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S.L. Grey

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Under Ground; get to know us

Under Ground, the fourth S.L. Grey novel, is published in the UK today. It’s a stand-alone locked-room thriller, and will be available in South Africa and the Commonwealth in August. Dutch, French, German, Spanish and Korean editions are also being prepared.

You can check here for some of the early reviews.

We’ve also completed some revealing interviews and articles containing all you need to know about us (and more than you thought you wanted to know):

- “Partners in Crime: How Not to Kill Your Collaborator”, a guest blog for Shots Mag

- Sarah shares the traumatic origins of her research for Under Ground with Crime Time

- Sarah and Louis tell Pan Macmillan about their favourite and formative books and characters.

- “Somewhere in the world, there’s always an S.L. Grey novel being written.” Louis tells Pan Macmillan about S.L. Grey’s collaborative writing process

- “Every duo has a straight man and a comedy foil, which of you fits which part?” In-depth interview about Under Ground and the Downside with The Ginger Nuts of Horror

First look at Underground in the 2015-2016 Tor Sampler

Look at this pretty thing. A sampler of Tor’s 2015-16 debuts, with chapters from The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, Starborn by Lucy Hounsom, False Hearts by L.R. Lam, Truthwitch by Susan Dennaro … and Underground by S.L. Grey!

The sampler was available at LonCon3 in mid-August and will apparently be floating around other events for the next few months.

Underground, our fourth novel and first with Pan Macmillan, will be published in the middle of 2015. It starts to breathe.

An interview and a spark

Stacy Patton caught up with Sarah and Louis at the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton and interviewed them briefly for the blog before terrifying Sarah with a plastic spider. Listen on the embedded player above or click here.


Lauren Beukes recently hosted us on her blog’s The Spark series, where she invited us to write about the genesis of The New Girl:

It was raining. Hard.
On the way from the flat, Louis’ younger son, Thing 2, had been blown across the road to the bus stop. Thing 1 watched him go, folded down his umbrella and clenched his teeth into the gale. When the bus came, they squished on board like three saline creatures that had been blown with the scum over the ballustrade of the Mouille Point promenade.
‘I want to go home,’ he whined. ‘We don’t have to use bloody umbrellas at home in Joburg.’
‘It’s not that bad.’
‘It is!’ he moaned. ‘I thought this holiday was going to be fun, but it sucks.’
‘There, there.’
‘I’m cold and wet and miserable.’
‘Come on, Dad, cheer up,’ Thing 1 said, damply. ‘We’re going to play mini-golf with Sarah!’
‘Yay!’ chirped Thing 2, before his jaw locked in an involuntary spasm.
‘Winter holiday in Cape Town. We must have been mad,’ Louis grumbled.

They found Sarah at the Scratch Patch and Golf Cave at the Waterfront. The mini-golf was quite exciting, not because of the tight scoreline, but because water was dripping through the light fixtures in the low faux-rock ceilings and along threadbare wires into the sodden green baize of the course. Every time Thing 1 played a good shot he waved his club in the air, swishing the metal shaft millimetres from the exposed cords.

‘We’d better talk about the plot for the next book,’ Sarah said.

Read the rest of the riveting tale here.

Collectible Downside e-cards!

Fear Downside CardFood Downside Card

To celebrate the launch of our new website at (which Louis cloned – appropriately, we thought – from his own website, which is why it might look familiar to some of you) we’re sharing some of the cards we made for a Downside online role-playing game that we ran out of time (and skill) to make.

These images are all inspired by scenes from The Mall; Sarah drew the pictures and Louis digitised them. We quite like the fact that the pictures are homeless and stunted and and unfulfilled and beautiful and hope you like them too. The first eight are here. If there’s interest, we’ll post the rest in the coming months, and we could make some higher-res versions to distribute.

Pan Macmillan to publish two new S.L. Grey books

It’s a very happy day for S.L. Grey. Apart from being the launch date of our third book, The New Girl, we are delighted to announce that Pan Macmillan has bought UK and Commonwealth rights to publish the next two S.L. Grey novels. Julie Crisp, Pan Macmillan’s editorial director, has shared the news on the Tor UK blog.

Sarah and I are thrilled to be joining such a fine stable of writers and are grateful for Julie and her team’s warm enthusiasm for our upcoming projects. We’re also immensely thankful to Oli Munson, our agent of steel, and Jennifer Custer and Hélène Ferey in A.M. Heath’s international rights department for working tirelessly to spread our twisty tales around the world. They’ve already placed the next book in France, Germany and the Netherlands. And huge thanks to Laura Palmer, Toby Mundy and Corvus for taking the initial brave chance on us.

Julie Crisp’s press release offers the first sneak preview of Underground, our next novel, which will be published by Pan Macmillan in mid-2015. We wanted to come up with something fresh, but not lose the claustrophobic thrills our readers have become used to.


The Pan Macmillan press release in full:


Pan Macmillan is thrilled to announce the acquisition of two S. L. Grey novels by Julie Crisp, Editorial Director, in a six-figure deal with agent Oli Munson, of AM Heath, after a hard-fought pre-Frankfurt auction. Rights have already been sold in Germany, France and Holland.

Crisp said of the deal: ‘I’m so excited to be able to welcome such a talented writing duo to Pan Macmillan. Underground took my breath away with its pacing, brilliant characterisation and tension-filled stand-off. It’s a nail-biting read for all the best reasons. ’

A high concept thriller with overtones of Stephen King, Underground takes place in The Sanctum, a luxurious, self-sustaining survival condominium situated fifty feet underground in a remote location in rural Maine. It’s a plush bolt-hole for the rich and paranoid – a place where they can wait out the apocalypse in style.

When a devastating super-flu virus hits the States, several families race to reach The Sanctum. Among them are committed preppers, people who have invested a great deal of time and money preparing for any apocalyptic scenario. All the residents have their own motivations for buying into the development. All are hiding secrets. And when the doors lock and a death occurs, they realise the greatest threat to their survival may be trapped in the Sanctum with them…

S.L. Grey is a collaboration between Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg. Based in Cape Town, Sarah is a novelist and screenwriter and die-hard zombie fanatic. She writes crime novels and thrillers under her own name, and as Lily Herne she and her daughter Savannah Lotz write the Deadlands series of zombie novels for young adults. Louis is a Johannesburg-based fiction writer and editor. He was a bookseller for several years, and has a Master’s degree in vampire fiction and a doctorate on the post-religious apocalyptic fiction of Douglas Coupland.

Sarah Lotz said: ‘We’re both thrilled that a publisher with such a stellar reputation as Macmillan is so enthusiastic about our writing. It’s a real honour to join such an incredible list.’

And Louis Greenberg said: ‘As a reader and bookseller, I’ve always been a huge fan of Macmillan’s classily curated lists, so it’s a dream for me to make it into their stable as a writer. We heartily look forward to our future projects together.’

UNDERGROUND will be published by Pan Macmillan in summer 2015.

Free short story podcast, mesmerisingly read

“We’ll Always Be Here”, the story we wrote for Jurassic’s science fiction anthology, The Lowest Heaven, has been recorded for a free podcast by Dark Fiction Magazine. It is beautifully, mesmerisingly read by the awesome Kim Lakin-Smith. Episode 15 of Dark Fiction also includes podcast fab stories by Jaine Fenn, Alistair Reynolds and Sam Sykes.

Click here to hear the story.

S.L. Grey caught in Aerodrome’s Photobooth

Sarah and I were recently photographed by Gareth Smit for‘s Photobooth exhibition. The shoot happened at the Franchhoek Literary Festival earlier this year, and the exhibition launched on 1 August at Skinny Legs & All in Cape Town.

There are several other fun and artful portraits of local and overseas writers, including Lauren Beukes, Rachel Zadok, Alexander McCall-Smith and Zapiro. Click here to view the online gallery. The exhibition runs in Cape Town until mid-September.

(This post is also on Louis’ website, here.)

Cover your ears! The Mall and The Ward now in audio!

The Ward audio editionThe Mall audio edition

Tomorrow, 30 July, The Mall and The Ward will be available in Audible audio editions, allowing the creepy excitement even more routes to seep into your brain.

The New Girl will also be available in an Audible audio edition at the same time as the book is released, on 3 October.

You can buy the Audible editions from Amazon US, UK and other affiliates. South African buyers can purchase their copies from and If you bought the Kindle edition, you can upgrade to the audio version at a cut rate.

Here are some links:

Buy The Mall on Audible audio (
Buy The Ward on Audible audio (
Buy The Mall on Audible audio (
Buy The Ward on Audible audio (

Incidentally, this is the first time that S.L. Grey books are being sold directly in North America, so listeners will get their first endemic taste.

High Five interview!

We recently took a fun High Five Interview with the enthusiasts at J For Jetpack about our story in The Lowest Heaven, “We’ll Always be Here”.

It starts thus:

1) To start this off, what was the inspiration behind your story in The Lowest Heaven?

L: As dark writing twins, we thought it perfectly appropriate that we were assigned the dark twins of the solar system. We loved the idea of the misunderstood outsiders – demoted, outcast and resentful emo planets – lurking on the periphery. As things turned out, though, we needed to bring the action a bit closer to the centre.

2) What is it that attracts you to science-fiction as a genre and what one sci-fi thing, be it book, movie or real life event, has influenced you the most?

L: I devoured science fiction, particularly in my undergrad days. I joined the alt.scifi list and got a list of best sci-fi that I tried to work my way through. I played TrekMOO, did an English Honours elective on Dan Simmons’s Hyperion, and went to a 21st party dressed as Gully Foyle. Take your pick!

S: This is a total cliche, but I guess I’m attracted to it because of the genre’s endless possibilities for story-telling, from the fantastical to fresh social critique.

I read way too much PKD when I was a child – his short stories exploring what makes us human (Second Variety etc) were a massive influence. I am now obsessed with androids, hyper-realistic sex dolls and the uncanny valley.

Read the rest, with choice illustrations, here. have a look at the High Fives with the rest of the stellar contributors there too.

Aerodrome interviews S.L. Grey

When Sarah and Louis got together at the Franschhoek Literary Festival in May, Aerodrome, the lovely new South African literary web journal, took the opportunity to interview us about our work together as S.L. Grey.

Click here to view the video at Aerodrome.