I’ve just taken delivery of a huge consignment of copies of STRANGERS. Pre-orders will be dispatched over the course of the next few days (bear with me… that’s a lot of signing and sending – pre-order volumes have taken me by surprise and I’m very grateful to all those who placed orders).
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I’m the guest on today’s episode of the HORROR WRITER’S PODCAST. Horror authors RICHARD BROWN and BLACK FANG BETRAYAL supremo JAMES THORN are the hosts. You can watch/ listen below (though I’d recommend you switch your monitor off and just listen, because otherwise you’ll be staring at my face for an hour or so…).
Then make sure you come back here early next week. That’s all I’m saying for now.
Happy Halloween. Hope you all have a great weekend!
It’s been several months since I last posted anything in my What Works For Me series of writing tips/ thoughts. There are several very good reasons for that. Most importantly, I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to work out what exactly does work for me.
You’ll probably have seen endless debate online over the last few months about the merits of independent versus traditional publishing, and also about the position/ value of indie authors as highlighted by the ongoing Hachette vs. Amazon debacle.
I started out Indie. I was Indie before most. I’m so old school that I genuinely used to email pdf and Word versions of AUTUMN to interested folks back in the day. I did well from it, and if I hadn’t done what I’d done, I’d probably have never written HATER and it might not have found its way onto the desk of the folks who passed it on to Guillermo del Toro all those years ago… When Thomas Dunne Books of New York made an offer for the publishing rights back in 2007, I didn’t hesitate to accept.
So now we’re another seven years or so down the line, and the marketplace has changed beyond all recognition. Indie authors are in a better place now: more accepted, and with better tools and technologies at their disposal.
THE COST OF LIVING proved to be a turning point for me. I’ve been stunned by the success of my little ebook – it’s sold remarkably well and has opened my eyes to the full potential of independent publishing again. With the recent relaunch/ rebranding of INFECTED BOOKS, I feel like I’ve regained the control you inevitably lose when you publish traditionally, and I’m ready to take full advantage of that.
So, to stop a long story getting any longer, I’ll just say this: for now, although I’m technically what you’d call a Hybrid author, I feel 100% Indie again. So what does this mean? Well, for a start you should watch for another surprise release later this week (you can pre-order it now – I’ll tell you more tomorrow), and then look out for STRANGERS – my brand new, full-length novel, coming from Infected Books in November this year.
Since STRAIGHT TO YOU was released, a lot of people have been asking what’s next. That’s a difficult one to answer, but I thought I should at least try.
I’ve a couple of completed novels in the bag which I’ve told you about previously (STRANGERS and 17 DAYS). As yet no decisions have been made as to when/how they’ll be released. All options remain open, and I’ll let you know as soon as I do. There are a few other things in the pipeline…
I’ve been saying for a while that I’ve had my fill of zombies, infections, apocalyptic pandemics and the like. That’s not strictly true. There’s one story left that I want to tell, and I’m working on it at the moment. I hope to have it finished by April/May this year and released soon after, probably as an ebook-only novella. I also have a number of short stories due in the next few months, and I’ll let you know as and when each of those releases are scheduled.
But the project I think I’m most excited about right now is THE SPACES BETWEEN. It’s a four book horror/science-fiction series set in the near future. If I was to describe the tone of the books, I’d have to say they’re like a head-on collision between QUATERMASS and Stieg Larsson’s MILLENNIUM TRILOGY (well that’s the vibe I’m going for, anyway). I’ve been planning these novels for several years now, but have only recently begun the actual writing process. Here’s a bit of hastily thrown together blurb for TOMMY, the first book in the series:
Nine years ago London was wiped off the map as a result of a catastrophic terrorist attack. Millions of displaced people have since been rehoused in a number of hastily constructed newcities, the largest of which is Elysian Fields, just outside Birmingham.
Parts of Elysian Fields are no-go areas: dangerous, virtually lawless and hopelessly overcrowded. The government and police troops do what they can to maintain order, but it’s increasingly difficult. The residents are on their own.
There are some who still try to help. Greg Dawson is one such person. An old-school social worker, he’s now forced to carry a gun and wear full body armour to work each day. But the job and the people haven’t changed, just the situation, and Dawson’s as dedicated to protecting the vulnerable as he always has been.
When Tommy Huxtable, the five year old son of a powerful party member, is taken, Dawson’s called on to find and recover the child. But the deeper he digs, the more he discovers that nothing is as it seems in Elysian Fields.
You can keep up with my progress with TOMMY and other projects on the ‘Forthcoming Releases‘ page on this site.
I did say at the beginning of 2013 that you probably wouldn’t hear very much from me this year and I was right. Apart from the re-release of AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION, I feel like I’ve hardly put my head above the surface. That’s going to change in 2014. Remember this image I posted in September?
These three manuscripts have taken up most of my year, but I’m pleased to say they’re now finished. STRANGERS has been through the beta-read process and come out the other side (thanks to those who read it and provided feedback), and 17 DAYS is currently with my agent. But it’s STRAIGHT TO YOU that I want to talk about today.
One of the things I’ve been doing since I finished both the HATER and AUTUMN series last year has been revisiting my older work to try and bring it up to scratch. I felt a real need to clear the decks of older material before moving onto anything new. When I signed with Thomas Dunne Books back in 2008, these novels fell through the cracks and I didn’t want them to be forgotten. The rewritten version of TRUST was released in July 2012, and this year saw AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION back in print in a completely revised and newly expanded edition. Now it’s the turn of the final ‘missing book’ – STRAIGHT TO YOU – to get a lick of paint, except on this occasion the changes are more than just cosmetic.
I’m planning several posts about the book over the coming weeks. I’ll tell you about the substantial differences between the old and new versions, why I’ve rewritten the book, the adventures I’ve had with approaches for the film rights, why I’m re-releasing it now and how that’s going to happen, and more besides. But for today, I guess all you need to know is this: the re-written, re-edited and repackaged STRAIGHT TO YOU will be released through Infected Books on 14 February 2014 (yes, I’ve gone for Valentine’s Day… what better date for a heartbreaking apocalyptic romance?). It’ll be available as an ebook and trade paperback.
“The sun is dying. The temperature around the world is rising by the hour with no sign of any respite. It won’t be long before all life on Earth is extinguished. It might be weeks, it might be days… we may only have hours. Society is crumbling. The burning world is rapidly descending into chaos.
Steven Johnson’s wife is hundreds of miles away and all that matters is reaching her before the end. He has to act now, no time to stop and think. Every second is precious. Tomorrow is too late.”
If you’re a fan of the original book, don’t worry. The spirit of the story has definitely been maintained. Even though it’s very nearly twenty years since I began writing the first version of the book and it’s my lowest selling title by some margin, people still regularly stop me to talk about STRAIGHT TO YOU. The story still holds up today, perhaps even more so than back in the late nineties. I don’t mind admitting that I still cried like a baby when I typed the final scenes this time around! I’m looking forward to giving the book the release I think it deserves and bringing it to a much wider audience in early 2014.
Same content really, just given a fresh coat of paint and a better address in readiness for the new books (and more regular updates) which will soon be forthcoming. I thought I’d take this opportunity to let you know how the new novels stand…
Is with a crack team of beta-readers, who are currently beta-reading. I’m nervously awaiting their feedback…
STRAIGHT TO YOU
I’m well into the second draft, and on course to have this new version of my debut novel ready for January 2014 (terrifyingly, that’ll be twenty years since I started work on the original book).
Revamped, revitalised, and ready to start rewriting. The target is to have the book finished by the end of October.
I always find it difficult to keep this site updated over the summer. I have a large family, and with the kids on holiday from school and university, finding time to work becomes frustratingly hard. Writing has to take precedence, so the website and Facebook, Twitter etc. inevitably suffer. The girls are all just about back studying now, so expect to hear from me more regularly again.
One final thing for now… the AUTUMN: AFTERMATH hardcover I mentioned in my last post. If you’re at all interested in getting hold of a copy of this, please let me know by filling in this short form so I can assess numbers. See this earlier blog post for more information. If you could do it by this time next week I’d be hugely grateful. I’ll level with you – it’s touch and go as to whether the book’s viable with the numbers I’ve got so far.
Thanks as always for sticking with me. Please keep doing so. Some good stuff on its way very soon…!
I thought it was time for a quick update to bring you up to speed with a few projects I’m working on now that AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION is done and dusted. You should know me well enough by now… everything here is subject to change and nothing’s set in stone. The first part of this update will give you an indication of why that’s true.
The Ups and Downs and Ups of Writing. Weird name for a post, I guess, but I think it’s quite apt. You see, I reckon this is one of the best jobs in the world. In fact, I love it so much it feels wrong to call it a job… most of the time. Things don’t always go to plan.
You’ll probably remember me posting about this novel earlier this year – round about the time I’d put the finishing touches to it and sent it to my agent to hear his thoughts. Well, those thoughts came back, and after another couple of reads, I added a few thoughts of my own too.
The book’s not right. It needs more work. The themes are there, the story is there, but it’s not quite working. There are a couple of reasons why which I won’t go into in detail here because they wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense out of context. Suffice to say I’d made a huge character misstep along the way, and had also misjudged the tone of parts of the book.
Up. Down. Up. I was on a high when I delivered the manuscript, followed by a crushing low when I realised it hadn’t hit the mark. But now, with the benefit of discussion with my agent and a couple more months thinking about the story, I know exactly what I need to do. Up. Down. Up. Strangely enough, I’ve done this once before. The exact same thing happened when I was writing DOG BLOOD, and that turned out okay…
I remain insanely excited about 17 DAYS, more so than ever in fact, but the rework is inevitably having a knock-on effect on other projects as I’ll be giving it priority over the coming months.
I’m about 40,000 words into the third and (hopefully) final draft of this book, and hope to have it done by the end of July. I’ll then start thinking about how best to release it. Expect to hear more about STRANGERS – the closest I’ll probably ever get to a vampire novel – later this year.
STRAIGHT TO YOU
Is going really well… first draft is done, ready to start work on the second. I’d previously talked about serialising the second draft online from this month as the book was being written, but I’m putting that on hold temporarily for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because I need to work something into the second draft which I don’t want to do ‘live’, so to speak. Secondly, because the additional work on 17 DAYS means STY won’t be touched again for a while. At the moment, if I can get some work done on the second draft of the book over the summer, I’d hope to serialise the third draft online as I’m writing it from September/October onwards. I’ll tell you more about this completely new version of my debut novel in the coming weeks to whet your appetite. Incidentally, I started writing the original book on 1st January 1994 – I want to properly release the new edition in January 2014 to mark its twentieth anniversary. Bloody hell, twenty years. Now that makes me feel really old…
More news soon.
An odd title for a post, but I think it’ll make sense in the end. Bear with me. And bear with me also because this is likely to be a longer and more personal ramble than usual (though there’ll be a book-related announcement later, so it’s worth sticking with me to the bitter end).
I’ve been relatively quiet (for me) recently, and I’ve already explained why – I’m working on a number of different projects which I hope will see the light of day over the next year or so. I talked about a few of them recently.
When you’re not spending as much time online talking to people as you’d like, it’s easy to lose a little focus and to start to doubt anyone is still listening. I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about my career – how far I’ve come, how far I want to go, and how I intend on getting there. There’s no great plan or roadmap and there never has been. I just do what feels right at the time, and I hope people like it. It’s those people I want to talk about today. As you’re reading this, that means you!
A few weekends back I had a couple of great experiences which helped put a lot of things in perspective. The first took place over three nights in Wolverhampton. If I mention the band Marillion, I generally expect one of two usual reactions: many folk in the UK usually say ‘ah yes, Kayleigh!’, and many folk outside the UK usually say ‘What? Who?’
For those who don’t know, Marillion are a unique band who, for more than twenty-five years, have produced some exceptional music. I got into them in the early 1990’s and have slavishly lapped up every release as well as seeing them live almost thirty times. They might not be to your tastes, but give them a whirl. You can take a crash course here (click here if the widget below’s not working or, if you’re new to the band, visit this page and get a free CD sent your way):
But you’re here to read about my books and films etc. So why am I telling you about my musical tastes? Click the link and I’ll explain (and don’t forget that book announcement…)
Yes, I’m still here and still alive. It’s been a couple of weeks so I thought I should update you and let you know what I’ve been up to (to prove I’ve actually been working). So here we go:
I’m 15,000 words into the second draft of this brand new novel. A spate of brutal murders occur in and around a small town. The bodies of the dead – savagely mutilated, defiled – are piling up with terrifying rapidity. There’s no apparent motive, and no obvious connection between the killings, but they all started when Scott Griffiths and his family arrived in town…
AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION
Is written and edited, and is currently being formatted before going to print. The cover art (which is spectacular – I’ve added a glimpse below) and full ordering details should be announced next week. This book has become a labour of love. It’s a fitting end to the AUTUMN series and I’m insanely proud of all 150,000+ words of it.
The UK hardcover being produced in conjunction with Gollancz has been delayed. Sincere apologies. I’ll provide a further update as soon as I know more.
The book’s finished, but we’re still discussing what to do with it. More news as soon as I have it.
We’ve a meeting arranged for next week to get ISOLATION moving towards the screen, and an update will follow in due course.
Watch this space for some cracking summer events in Coventry, Cardiff and Avilés, Spain which will be announced next week.
PREVIOUSLY UNANNOUNCED FREE ONLINE SERIALISED NOVEL…
…will be kicking off in early July. Again, more details coming very soon.
Have a good weekend!