Sunday, 17 July 2011

Two fine gentlemen

Wouldn't it just be so much cooler if we could wear stuff like this rather than jeans and teeshirts?
These are soldiers of the Horse Artillery from the Peninsula Wars as anyone familiar with Sharpe would know.
That's back in the days when men were men, women were women and food had no additives. Yes, the week before last.
We're all just back from the Festival of History in sunny (and fequently rainy) Kelmarsh. If you're remotely interested in British military history it's seriously the place to go. Starting off with the Imperial Romans there were displays and battles galore from Normans, Crusaders (I'm sooo Team Saladin), Napoleonics, War of the Roses (and Team Richard III), tent-pegging from Prince Malik's Lancers (cannot believe the speed these guys galloped and hit their targets) WW1 and WW2. The WW2 re-enactment included an aireal dogfight and a few victory roles from the legendary Spitfire, honestly I had a lump in my throat. Awesome and incredibly moving.
Which neatly brings me to my birthday present. I'd really, really like a suit of armour please. Or a Spitfire.
Which also brings me to outline my action list, so you and my editors don't think I'm just sitting at home watching the Wire. Which I am, but that's research.
1. Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress is DONE. I've seen the draft of the UK cover, it's violent, gloriously so, and (IMHO) will offer those in search for kick-ass action a whole new standard of inappropriate behaviour.
2. Ash #2 is almost done. We're still in Draft 1 territory so a lot of work still ahead, but hey, moving forward. Plan to have that wrapped up by September, then let it stew for a few months before hitting the second draft. That should got off to the publishers end of the year.
3. NEW novel. I'm a big fan of historical fiction and what to give that a go. There's two projects, one joint with a very cool writer friend of mine where we'll be delving into a period right after the Norman invasions and a second, lone project which will be about mid-nineteeth century Punjabi politics, which, I'm sure you'll agree, the world is in desperate need of. Not a week goes by when I'm asked by some fan or editor, "Sarwat, we're in desperate need of a book about mid-nineteenth century Punjabi politics, they're the next big thing after vampires and dystopia and (insert trend of your choice)!"
4. NO Billi SanGreal book. At least not for now. There may be some interesting Billi news sometime soon though. Stay tuned.

So, remember. Mid-nineteenth century Punjabi political novels. They're the next big thing and you heard it here first.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

My agent, Sarah Davies

Now as much as I'd like to to claim my literary success is all down to ME, ME, ME!!! I'm afraid that would be a bloody, big, fat LIE!
So, let's discuss the woman behind me getting a few books on the shelves, Sarah Davies (strips on the left, the one in leopard print is Julia, her right hand woman).
Sarah and I met through a writing competition (Undiscovered Voices). She was one of the judges and I one of the fortunate winners. That was back in the day when 'Devil's Kiss' was still called 'God's Killer'. We met and chatted and soon after I joined Greenhouse Literary Agency. At that point the Greenhouse comprised me and Sarah and her dog.
Sarah took my manuscript by the throat and tore it apart, pointing out a looong series of swordfights do not a novel make. Now, Sarah knew what she was doing. Before she was an agent she'd worked long and hard as a publisher and her editing skills remain second to none. She will make your book better, much much better.
She'll be blunt when she needs to be, comforting those moments when you wonder why on earth you decided to choose this career over, say, being a bomb disposal expert. She's be the first with the good news (you have a book deal!) and first with the whip (rewrite it until it SHINES!) and pretty much everything in between.
She will make you walk the hard road but will walk it with you.
Though it's my name on the cover the books I've written have a large amount of Sarah's DNA entwined into every page. I kinda feel bad it is only my name but hey, I'm needy.