Writer, editor, reviewer

Posts for Tag : fiction

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Attend – my debut novel 0

So the news is out – my debut novel, Attend, will be published by Orenda Books in autumn 2018.

As you’ll see from my other posts on this site, I work as an editor at Orenda Books, so it took a little bit of sneakiness on my part to get my novel into the submissions pile (under a different name). But I’m glad I did, because Karen Sullivan – the best publisher any author could wish for – decided she wanted to publish it.

Here’s the blurb from Orenda’s website:

When Sam falls in love with Deptford thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.

Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, a history of hidden Deptford and ultimately the solution to their crises.

With echoes of Armistead Maupin, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

The cover is by Orenda’s regular jacket designer, Kid Ethic (Mark Swan). Having read the book myself (ahem), I’m still stunned at how he’s managed to capture its themes and structure in one strikingly simple image.

The ebook will be released in October 2018, followed by the paperback in December 2018.

You can preorder from Amazon, Foyles, Waterstones etc etc etc…

Suffice to say, I’m ecstatic!

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Orenda Books – Spring 2018 0

 

My work for Orenda Books continues. The beginning of 2018 saw the appearance of the second ‘episode’ in Matt Wesolowski’s unusual, unsettling and unclassifiable Six Stories ‘podcast’ novels: Hydra – as disconcerting to edit as it is to read.

Alongside new titles from Orenda’s now established crime and thriller writers (Steph Broadribb, Matt Johnson, Thomas Enger, Johana Gustawsson and Gunnar Staalesen) we published our first German Krimi – Blue Night by Simone Buchholz, a book that takes the tropes of the genre and twists them into a delightful literary tour de force.

We also published our first Quebecois novel, the lyrical, poetic We Were the Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard.

Late spring saw domestic noir from Louise Voss and  L V Hay and a surprising piece of … speculative crime from Doug Johnstone – which imagines a volcano in the Firth of Forth.

The spring and summer have seen us working hard to get our autumn titles ready, and to migrate our sales and distribution to Simon & Schuster, an important move for this young publishing house.

And the autumn also brings a very pleasant surprise …

 

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Orenda Update – spring 2017 titles 0

Orenda Books goes from strength to strength.

Over the past few months I’ve worked on a selection of titles from Orenda’s crime and literary fiction list for spring 2017.

Some of my highlights include:

Sealskin by Su Bristow.

A retelling of the selkie myth, Sealskin is a beautifully lyrical and delicately nuanced novel about redemption, community and the blurred lines between magic and the everyday.

 

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski:

Inspired by the true-crime podcast investigation Serial, Six Stories is part transcript, part tone poem, part crime thriller. Following an investigative journalist exploring a decades-old death at an outward-bound centre, six individuals give their six different and at times conflicting versions of the same story – a hugely original, and deeply sinister debut.

 

I also worked on Deep Down Dead, a debut action thriller from crime-fiction blogger Steph Broadribb, AKA CrimeThrillerGirl. If the cover says movie, there’s a reason … one of the most cinematic books I’ve ever edited.

 

I worked closely with Matt Johnson on Deadly Game, the fast-paced, complex sequel to his debut, Wicked Game. Like the first book, this reeks of authenticity, as you’d expect from an ex-SAS officer.

 

Another of my detailed editing jobs was on the third part in Paul E Hardisty’s Claymore Straker trilogy, Reconciliation for the Dead, which offers a shocking insight into South Africa’s apartheid years. Paul’s prose is at its most lyrical, as he takes us back to the Angolan war of the 1980s and the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of the 1990s.

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An Orenda Summer 0

This summer, with Orenda Books publisher Karen Sullivan away in her native Canada, then piloting her various authors through their events at the Edinburgh Book Festival, I spent quite a bit of time looking after the Orenda shop.

Three books I saw through the editorial and production process to the printers were:

A Suitable Lie, Michael J Malone’s subtle and shocking investigation of masculinity. A departure for Malone, A Suitable Lie takes a new and moving perspective on one of society’s ills. Essential reading.

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The Exiled, the third in Kati Hiekkapelto’s series of socially conscious crime novels featuring investigator Anna Fekete. The Exiled takes Anna from her adopted Finland back to her birthplace on the Serbia-Hungary border, where she becomes caught up in the tensions between the various resident communities – Serb, Hungarian, Romani – and the wave of desperate refugees attempting to access the European Union.

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The Bird Tribunal, by Agnes Ravatn – a pitch-perfect study in quiet, psychological terror. With tones of Rebecca and Jane Eyre, The Bird Tribunal is spare, chilling and told in exqusite literary prose, translated beautifully by Rosie Hedger.

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In addition to these titles, I’ve been working on Blackout the latest in Ragnar Jónasson’s hugely successful Dark Iceland series of crimes novels.

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I’ve also helped edit Louise Beech’s A Mountain in My Shoe – another socially conscious novel, which examines the meaning of family and deals in a very authentic way with the failures and successes of the UK’s care system.

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Spring 2017 titles are currently in production. Needless to say, Orenda goes from strength to strength!

 

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A Bicycle in Amsterdam 0

I was a key contributor to literary content agency, Tibor Jones‘s team novel project, A Bicycle in Amsterdam.

The novel was conceived by Tibor Jones Creative Director, Kevin Conroy Scott. A contemporary coming-of-age story A Bicycle in Amsterdam follows 18-year-old Edith to Amsterdam where she attempts to unravel the mysterious past of her father, enigmatic artist, Edward Frank.

In collaboration with Kevin, a team of writers, of which I was one, workshopped, brainstormed and finally wrote the first draft of the novel.

Tibor Jones then contracted me to ‘ghost-write’ a final version, which was then published by Tibor Jones Studio under the author name Annuska Jones. The novel is available as an ebook.

My article about the experience of writing A Bicycle in Amsterdam is here.