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The Launch Pad

Saturday, November 23, 2013 - 17:37
Much as I hate round robins, or anything resembling the celebration of good news, I can’t resist a reflection or two on the launch of Touching Distance, a week rich in laughter, sales, and the glad company of strangers. Monday took me to a pub on the outskirts of Sidmouth for the weekly meeting of the Sid Valley Rotary Club.  These guys come from various corners of deepest East Devon, have busy busy lives, yet still find the time to put their collective energies at the service of the community.  Last weekend saw them mount a successful picket of the local branch of...

Cheating Pneumonia

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 17:51
You couldn’t invent last night.  The second gig in a super-busy launch week (Touching Distance…coming to a book shop near you) took me to Taunton School, an hour down the motorway.  This turned out to be the chilly climax of a couple of weeks of events that grace the Taunton Literary Festival, brainchild of indomitable independent bookseller Lionel Ward. Already, by the time I hit the motorway, the signs weren’t good: creamy full moon in a cloudless sky, gritter warnings on the overhead gantries, plus an alarming two degrees C registering on the...

The Perfect Christmas Pressie

Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 17:40
They say that luck runs in families.  I’m not sure about that except that we’re blessed with three exceptional boys, now men, all of whom have saved up the real surprises for their mid-life years.  Woodie has abandoned the comforts of Western capitalism for a berth in Bangkok.  He has a seventeenth floor view of the city, an empty pool to keep him fit, rock-bottom rent, and a delightful Thai girlfriend.  After longish spells in the UK and Sydney, this finally feels like real life. Jack has weathered nearly a decade at the sharpest end of mental health...

Book Launch Invite

Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 11:22
 Shipping my fictional detective, D/S Jimmy Suttle, to the West Country was never going to be easy.  As a callow Detective Constable, new to CID, he’d survived seven busy years on the Portsmouth Major Crime Team, learning his craft at the feet of the legendary D/C Paul Winter.  After the excitements of trying to nail big city villains, how would my hero respond to sleepy Devon? My publishers, Orion, asked exactly the same question.  Mention of the West Country left them deeply unimpressed.  Cutting-edge crime fiction, they pointed out, was getting darker,...

Serendipity

Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 10:41
  The Gods of Opportunity rarely come calling twice in one week (see Monday’s post) but here’s another slice of luck. Research on Book Three is progressing well.  The plot centres on three generations of a massively dysfunctional family sharing a huge Victorian pile by the river Exe in a picture-postcard village called Topsham.  84 year old Rupert Moncrieff is the brooding presence at the top of the tottering pile of misfits, alcoholics, divorcees, and the serially disappointed.  Moncrieff is very rich, very mean and very manipulative.  On page...

Masterread????

Monday, October 7, 2013 - 13:28
    There have always been two key challenges for the aspiring writer:  getting yourself published and then keeping your readers (and hence your publisher) happy enough to warrant more books.  In times gone by I always thought the former mountain would be the hardest to climb but after more than thirty published titles it’s beginning to dawn on me that keeping your work out there isn’t quite as simple a proposition as I once imagined.  Forget getting to the summit.  Just staying on the hill is becoming a serious ask. Why?  Partly...

Quay News Reveals All

Monday, July 1, 2013 - 18:06
Graham Hurley’s motivation for basing hislatest crime story on Regatta Court beenrevealed in an exclusive in the Quay Digest.These last few years, he has shared countlessoffshore and upriver expeditions witha bunch of like-minded veterans from theExmouth Rowing Club. He also happensto write crime thrillers for a living. Andone ill-judged morning a couple of yearsback, these two passions of his – scribingand oaring – collided head-on with consequencesnow available at Best Books on The Parade.In retrospect, Graham said “we should never havelaunched. A four metre tide was...

Survival By Numbers

Sunday, June 16, 2013 - 15:09
     Making any kind of living as a novelist is rapidly becoming a real challenge.  Once upon a time, if you were lucky enough to be in print, you could pretty much rely on the publisher to do the heavy promotional lifting for you.  Your precious tome got a decent launch party, armies of reviewers – giddy on free Moet -  reached for their pens, and hey presto off you went.  If sales figures responded to this tide of free publicity, the marketing honchos would pile in and conjure all kinds of magic to hoist you into the Top Ten.  One bright...

What Next?

Friday, June 14, 2013 - 09:41
          Where do books come from?  Here’s a clue or two.  We’d been away for a while, travelling in China and South East Asia.  It had been a longish trip, long enough to tackle re-entry with your mind wiped clean of the UK we take for granted.  Shanghai, Hong Kong,  Hanoi,  Ho Chi Minh City,  Phnom Penh, and innumerable points in between had given us a new perspective on what it is to be, or maybe to feel, English.  Then, after the usual drowsy surfacing from jet lag, we were back in a landscape that felt...

Talking to the Converted

Friday, January 11, 2013 - 11:10
 Really nice event on Tuesday at the University of Winchester,  where I talked about Adventures in the Wrtiting Biz to the monthly meeting of the Hampshire Writers' Society.  Good turnout of practitioners and an extremely warm reception to what I had to say. Also on the platform was Hampshire Poet,  Brian Evans-Jones,  who penned this blog the following day.  I spent an enjoyable and thought-provoking evening last night at the Hampshire Writers’ Society. I was invited as the warm-up act, giving a brief plug for the Writing Hampshire project,...

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