The Night Alphabet by David M. Donachie

Following on the new theme for my blog: promoting self-published writers.

Next up is David M. Donachie with a book of short stories: The Night Alphabet.

Read on for a short article by Donachie, discussing his work and inspiration.

My name is David M. Donachie (not to be confused with the other David Donachie, who publishes excellent naval stories). I live in a draughty garret in Scotland (really a top-floor flat, but a garret sounds a lot more romantic) with my wife Victoria, two cats, and a bunch of reptiles. I'm a writer, masquerading as an artist, masquerading as an IT professional — which is the job that pays the bills.


This month I published my first collection of short stories, The Night Alphabet.

Have you ever had a dream so wonderful it followed you into the waking world? Do you lie awake, listening to the creaks and groans of a settling building, and believe that something strange and terrible is happening? Have you ever been unable to tell the dream from reality?


The Night Alphabet is a collection of 26 short stories dragged from the edges of sleep: marrying nightmares to detective fiction, ghosts to science, and the weird to the nonsensical. Author David Donachie weaves stories together from the ideas that cross the dozing mind, creating fantastical tales which will take you deep into the dream world and beyond. Inside you will find: cloud castles, flooded cities, haunted dreams, aliens, talking heads, insomniacs, and lots of cats.

The Night Alphabet had its genesis in late night conversations with my wife. In the time before sleep our imaginations went into overdrive. We conjured up the strangest ideas, but they faded by morning, like dreams do. One night I had the idea to scribble some of the ideas down and then turn them into short stories. Those stories became the core of the collection.

Naturally, the book focuses on stories related to sleep, nightmares, dreams, waking, insomnia, and darkness; the sort of night fears and memories that surface in the gap between your head hitting the pillow and sleep proper. This gives the collection a certain focus on horror and the supernatural, but there are SF, romance, and fantasy pieces too — anything that takes the familiar world and twists it, for good or ill, just as dreams do.

If I had to pick out a theme beyond these that the collection highlights, it would be memory.

The book is full of old recollections and forgotten things: the wind-blown man in "The Traveller" yearns for the country he left behind, and the refugees in "War in Heaven" for theirs; the young girl in "Seaweed Memories" sifts the memories of others, while the searcher in "Persistence of Memory" is looking for his own.

Memory also bleeds into loss - that feeling when you wake up with a beautiful dream just slipping out of our grasp.

In case that all sounds too serious, there are light hearted pieces in the book as well, like "Mr Martello and the Cloud Castle" or "Feline Solutions for Alien Problems". 


The stories are arranged to match the letters of the alphabet with a significant word for each story (e.g. "A is for Angels"). This isn't the only thing that links them. The same characters, places, and organisations surface over and again in different shapes and guises.

I liked the idea that the stories might be linked with one another, perhaps through alternate universes, or in the same manner as a recurring dream.

You can find more about me and my work online on Facebook and on my website

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Available now on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and Paperback.