Tag Archives: psychological thrillers

NEW Diary of a hopeful author: How I got to my three-book publishing deal

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…

Photo of a Diary

Previously, I had never believed that the phrase ‘a dream come true’ was real. I mean, look at it. It uses the word ’dream’, and dream implies unreal, made-up, in your head. Bottom line: it may never happen.

And so, my friends, to the present day. Mad busy has this year been that I have had to, with hanging head, take a time out from my Wednesday Waffling blog. But the reason – oh the reason – has been a mighty good one, a reason so fantastic, so unbelievable that even now I don’t believe it myself. I’d kick me, but that would hurt.

The reason is this: I have a 3-book publishing deal. And not just one deal, but multiple deals, around the world – digital, paperback, hard back, audio, the lot, from different publishing houses spanning from Random House in Germany to Harlequin Mira in the UK. I have met with editors and sales teams and TV execs and it has been a ball. Yet all the time, all the while as I meet and talk and compute, the same thing goes round and round my head like ticker tape: it’s like a dream.

See, thing is, I’ve been working hard at writing for a heck of a long time now. Years. And I’ve tried everything. Radio sketches, TV sitcoms, plays, short stories, novels. I’ve got my head down and tried it all because you never know. You never know what might just work if you give it a shot, and if it doesn’t go your way? Then at least you got a whole heap of writing practice in.

Recent years have thrown me a few hoop shots: a festival story award, short listed for The Guardian newspaper travel writing competition, long listed for a BBC talent scheme. But each time, I didn’t quite make it, didn’t quite get to the top of the mountain, so to speak. And boy were there times when I just wanted to give up, to chuck it all in, to shout at it and shut the door, walk away, never come back. But I didn’t. I didn’t because I love writing and I knew, I knew somewhere in the deep sticky recess of my head that it would all work out, that if I just kept going one more time, it would all work out.

I stuck with it, did my research, taught myself what makes a good novel, how it’s constructed, how the market works, what sells, what agents want, what readers want to read. And I combined that with my stubborn, heels in the dirt attitude of not giving up. There is a saying that went through my head the whole time: when others give up, we give more. It’s actually an SAS phrase, not that I am in the SAS, although, to be fair, I’d love to give it a go. Just without the guns.

So, the book, the first in a trilogy is coming out in Spring/Summer 2015. It’s called The Spider in the Corner of the Room. It’s a psychological conspiracy thriller, or psycon (I just made that phrase up…). It will be out all over UK & commonwealth, Europe, Taiwan/China, audio in the USA so far, and hopefully, as things are looking, in a whole heap more territories. And the great new is, NBC Universal have optioned the trilogy for a major international TV series (there’s a couple of links below about it all).

I guess, when I look back, when I think of when I started this blog and why – i.e. to document my messy, pot-hole ridden journey at trying to make it as an author – I never really let myself imagine that it would actually happen. I love literature festivals, for example, but never let myself go to Hay-on-Wye festival, telling myself that I only wanted to go there as a published author. And where am I now going in May 2015? Hay Literature Festival. As a published author. Hoozah. I’ll be talking at other festivals too – Harrogate Crime Fest, Cheltenham Lit Fest, ones I have attended myself as a reader. And now I’ll be there – as an author. Surreal.

So, thanks for following this blog, for reading my dirt-ridden ups and downs over the past two years. It’s been really hard, I’ve put in so many hours, made so many sacrifices, but it’s worth it. Worth every single second. Because being a published author has always been my dream. And now it’s come true.

Click on the links to The Bookseller (here) and my agents, PFD (here) to read what they’ve said about The Spider in the Corner of the Room…

Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**

Diary of a hopeful author: What makes a good psychological thriller?

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

This week I am knee deep in plotting.  Following an edit meeting last week, my task now is to re-analyse my thriller novel and pick it apart, spot any plot holes, tie them back up.

I tell you what, this is a huge shocker. Seriously, I have had my plot pulled apart and picked so much that I feel like I’ve been spun round with a blindfold on then told to walk.

But no fear! Because – and I do mean this – it is all good. Yes, being asked questions about your plot is a right old tester, but without it, without questioning every single element of your story, you cannot get it to the very best it can be. And then it is bye-bye publishing deal.

All this editing has also meant re-visiting the main thesis and threads of my book. This is vital because the function of the plot is to communicate the thesis (theme). The thesis is like glue – without it, nothing sticks. So I have been today reminding myself what it’s trying to say in my novel and what I wanted it to be way back in the very first place. And all this has to be thought through in the context of the genre of the book. And breathe.

So, with all this in mind, I have for you this week a question. And it is this: What makes a good psychological thriller?

Below is a link from Wikipedia on this genre – see if it stacks up. What have you read that’s good and not so good? And what made it that way? Class – discuss. It will mess with your head.

Read the Wikipedia link here

**Coming soon: Interview with PFD’s Adam Gauntlett on submitting to agents**

Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog. This week I’m talking about  the Severn Barrage in Gloucestershire…**

Diary of a hopeful author: I’ve only gone & finished my novel

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

Oh my days, I am excited. And it is not because we go on holiday in THREE WEEKS, although, to be fair, that is up there with the best of them. Nah, the news I bring you this week, after a couple of months of re-blogging old posts on a Wednesday because I have had my head down busy editing, is this: I have finished my novel. I will repeat that because it sounds soooo good: I have FINISHED my novel.

Yessury, after one whole year of researching, planning, developing outlines, creating a synopsis and eating my body weight in chocolate, my novel is now not only written, but edited – four times. I now have 74k words of, what I hope, is a cracking psychological thriller, the first in an instalment of three. Draft one of book one was 90k words, meaning that the four editing phases I have completed have culled nearly 20k words. Holy mother.

Next up now is to get it sent off to agents and then, go for it. I’ll post back next week on, what I think, are the dos and don’t of contacting agents on this one, so that’ll be one to watch out for. Until then, I am going to rest my fingers for one night and maybe not get up at 5am tomorrow. Just 6 am instead.

So, if you’re writing a book, or have an idea for one, all I can say is this: do it. Don’t give up, keep going, because when you finish it, when you know you’ve done the best you can, it doesn’t half feel good. And then you open the laptop and start book number two from scratch.

Writing a novel? How do you keep going? Still in the middle of writing or just finished yourself? Let me know.

Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**