Chris Simms is a very successful crime writer of the younger generation and he's permitted me to quote from an article he's written about an interesting new venture with which I've become involved:
'Appearing on a screen near you – crime short stories
This month sees the launch of 15 minute thriller – an exciting new service that allows the user of any internet-enabled phone to download short stories to their handset. The story then sits as an application (or, in the case of more venerable models like mine, a game) to be accessed and enjoyed wherever and whenever the reader wishes.
This, we believe, is the beauty of 15 minute thriller: because you don’t need a signal to access the downloaded story, it can be read on buses, trains, trams or tubes. Got a few spare moments? Bring up your 15 minute thriller and lose yourself in the work of some of Britain’s best crime writers.
Also built into the software is some wizardry that prevents the person who’s downloaded the story from forwarding it on to any other phone.
The service is part of a larger outfit called Swiftmags who, ultimately, aim to branch out into all sorts of downloadable magazine-style content. Talking to one of the guys behind it over a beer or two one night, we realised the software would be perfect for short stories that - if my own were anything to go by - were just gathering dust on a hard drive.
At this stage, 15 minute thriller is best described as embryonic – but we hope it could become a way of getting the much-neglected art of short story telling to a whole new audience. Especially since the cost of downloading each story will be just one pound. We’re getting things rolling with these five –
• Ray Banks’ Real Gone
• Martin Edwards’ Test Drive
• Kate Ellis’ Top Deck
• Allan Guthrie’s Dirty Work
• My own story, Mother’s Milk
For an idea of how 15 minute thriller looks, simply go to www.15minutethriller.co.uk'
'Test Drive' is a story I loved writing, and it was short-listed for the CWA Short Story Dagger four years ago. It's good to see it having a fresh lease of life. Certainly, I'm glad tob e part of this project and look forward to seeing how it all works out.