It’s me again, guys, back in harness after two great posts from Chris Nickson – great guy, great writer, and far too modest. After all the recent hoo-hah about authors (one author in particular) who crossed to the shady side of self-promotion, isn’t it refreshing to find one who doesn’t even grab the opportunity to big up his own books in a blog?
Looks like I’ll have to do it for him.
Back in 2007 when I was still a publisher, I saw Chris’s first historical crime novel and refused to publish it. Not because I didn’t like it, and certainly not because it didn’t reach the high standard I tried to set. Completely the opposite. It was bursting with richly drawn background and characters I really wanted to know about, and the plot was intricate without being tortuous. And the writing simply flowed: near-invisible style of the best kind.
But by then I was all too well aware that only one of those one-in-a-million strokes of luck was going to turn around a near-zero marketing budget and relatively small print runs and create a bestseller for my tiny enterprise – and Chris’s work had the smell and feel of the big time. As I read the manuscript I kept thinking, C J Sansom, eat your heart out. So I told Chris to go away and try it out on some of the major publishers.
His answer was that he wasn’t out to make a fortune, and preferred to work with someone he could form a connection with.
Five books later, I’m still his editor, and the series has got better and better. They’re available as eBooks as well as print; the fourth, Come the Fear, is just out in the UK and will shortly appear in the US. I’m about to start editing the fifth – well worth coming back from holiday for!
There. Justice done. And thanks, Chris, for filling in so thoughtfully while I was on holiday. See you next week at the launch.
The holiday? Oh yes, the holiday. I’ve been back three days and it’s already a distant memory. Two things stand out, for opposite reasons. One: don’t ever break your car windscreen in France. Would you believe there’s no emergency repair service, however good your travel insurance? We lost three days, spent a couple of hundred euros we could have put to much better use, and went through a lot of stress.
Two: if you’re ever in Franche-Comté, seek out the Bistrot de Port-Lesney. It’s tucked away in a tiny village called, yes, you guessed, Port-Lesney, and the meal we ate there was possibly the best we’ve ever had in ftymumble years of holidaying in France. French food is somewhat legendary, and this bistrot shows exactly why that is. Three courses, perfectly cooked, exactly the right quantities (I won’t list all the dishes, since all four of us had something different), and a waitress who was an absolute delight. See for yourself here. Or look them up on TripAdvisor.
And now... The laundry is sorted, the junk e-mails are deleted and husband has gone to the supermarket, but just thinking about everything on this month’s to-do list makes me need another holiday...