Chris Carse Wilson wrote his debut novel in 15-minute bursts on the bus to and from work.
The novel, set in the remote wilderness of the Scottish Highlands, is due for publication in April and is being billed as the “most haunting and mysterious debut novel of 2023”.
Chris, who is on sabbatical from his role as V&A Dundee’s communications manager, wrote Fray in secret – even hiding it from his wife until it was completed.
“Fray is a book about family, love, and overcoming grief, set against the beauty and the threat of the Scottish Highland wilderness,” he says.
“This is an exciting, intense book which explores the redemptive power of nature and the universal challenges we all face living with our own mental health.
“I can’t wait to share it with booksellers and readers.”
Fray follows a nameless narrator as they desperately search for their missing father.
Instead, they discover an abandoned cottage filled with thousands of confusing, terrifying scraps of paper, detailing the father’s frenzied attempts to find his dead wife.
Announcing the acquisition of Fray today, HarperCollins commissioning editor Daisy Watt said: “Fray is a missing-person mystery like no other.
“The voice of its nameless narrator held me transfixed – as did its fierce, alluring mountain and forest setting – and the ending is exquisitely ambiguous.
“Even more standout for me, though, is that disguised within Chris Carse Wilson’s spine-tingling writing is an acuity about grief and mental health that I’ve never encountered before in fiction.
“We at HarperNorth (a division of HarperCollins) have high hopes Fray will be the most haunting and mysterious debut novel of 2023, and we are overjoyed to be launching Chris’s career as a formidable new literary talent.”
As well as being communications manager at V&A Dundee, Chris is a lifelong runner who uses exercise and nature to manage his mental health.
A passionate advocate for mental health awareness, he was diagnosed as autistic as an adult.
- Find Chris on Twitter.