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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Clay Cross



Clay Cross first materialised in Bed-sit-land in the Handpost area of Newport, and when Newport still had its Woolworths. Next to the assorted sweets, it had piles of cheap paperbacks featuring Richard S Prather's detective, Shell Scott. I admire Prather for the sheer volume of his work. He was knocking them out, and in those grey, grimy evenings, I was reading them as fast as they appeared on Woolworths' shelves. I still have most of them, a fine collection. Interspersed with Prather's hyperactive Shell Scott, was the more sober prose of Raymond Chandler, and the rage and paranoia of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer. 

Thus Clay Cross came into being. 

He found his voice in the letter pages of  The South Wales Argos where he vented the most outrageous ideas in the voice of a misogynist, homophobic Cold War warrior circa 1951. And then he went into cold storage as I couldn't for the life of me find away of bringing a creature of the 1950's into the late C20th without the support of a zimmerframe, oxygen bottles, and care assistant. 

He was resurrected on the pages of an online magazine called On Fiction Writing where he interviewed a host of some very generous writers, with the help of his sidekick, the lascivious and kinky Sheri Lamour. The two of them were outrageously rude, and when the enterprise ended neither agreed to be put back into their respective coffins. 

It was a whisper in the dark. Sheri I think, or perhaps April Dawn. Either way a solution was found, and both Cross and Lamour were plucked from their natural habitat and plonked into the centre of Newport in the late C20th.  Here they ran amok - and continue to do so--- oblivious to political and cultural sensitivities, and appallingly rude to anything that moves. 

I hope you enjoy them.

6 comments:

Maria Zannini said...

I have to admit, Clay Cross is one of the most interesting characters I'd ever read.

I still think he could scandalize the world in a 1950s setting, but time skipping is good too. :)

Hey, if Call the Midwife can sell big, so can Clay Cross.

Mike Keyton said...

Hi Maria, and thank you. Maybe I can get Miranda Hart to play Sheri Lamour :) I would have thanked you earlier but I've only just come back from Newport making exploratory forays into marketing. Clay's so rude about Newport - they have to like him.

Misha Gericke said...

They sound fun to write. ;-)

Cover looks great.

Mike Keyton said...

Thanks, Misha. If you're on Facebook, welcome to the Clay Cross party this Sunday

Veronica Sicoe said...

*throws confetti*

Mike Keyton said...

Catches confetti. Throws bouquet over my shoulder for someone to catch :)