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On the Blog: The Accidental Recluse

Today we're delighted to be publishing The Accidental Recluse by Tom McCulloch. This is the third novel we've published by Tom since 2013, but Sandstone's Editorial Director, Moira Forsyth, has worked with him for far longer.

More than twenty years ago, my experience of selecting fiction began at Northwords magazine. At that time, all submissions came by post. Quarterly, I spent long evenings reading short stories, most of which were not very good. Some, though, shone with talent.

In 2001 I turned down an author called Tom McCulloch, but I must have thought he was talented, because I encouraged him to try again. In January 2002, I accepted Slush for the next edition. It was his first publication.

When I moved on to Sandstone Press, Tom sent me his first novel Far Places in 2011, and I turned that down too. I was, I’m sure, just as encouraging this time, remembering Tom and what a good writer he is, since he tried again with The Stillman in 2013. This time, I didn’t hesitate: I loved it. The novel was sad and funny, and the characters leapt to meet me.

Tom was a pleasure to work with, and we began a long editorial journey together. It was a wholly positive experience for me, and I hope, for him. With his next novel, A Private Haunting, Tom’s work grew in complexity and subtlety.

It’s a joy to publish his third, The Accidental Recluse, a beautifully written novel about ambition, treachery and regret, laced with Tom’s bone-dry humour. We’ve both travelled far since that first story in Northwords, but although we’ve worked together for years, we had never met. Then, last July, Tom was good enough to travel all the way from Oxford to the London launch of my own new novel, and we put that right. Now I can return the favour in May, when I chair his Edinburgh launch. I can’t wait!

Moira Forsyth, March 2018

Tom McCulloch

Tom McCulloch