Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Pre-Frankfurt, Frankfurt and Other Book News

With the Frankfurt Bookfair starting today there has already been lots of bookish news emerging with pre-emptive book deals already taking place.

According to the Bookseller, Simon and Schuster won the auction for the UK and Commonwealth rights to a psychological drama by former Guardian journalist Sarah Vaughan.  Anatomy of a Scandal will be published in January 2018.

Michael Joseph won the auction rights to a new debut thriller by C J Tudor called The Chalk Man.  The book is due to be published in hardback on 11th January 2018 and according to publishing director Maxine Hitchcock in the Bookseller it has all the ingredients to become one of the great contemporary thrillers.

HarperCollins UK and Harper Collins US (William Morrow) have snapped up the rights to the debut psychological novel The Woman in the Window.  Written by William Morrow’s own vice president and executive editor Daniel Mallory it was submitted under the pseudonym A J Finn.  The film rights have already been sold to Fox 2000.

According to the Bookseller, Corvus are to publish Troll a psychological thriller by David Thorne as part of a three book deal.

If you have not heard the news already then according to the Guardian Irvine Welsh’s 2009 novel Crime is being adapted for the television. Crime is about a detective inspector who has fled to Miami following a mental breakdown. In Florida, a coke-fuelled binge brings him into contact with 10-year-old Tianna, a victim of a sex crime, which brings back memories of a harrowing child-sex murder case back in Edinburgh.

Un-agented author T A Cotterell’s debut novel has been acquired by Transworld.  What Alice Knew, will according to the Bookseller be published on 20th April 2017.

The Seven Lives of Evelyn Hardcastle a debut novel by Stuart Turton has been sold to Bloomsbury. According to Harry Illingworth of DHH Literary Agency in the Bookseller, The Seven Lives of Evelyn Hardcastle has been described as Gosford Park meets Groundhog Day, by way of Agatha Christie.
Julia Wisdom has according to Booktrade info acquired two more thrillers from best-selling Swedish writer Lars Kepler. Both thrillers will feature Joona Linna, the maverick detective first introduced in the Sunday Times Bestseller The Hypnotist.
According to World Screen Laurence Bowen’s newly formed indie company has acquired the rights to adapt the novels of bestselling author Alastair Maclean. Maclean’s best known novels include The Guns of Navarone, Ice Station Zebra and Where Eagles Dare.  The first novel to be turned into a four or six part event mini-series will be San Andreas.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Agnes Ravatn on How I Accidentally Wrote a Psychological Thriller

I was stuck. I had been working on my second novel for more than a year, but there was no progress. I did not know where my story was going, who the characters were, and every time I sat down in front of my computer to find out, I ended up on Facebook, or doing fake research for hours … or just watching movies. 

I told myself I was having really bad writer’s block, but deep down I knew very well that I just was a lazy, procrastinating Internet addict with no self-control. 

One day, I had had enough. It was a Friday in November, in the middle of the day. I had got no work done all week, and it felt like my life was over even before it had started. On impulse, I suddenly deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts, poured down two large glasses of red wine, and called my mum and asked her if I could borrow my parent’s cabin for a couple of days. Two days later, I was on the plane. I had brought warm clothes, all my best pens, and lots of paper, while my computer was left back home in Oslo. 

I arrived the cabin in the middle of the day, made coffee, and continued working on my humorous novel about Allis who almost by mistake takes a job as a gardener without knowing anything about gardening. After a couple of hours, I left the desk and went to the bathroom: the toilet was full of large spiders! I left the bathroom in horror, only to find out that while I was working, it had become completely dark outside. I could see people hiding behind the trees outside, looking in on me. I sat down, continued writing, then birds started screeching, owls hooting.

When it was time for bed, I was paralysed, too scared to cross the floor and go into the bedroom, afraid of what could be hiding in there, while all the time telling myself how silly it was to be thirty years old and afraid of the dark.  I finally got to bed, and had constant nightmares. I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night, hearing a symphony orchestra playing outside, in the middle of the forest. I froze, until I realised it was just the sound of the river, right outside my door.

I stayed in that cabin for three weeks, alone and afraid, and when I finally returned home, I brought with me the first draft of a chilling, claustrophobic thriller. 

The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn is out now and is published by Orenda Books (£8.99)

Two people in exile. Two secrets. As the past tightens its grip, there may be no escape…  TV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves her partner and her job to take voluntary exile in a remote house on an isolated fjord. But her new job as housekeeper and gardener is not all that it seems, and her silent, surly employer, 44- year-old Sigurd Bagge, is not the old man she expected. As they await the return of his wife from her travels, their silent, uneasy encounters develop into a chilling, obsessive relationship, and it becomes clear that atonement for past sins may not be enough…

Monday, 17 October 2016

R.I.P. Ed Gorman

News coming in today that writer, editor, mentor Ed Gorman passed away on Friday October 14, 2016 after succumbing to his long battle against cancer.

There are a lot of tributes on the internet to Ed and I am adding my own here.

I knew Ed for many years, back to when he was the editor of Mystery Scene and gave me a column reporting on the crime scene in the UK.  It Marty Greenberg and Ed who gave me my first break in the short story market when he contacted me one day and asked if I had a typical English mystery short story to hand. I hadn't but asked when he wanted it by. "Yesterday", he said. And I wrote my first commissioned short story BUBASTIS for A Treasury of Cat Mysteries (Carroll & Graf ed edition February 1998). Ed liked it and came back for more, this time sample chapters from my first western, McKinney's Revenge and included it in the anthology The Fatal Frontier. Over the years Ed would be in touch for more stories and I was only too happy to write them.

Ed was a wonderful and generous man, and had a superb sense of humour. When he found out that Piccadilly Publishing had started up he wrote me and said, "I can see you now with the world at your feet and a bubbly blonde on your lap."

Ed wrote in every genre under the sun. Westerns, mysteries, science fiction - you name it.
From the Rap Sheet:

Gorman himself wasn’t sure how many novels he’d penned—somewhere between 70 and 100, but the online resource Stop, You’re Killing Me! offers this listing of his book credits. The Thrilling Detective Web Site’s record of his work features Gorman’s numerous short stories. Meanwhile, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) says three of his yarns were adapted to film.

Ed had a favourite saying: "Don't let the buggers grind you down."  He wouldn't let them do that to him. He's going to be missed by a lot of people. Farewell, my friend.


Saturday, 15 October 2016

Michael J Malone – Getting to THE END

Lots of people start writing a novel. Lots of people don’t get very far writing a novel. Lots of people run out of enthusiasm for the idea, and get stuck into something else.  The people that struggle to finish might ask me, how do you maintain the effort required to get to those two little words: The End?

A Suitable Lie will be my seventh published book, it was the second to be written – and I have written a further 3, so experience tells me that when I am stuck – and believe me it happens each and every time - I will manage to get all the way to those two little words.

I compare it to when I go swimming. As a part of my (off and on) fitness regime I swim a mile now and again. The first 20 lengths of the pool are the WORST. I’m all heavy-limbs and aching joints and an internal moan that goes –  "whyareyoudoingthisthisissfeckingawfulstopnow"Then because experience tells me I can go the distance, I get through the energy slump, get into a rhythm and before you know it the last touchdown is looming.

When writing a novel, there is always a slump. I’m a pantser – I’ve set the characters in play, the story is unravelling – and then I hit a wall. It happens with each and every book and the line, “Where the hell am I going to go now?” plays on an endless loop in my head.

How do I get past that? I keep on writing. It often feels like wading through mental treacle but just like my sessions in the pool, experience tells me I am capable of finishing. That experience allows me to trust that my sub-conscious (or as Stephen King calls it – the boys on the boiler room) is working on a solution. I keep at it. I keep showing up at the coal-face and then, one day, it all falls into place like a grand DAH-DAH! (I swear the sun always comes out and the birds set up an orchestral movement right at this very moment.)

If you aren’t in that position yet (and you don’t swim), I will say that if you are serious about writing, try to develop a mindset of persistence. As a famous man once said, success is the constancy of purpose. Get your bum on the chair – your fingers on the keys – and get on a regular programme of writing activity, because that work of art/ piece of crap/ work of genius/ wouldn’t wipe my backside with this nonsense – and yes, that’s how my brain considers each of my novels during the writing process -  isn’t going to write itself.

If like me you are a pantser, and you get to The Slump – or as one of my favourite authors, Lin Anderson calls it, The Muddle in the Middle - trust in your characters, the world you’re creating and your story, keep coming back to them – even if it’s only 250 words at a time - because that’s where you’ll find the answers.

Or just give yourself a break and get a few lengths in.

A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone is out now published by Orenda Books (£8.99)
Some secrets should never be kept…
Andy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive. Widowed with a young child, after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love. Then he meets Anna. Feisty, fun and beautiful, she’s his perfect match … and she loves his son like he is her own. When Andy ends up in the hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. Desperate for that happy-ever-after, he ignores it. A dangerous mistake that could cost him everything.