When the Creative and the Commercial Come Together

It’s sweet, isn’t it? You have a sudden epiphany that something you’re doing in your current novel might have a negative commercial impact on a different novel. It can make a reader uncomfortable when a writer starts out glorifying a violent vigilante in one story, then switching to a pacifist one who hates hoo-rah gung-ho bullshit in the next. It shouldn’t matter—an author should be able to write whatever story inspires them—but it kind of does. I had such an epiphany recently. A problem that could mean my second novel—the standalone Three Years Dead—might have a negative impact on my third, Reflected Innocence, which I hope to launch into a parallel series alongside the Alicia Friend/Donald Muphy world from His First His Second. So should I sacrifice my creative vision for my commercial one? Well, in experimenting, I discovered something quite wonderful. In worrying about my commercial future (in other words, my future sales and therefore my income) I wrote something that actually made the story stronger. The problem, in a nutshell, was that I was writing Three Years Dead in the first person. Why was that a problem? Well, because Reflected Innocence is also first person. Still, why is that a problem? Okay, because the protagonists are both males and both are white-British. However, while they’re very different in character, in terms of the basic list of characteristics, they’re going to clash a bit. In Three Years Dead, Martin Money is a police officer with no memory of the past three years, trying to unravel a) his own assault that resulted in the memory loss, and b) the disappearance...

Early Reviews – His First His Second

So, I told myself I’m not going to be one of those writers who constantly crows about his great reviews and quotes them every few days.  However, it’s still early in the life of His First His Second, so I guess I have to whore myself around a bit and push my early reviews towards the audience.  For now, here are the links that have come in so far. Suffice it to say I’m pretty happy with them. Warrior Women – 5 stars Undercover Book Reviews – 5 stars Both have been kind enough to post their reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. I’ll update this list as and when people review it.     Share...

American-ese vs Britishisms

This week there was a fairly interesting discussion over at KindleBoards regarding why some Americans cannot stand to read British English in novels. Some readers, apparently, go so far as to dish out a one-star review for bad grammar and terrible spelling errors, and the authors took a while to realise they meant the dialect. I found it rather odd, as most American novels that arrive in the UK are written in American-ese and I have never known anyone complain. I once wrote a novel, not currently in circulation I hasten to add, but it was written as a NaNoWriMo one year. It featured an American detective with an all American cast, and I wrote that in American-ese. I went so far as to hire an American proof-reader to banish any Britishisms. It just made sense to me. Equally, it makes sense for me to keep His First His Second and Three Years Dead in British-ese because they are British detectives solving British crime, in Britain. Even if I was pushing it in America in a big way, wouldn’t it jar somewhat to alter the whole novel? I know some books like Harry Potter have American editions, which I think is probably essential since it’s mainly a children’s book, and if every kid whose parents aren’t worried about witchcraft is reading it, translating it to American-ese is a no-brainer. As are other British authors working in the American environment, such as Lee Child, and Irish people like John Connolly. Their books arrive in the UK with the colors and aluminum intact. People even transport their dead bodies in the...

Begging and Thanks

It’s an odd situation to be in. As I write this, my novel His First His Second has been available for sale on pretty much every e-book medium going, including places I’d never heard of until I signed up to Draft2Digital. So in addition to the essential Kindle, I’m on Kobo, Nook, iBooks, Scribd, and Page Foundry. Which means I can’t just link to the Amazon page each time I want to beg people to buy my book. And I hate begging. More to the point, I hate seeing people beg. Especially indie authors I happen to be following on Twitter. Buy my book… please? Buy my book! Buy my BOOK! NOW! I hate that. And I don’t buy their books. Nor does anyone else, I feel. Or maybe they do, otherwise they wouldn’t do it. But I have never heard anyone issue the advice to an indie author to saturate Twitter with outright demands to purchase. So I don’t beg. I might mention occasionally when I am accessible on a new format, or deliver some snippet of news. But other than that one time I did a charity drive on my profits for a day, constantly banging on about buying the book is just such a turn-off for genuine readers. Thanks very much, by the way, to all those who pre-ordered. All profits from the 14th and 15th go to the BBC Children in Need Appeal. Oh, and that brings me to another point – thanking. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me when a stranger buys my book. Especially one who simply saw something I...

His First His Second Author Q&A

Having been quizzed by friends and family on my debut novel His First His Second, I put together a quick Q&A Q: Alicia Friend is kind of an oddball, isn’t she? A: I’d say she’s unique. She knows who she wants to be and she doesn’t compromise. Most police officers she meets are dour and grumpy, and she sees how that impacts their personal lives. She doesn’t want to be like that so radiates the sort of perkiness that sometimes grates on her fellow officers. But it’s who she is.   Q: Unlike the detective she has to advise during the investigation. Isn’t he more of a stereotypical hard-bitten type of investigator? A: I think of him more as an archetype than a stereotype. The committed detective whose personal life went to pieces because of the job. I needed him to be this way as a contrast to Alicia. We meet Alicia through his eyes. He doesn’t like her at first but he warms to her and slowly becomes less of a grump.   Q: And the novel goes to some dark places. A: Yes. I found that at one point I was trying to include ALL my research, and I’m really aiming for a thrill ride as much a straight police procedural. I’m trying to emulate the likes of John Connolly and PJ Tracy. I originally included the sort of forensic details you get with Patricia Cornwell or Kathy Reichs, but it wasn’t right for this book. I keep it as accurate as possible, but it’s about the characters and how they uncover secrets, both externally and within...