May the Fourth be strong with you all. Yes, you’ve noticed, it’s May the 4th and yesterday was the end of the fourth year of my writing career. (By trawling back through the hundreds of posts I’ve written since 4th May 2008, you’ll see that, not only do I mark the date each year, but I do it with the same execrable pun.) So happy New Year and may 5 treat you all well.
Usually, on this occasion, I ramble on about all my writing achievements in the previous year but I won’t bore you with that this time. Oh well, maybe just a couple of things. I know you’ll indulge me. The year was dominated by two remarkable things.
The first was that my novel TimeSplash had some exciting and unexpected interest. I had an audiobook edition published by the wonderful people at Iambik Audiobooks. (As you know, it’s read by the fabulous Emma Newman, so if you didn’t buy a copy last year, make it your New Year’s resolution to do so soon. It’s a terrific reading.) A new ebook edition also went nuts on Amazon and was number 1 in sci-fi for a short while, and number 1 in technothrillers for ages (about 10 weeks – but it felt like ages). For a book that was published over two years ago and has never had any publicity, I was amazed and delighted by all this renewed activity.
The other remarkable thing was that my lovely agent, Ineke, has been waving my books under various noses and generating some interest and excitement at one of the Big Six publishers. Of course, excitement at a major publishing house runs at a very different rate to excitement in, say, a near-future sci-fi thriller, and what might occupy a few pages in one of my novels has taken endless, stupefying months. The tension (let me tell you) is no less than you’d find in the best psychological thriller (for me, anyway) it’s just the timescale that’s different. Anyway, my bones are deforming from having had everything crossed for so long. It’s nice to have the interest though. Oh yes.
Speaking of Big Six publishers and the writers retreat I credit with starting my career back in May 2008, one of the people imparting wisdom to us bright young things at that event was an editor called Deonie Fiford who was part of Hachette’s Orbit imprint at the time. Well, guess who’s just turned up as the new Associate Publisher at HarperCollins Voyager, replacing the outgoing and much admired Stephanie Smith? Is it a small world, or what?
And next year?
Well, 9 hours into 5 GWC, it looks much like 4 GWC. And that’s a good thing because 4 was a good year. I envisage at least a few more months waiting for a decision at Big 6 Co., then, most likely, on to Plan B – essentially a plan to begin marketing to overseas publishers. I have plenty of books to write in the meantime. Last year I wrote, or finished writing four novels, including my beloved sci-fi comedy, Cargo Cult, a second book in my near future sci-fi thriller series (called The Sentience Machine), the first book in my far future space opera trilogy Deep Fracture (Deep Fracture being the second trilogy in that series) and the first of a new series I’m very excited about – a kind of sci-fi equivalent of urban fantasy – called Mindrider. I can’t imagine being quite so productive next year, but my current WIP, a standalone sci-fi mystery novel tentatively called Heaven is a Place on Earth, is going very well and I’m dying to get on with some of the series I just mentioned. There will be a couple of shorts coming out in anthologies and I wrote a piece about world-building for a non-fiction collection on the same topic that should be available in a few months. I wrote a number of reviews for the New York Journal of Books last year and I’ll certainly continue with that in the coming year. I imagine there will be other small projects like these going on but, really, I like writing novels – series of novels, even – and that’s where nearly all my energies will be focused.
So, farewell 4 and hello 5. I hope you all have a good year and that I have exciting news for you during the next twelve months.
May the Fourth be with you.