Chico Kidd has been writing professionally since 1979. Her ghost stories have been published in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and continental Europe. Most first saw the light of day in small press (Ghosts & Scholars, Dark Dreams, Peeping Tom, Enigmatic Tales, five self-published chapbooks, and others), many immediately snapped up for reprinting in mass-market anthologies. Almost all were collected together in hardback in Summoning Knells (Ash-Tree Press 2000). The Ghost Story Society’s verdict: “powerful… consummate craftsmanship”. Her first novel, The Printer’s Devil, came out from Baen Books (New York) in 1996. It came 12th in Locus magazine’s poll of Best First Novels of the year and gained some brilliant reviews. Chico also writes in collaboration with Australian author Rick Kennett about William Hope Hodgson’s occult detective Carnacki and their first hardback collection, No 472 Cheyne Walk, was published in 2002 by Ash-Tree. Since 2000 she has been busy with the Da Silva Tales, an ongoing sequence of novels and stories featuring “one of the genre’s most interesting and genuinely original new characters” according to Stephen Jones in Horror in 2001. The 2002 editions of his influential anthologies, Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 13 and Dark Terrors 6, feature three of the stories between them. Others have appeared in Supernatural Tales, the Ash-Tree anthology Acquainted with the Night (2004), and in three self-published chapbooks.
Chico Kidd likes learning new things.
Before the age of eighteen she learnt sailing, canoeing, fencing, judo, Russian, Latin, French and German (as well as the rest of the school curriculum), and climbed Snowdon several times— once with a sprained ankle.
Before the age of twenty-five she joined a football team, gained a law degree, saw her first story published, and discovered what unemployment was like.
Before the age of thirty she made a success in advertising, learnt to ride a horse and to ring church bells (badly). She got married on her thirtieth birthday.
During the next twenty years she learnt to scuba dive, studied Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, had three books published, travelled to twenty-five countries, rode elephants and camels, and ran the London Marathon for the first time (of three).
There are still a lot more things she wants to do, and she still can’t ride a bicycle without falling off.
Chico was born in 1953 in Nottingham, though her parents met and married in postwar Germany, father an army sergeant from Nottingham, WAAF mother born in India to a Welsh father and mother whose nationality changed every time the tale was told. So she likes to think of herself as a mongrel, because everyone knows mongrels are smarter.
She can’t write without music: fado, opera, baroque. When it comes to art she will actively seek out Miró, Gauguin, Paula Rego, the Renaissance and some of the Pre-Raphaelites. She loves Gaudì’s architecture but her favourite city is Lisbon. Her reading pile has in it Ursula Le Guin, José Saramago, Terry Pratchett, Michael Chabon, Haruki Marakami, Conrad, Kipling, and Tolkien (and that’s just the fiction). Writing influences that she can identify also include M R James of course, Raymond Chandler, C S Forester, William Hope Hodgson, Rider Haggard, John Buchan, Peter O’Donnell, and Joss Whedon.
Where Captain Luís da Silva came from she still doesn’t know. But he’s still going strong after sixteen long short stories (all published) and four novels (so far unpublished). Chico is seven chapters into the fifth novel at the time of writing. The first novel, Demon Weather, is out now from Booktrope. The second, The Werewolf of Lisbon, will follow in due course.