (my co-editor) about doing another one and what theme we might go for next. Nothing certain yet, because we both have lives, but I do hope we do another one. And there’s certain enough talented authors around to ask. Maybe we’ll get a story from you, Priya 🙂

PS:What was the inspiration for the hotel as an envelope for an anthology?

EV:It all started with an old blog post I wrote on the subject of stories set in strange hotels, in which I speculated about why hotels seemed to be such a good setting for the ghostly and the uncanny. I’m talking about the kind of faceless hotel where you might stay alone, on business or whatever. Where you’re out of your comfort zone and don’t know anyone around you… but nor do they know you. You can be anyone in a hotel like that–introduce yourself with a different name, act a little crazy. You can be anyone–but maybe that’s not a good thing…
I’d been reading a few stories set in hotels with this elastic concept of self and personality at the heart of them–Nicholas Royle’s The Reunion and Great Rates, Central Location by Hannah Kate, for example. And I thought, I want more of this kind of thing.
Dan sent me an email in response to that blog post saying that the two of us should put together an anthology of hotel based horror, despite us having no experience of editing anthologies… and thus (eventually) The Hyde was born.

PS: What’s the appeal of the hotel room as a setting?

EV: Well, everyone who stays in a hotel room is there for a reason, aren’t they? It might just be a holiday or a business trip but they’re temporarily out of their normal routine. And they might be staying there because of something more dramatic: they’ve fled home, or are having an affair, or are contemplating suicide…
Basically, everyone who stays in a hotel room already thinks they’re in a story, even if only in their own head.

PS: What brief did you give your writers?

EV: I sent them the following list of facts, gossip and hearsay about The Hyde Hotel:
• To most visitors, it appears to be a nondescript, middle-budget hotel in an unnamed UK city. But that is because The Hyde tends to look how they expect it to. At least at first.
• After that, what each guest perceives about the hotel’s layout, rooms, its staff and even the weather outside varies. But generally what they perceive has some relation to their own inner weather.
• Most guests who stay there do so alone, and not necessarily under their own name. Some stay a single-night on some business trip, and other stay years…
• There are certainly stories of hauntings and other strange affairs attached to the Hyde, but most of these doppelgängers or spectres have a curiously symbiotic relationship with the guest perceiving them….
• The walls between the rooms are very thin.
• Some of the staff appear to be very old, or eccentric, or just slightly… odd.
• The above also applies to the other guests.
• The hotel’s numerous back-doors do not necessarily open onto the same place as its front-door…

PS: What’s your favourite hotel story/film?

EV: Robert Aickman’s Into The Wood for a story. And as for films, it’s got to be The Shining hasn’t it?
Plus Fawlty Towers, that classic series of English repression about a man on the edge of mental collapse and psychosis.

PS:Last year you moderated a panel at British Fantasy Con about the future of British horror. What are your own thoughts the matter?

EV: Well, I doubt I can answer this as well as my excellent panelists that day did (see also this follow on piece from Nina Allan where she tackles some of the topics from the panel in more depth). In general, I’m quite optimistic: there are many great writers in the UK horror scene at the moment, and between the traditional publishers, the small press, and self-publishing there’s a way for any writer of talent to get their work out to an audience. Hopefully the genre is becoming more accepting of minorities and diversity too, although other people will be better qualified than me to say if that’s really so.
How many of these brilliant writers can actually make a living from writing is another, and more depressing question. But as a reader I see a lot to be excited about, and that makes me feel more inspired as a writer too.

PS:What’s next for you?

EV: Quite a lot, as it happens. This year I have a novella out from Boo Books called Trying To Be So Quiet, which is a ghost story but also a love story, in its own bleak way. And Infinity Plus will be releasing the complete The Quarantined City, so people can finally see how it ends!
Then Hersham Horror will be releasing another novella of mine called Paupers’ Graves at this years’ Fantasycon. I can’t wait for that; it’s being launched alongside novellas from some fantastic authors, so I’m proud to be in such company. Now I just need to finish the thing. It’s a story set in my home city of Nottingham and after the metatextual fun of The Quarantined City I wanted to write something a bit more focused on monsters and people getting killed. I’m a horror writer and I hadn’t killed anyone in ages; I was getting withdrawal symptoms… So it’s a story about history, and British society, and people getting dying in nasty ways.


Purchase The Hyde Hotel.

James EveringtonJames Everington, co-editor, is a writer who likes enjoys “the unexplained, the psychological, and the ambiguous”. And Guinness.
His work includes two short story collections (Falling Over and The Other Room). 2016 will see the release of his novella Trying To Be So Quiet from by Boo Books and the serial novel The Quarantined City (Infinity Plus).

James Everington’s Amazon page.


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