Monday, 31 August 2009

ooh, Shiny!

Well, the US edition is out, like, by the time you read this. Disney Hyperion have done a fabulous new website with many, many opportunities to win copies of the new edition with its glamourous cover (which will look very cool next to the blood red cross of the UK version, don't you think?). Do check it out immediately! I did want to do the presentation dressed up as a knight, or Batman, but alas, it was all a bit too short notice.
I've had so much amazing support in getting to this new stage of my career, and whilst there's something very special about the first time you see your ms as a book, thanks to Puffin, the US part of the business is pretty awesome.
I'm due back to the Land of the Free on the 27th September until the 4th October. I know I'm in Texas on the Monday, at Kingwood High School, but not much else. I had a great time visiting in May for the BEA (and a big HI THERE to the Immigration bods at the airport, boy did I get a lot of mileage out of that incident) and looking forward to a bit of a whirlwind tour in a few weeks. I'll put up the details as I get them, if I happen to be in your neighbourhood, do pop by and say howdy. I am extremely excited about this trip, it should be a good one. My only question is can I get my Templar Sword through customs?
So, in no particular order I'd like to thank Ari, Jonathan, Deborah, Donna and the rest of the crew at Disney Hyperion, past and present. Cheers and see you guys in a couple of weeks.
Oh, Ari, thanks so much for all the Elephant and Piggie books. Insane!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Why the Knights Templar are cool

Just finished reading this book and would throughly recommend it to anyone who:
1. Loves historical fiction.
2. Loves stories about the Knights Templar.
3. Loves stories set in 12th Century Sweden.
4. Loves stories.
It is my firmly held belief that any story can be improved by adding Templars. I know mine certainly was.
I've got book 2, The Templar Knight, right here beside me and will start it tonight.
There's a few things I wanted to discuss, the main one being today is MY FIRST YEAR ANNIVERSARY of being a full time writer. In fact if you look through the blogs of last year you'll find my 15th August entry, which was my last day at the 'day job'.
Frankly it's been better than I could have hoped. The main thing is how old anxieties are merely replaced with new ones. I think though this is more my baggage than any major realization about the job of writing. It all boils down to feeling I'm one very, very, lucky chap in being a full time writer and even now I still can't quite believe it, in fact, I believe it even less and there's a niggling feeling that someone's suddenly going to realise I'm still an engineer and not a writer at all (since my only qualification is an English Language 'O' level from 1983. Which was, interestingly, a ninja story, not a Templar one at all. The title was called 'Dressed to kill' and basically involved a ninja and James Bond having a big fight ending with JB throwing the ninja out of a window then, as he leaned out, stabbing himself on a poisoned spike the ninja had left on the window sill.). All I can say is that it's mainly down to writing lots. Courses and qualifications probably do help, but not as much as just writing and writing and writing. About Templars. Or ninjas.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Summer Reading and preparations for the Fall

The builders are in and the blogging's going to be fairly haphazard for the next few weeks, so time to discuss what being read on the beaches this summer. Here's my list, feel free to add yours too.
Firstly, THE MASTER AND MARGARITA by Bulgakov. It's a Russian cult classic and it's all about what happens when the Devil comes to Moscow. Macabre and satirical. Reading this almost made me rewrite The Dark Goddess from scratch.
HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins. Like, absolutely everyone is reading this and I held back until I knew the sequel was imminent. It's kind of Battle Royale/Running Man but so much more. Little kids fighting it out to the death. What's not to like? It's the future of Reality TV.
The PERCY JACKSON series by Rick Riordan. Greek myths were my first love and he's put a great spin on the demi-god conceit. I'm almost finished with Titan's Curse.
GLADIATOR by Simon Scarrow. Fights. Roman legions and a bloody huge tidal wave in Chapter 1. I must admit though, I so prefer Macro to Cato, who, IMHO, is a bit of a smart-arse.
Just picked up DEAD UNTIL DARK by Charlaine Harris. It's the basis of the True Blood tv series. Hmm. Vampires. Okay, I love vampires and have written about this before. And will write some more when I finish it.
Visted my local friendly Waterstones and was well-chuffed to see MY BOOK on their 3 for 2 offers. So if you are wondering about that Christmas present to Gran/Uncle Bob/Little Mary Jane or whoever, now's your chance to stock up on many copies!
The US publication date approaches (1st Sept) and that's all very exciting. It's likely that I'll be over in the US later in September, care of the wonderful people at Hyperion. Details will come up as soon as I know and if I happen to be in your neighbourhood, do pop by and say hello! Or howdy, partner.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Summer Holidays and REWRITES.

Well some people accuse me of being on holiday all the time (yes, Mrs. Chadda, that means you) not realising me lying eyes closed on the sofa is 'plotting'. When I'm doing that and snoring it's called 'deep plotting'.
School's out and we've just spent the last week in sunny Southwold. Beach-huts, freezing North Sea dips and a very, very nice fish and chip shop.
Trying to squeeze in the rewrite as we proceed and it's a fairly major shake up, not a little polish.
1- Does it make sense? First drafts are your chance to throw in all those wild and wacky ideas and not worrying quite how it all lands. That's what you need to fix on the re-write.
2- Character motivations. That's part of 1, actually, but so important it should have it's own section. Make sure the characters act in accordance to their nature. We must understand their motivations wrt to everything they do, even if they don't.
3- Get you facts right. The Moscow trip was all part and parcel of that. Locations, descriptions, history, all of that. Translations. I've Russian characters. They speak Russian. Could be tricky.
4- Seemless exposition. Not big clunks of text you've copied from Wikipedia, okay?
5- Is it consistent with the first book? Hey, it's been so long I'd forgotten who was dead, disabled and basically where I left everyone at the end of Devil's Kiss. It's the minor secondary characters you tend to forget. Don't.
I'm sure there's more stuff but that's what's concerning me right now. Aim is to try and get it finished by end of August.
Other news...
DEVIL'S KISS comes out in the US in a few weeks. A free copy or two might be available soon, competition-wise. Hmm, the wrap around cover. I love it.
DARK GODDESS front cover has appeared! I can't wait to show you this one, but it's a work in progress, there're issues regarding the sword design and such. But Puffin have done their usually awesome job. I've been very blessed by some seriously cool covers, IMHO.
Summer reading so far- PERCY JACKSON ATSOM, OUTLAW (Robin Hood story from Alan Dale's POV), SHARPE'S TRIUMPH, and HUNGER GAMES. All extremely good and HG is as good as everyone says it is. Learning from the masters.