Archive for the News & Announcements Category

Who Put My Light Under This Bushel?

(And what the hell is a bushel?*)

Dear me.  Look at the dust in this place .  I can’t remember how long ago I first encountered the term ‘cobwebsite’ but I rather think it fits this one.  Time to take down the old yellowing posters and nail up some fresh ones…  Crusher was up for an 2013 Edgar award in New York, need to bang the drum about that.  (It didn’t actually win, but that minor detail can go in the small print.) And what about a link to Kebabbed, that jolly short story I did at Christmas for Random House’s Dead Good series?  Let’s stick that up somewhere.  In the spirit of ecological soundness I could recycle some of the newspaper articles I wrote last year about living with a famous author (who isn’t me.) As for that movie I scripted… maybe we should wait till it looks like coming out before we boast about it.

My last blog post, Social Notworking, was a rant about how writers today are expected to market themselves by tweeting about their work and endlessly updating their Facebook status.  I do tweet (as @Noghar) but more about my dog than my work; I believe a novel should speak for itself.  Novels, like movies, rely on the conceit that they are real.  The reader lets himself or herself believe the story the author is telling you actually happened; movie watchers let themselves believe the handsome couple robbing a bank onscreen aren’t really being filmed by a massive team of technicians just out of sight.  Talking too much about a work before the audience has seen it is the equivalent of screening a behind-the-scenes featurette before the movie’s even been released; it dissipates the thrill and spoils the illusion.

That said, it is a busy and competitive market out there, and it’s all very well being pure in motive and above the demeaning bustle of mere commerce; but a novelist without an audience isn’t a novelist, merely a person with a self-indulgent hobby.  If you don’t love your story and want it to be widely read you shouldn’t have let it get published, and if you do, you mustn’t be shy about saying so, to as many people as possible. Especially if it helps those lovely people at your publishers get back some of the money they spent buying you dinner, getting you drunk and telling you how talented you are.

So, to bring everyone up to date, the paperback of Crusher is coming out in July 2013.  It has a new cover, soon to be proudly displayed on the home page (Hoot! Where’s that new cover?)  The Mystery Writers of America nominated it for an Edgar Award, which was a great honour (the prize went to Code Name Verity, a book I am extremely keen to read) and the International Thriller Writers organisation have also lined it up for an award, which sounds like a great excuse for a beano in New York.

The manuscript of Crusher Part Two – Incinerator – is with those aforementioned lovely publishing people at Random House, who as I write this are doubtless weeping over its countless typos and continuity errors. It should be appearing in bookshops towards the end of this year (unless the typos really are countless.)

Part Three is… in development.  Watch this space. Just don’t stand over there, we’re going to be shifting furniture.

*A bushel is a bowl or a basket, depending on what translation you read.  In the same way  ‘thou shalt not kill’ has also been translated as ‘thou shalt not murder’, which  some people consider a loophole.  But that’s enough about Northern Ireland.



Feck-All Comes To Those Who Wait

So there I was, back in my home town, vacuuming my dad’s living room carpet and thinking how I really should ask my agent to send my  manuscript for Crusher to a publisher, when the phone rang.  It was my agent, and she already had, and the publisher she’d shown it to – Random House Children’s Books – wanted the book, plus sequels.  I had to sit down for a bit.

It’s official now – in The Bookseller, even – but I still can’t quite believe it.  When I went to meet Random House for the first time I was kind of hoping they wouldn’t find out I had written Crusher in thirty days as part of the NaNoWriMo event (see my blogs from last November.)  However they very sweetly pointed out that if I hadn’t wanted people to know how quickly I’d written the book, I shouldn’t have blogged about it (see my blogs from last November  – they certainly had.)

Of course, they knew it was not quite as simple as that.  The nuts-and-bolts writing may have taken a month but coming up with the characters and the storyline had taken me a lot longer – far too long, in fact, on and off over years.  And I only confessed it to a few of my fellow Nanites, but I had bent the rules, just a bit.  When I took part in NaNoWriMo I had started writing at Chapter Two because I’d written most of Chapter One ages beforehand, then left it aside because I didn’t know what happened next.

It was thanks to NaNoWriMo’s deadline that I had to focus, think hard and figure out what the hell did happen next, and how all the supporting characters came into the story, and what became of them.  I’m not the first NaNoWriMo graduate to get their work published (Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants is perhaps the best-known example) and I’m sure I won’t be the last.   But when I think of how long I pissed about and stared out the window instead of writing the bloody thing…. The moral, dear reader, is the same as it always is – for Christ’s sake stop making excuses and get on with it – because, like the title says, feck-all comes to those who wait.

I am now in that privileged and terrifying position of preparing the Difficult Second Novel, and I’m not staring out the window – I’m doing this.  Which frankly is no improvement… so I’ll just say, thanks to all my family and friends for their good wishes regarding Crusher, and I hope come September you find it was worth the wait.

Absence of Malice

The tens – nay, dozens – of readers who follow this blog may have been wondering about my recent resounding silence.  The fact is that for all of November 2011 I have been taking part in NaNoWriMo, a world-wide organised hysteria where the aim is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month and share the inevitable fear, exhilaration and frustration at the same time as one hundred thousand other people doing the same thing.  Even at its most challenging it is so addictive and engrossing that I feel guilty just writing this note instead of getting back to my text.  But I am learning, and relearning, an awful lot, and some day when it is over I will come back and post some of those lessons here.

For weblinks and word counts, check out the Miscellany pages.