A Writer’s Year – Part One

January and February are taken up by Authonomy, the Harper Collins website for “aspiring authors: “My novel Tiger Hugs rose 600 places in December. Would you like to see what’s making people smile?” It rose 76 places in February. Going strong.

In March I complete a Weekly Artist application at Weirdyear, and submit the novel to ten agencies.

Success at Limbo Quarterly, London, via Arts Hub. They want to publish chapter one of Tiger Hugs / The Marquis.

In the pub I overhear a group of incredulous suburban mums talking about the film We Need to Talk About Kevin: “It’s a true story written like a diary, they made a film of it, about a mother who can’t bond with her son.” It’s not a true story, and I’m surprised they’ve never heard of a novel that’s been shocking people for years and has been serialised on Radio 4. It’s not a mass market novel though. People have only ever heard of mass market novels. Kevin is published by an indie – Serpent’s Tail. To me it’s an old novel. I’m amazed when people have never heard of say, Blake Morrison’s When Did You Last See Your Father when they know all about Da Vinci Code, 50 Shades and so on. Decide I should stop being surprised.

So I start a novel about suburbia and soon get over it.

April 2nd – Tiger Hugs reaches 26 (the highest ranking it ever got) and 95 backers

Some people just don’t get the joke though and I decide to never write another comedy. Where’s that suburban slasher novel I started in March.

I discover agent Simon Trewin’s website: He says, “I have worked with everyone from Boy George to Jimmy Carr” Jesus Christ! I think that’s the agent for me. There’s this bold cap statement: “I AM ALWAYS LOOKING FOR INTERESTING CREATIVE INDIVIDUALS TO COLLABORATE WITH ON ANY LEVEL. PLEASE BE IN TOUCH WITH ANY BOOK IDEAS – FICTION OR NON-FICTION – NO MATTER HOW MUCH IN THEIR INFANCY.”

Why the bold caps? Perhaps he feels drowned out and needs to shout. Anyway, he wasn’t looking.

Friday, April 06

Tiger Hugs achieves its equal highest ranking 26, with 102 backers on the 8th.

Sad day. Bye bye old clapped out Sony laptop with the keys worn off. Hello new Packard Bell.

Having said I’d never write another comedy, I stupidly launch a spoof paranormal novel Blood on the Carpathians on Authonomy. “An Italian ship, the SS Mangrelli, is wrecked off the remote island of Rathmandu in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The surviving Italian sailors make shore, but they’ve been exposed to a leaking poison that was stowed in the ship’s cargo. Sunita Malita, a beautiful dark-haired young woman living in the family castle on Rathmandu, is told by her wicked step-parents that she must never leave the grounds … cue admirer bearing gifts.” Well I thought it was funny.

A Kindle version of Tiger Hugs is released.

Go to see the Damian Hirst exhibition and miss the skull – For the Love of God. It’s outside the main exhibition, in the public space. Walk right past it believing it not to be in the exhibition. Overrated anyway. It reminds me of a day in Rome, in a hurry to get to the airport, and dodging the closed roads and crowds, I take a back street and head out with my suitcase. At the end of every blocked off street, there’s the usual Italian armed cop gesticulating wildly. Thinking I must have trespassed, I hurry on. After passing the tenth madly waving cop, I give in and have a look at the cause of the fuss, and there’s the old Pope John Paul racing past on his popemobile. Easily done, walking right past something you should have looked at. Sadly, no Latin excitement at Tate Modern, just the usual north European cold concrete and miserable reports on Damian’s butterflies, which were, of course, brilliant.

Launch my short story collection on authonomy Jack Kerouac Eats Here. Just the usual, a Christmas tree with the ability to kill, and Dean Moriarty dying in the snow. That sort of thing.

May – Limbo publish chapter one of Tiger Hugs as promised. So pleased to see this little success. I do a lot of abuse reports on Authonomy. Even my Good News thread gets trolled. No effect though. They still do it. It makes me think of quitting Authonomy. So, I think Tiger Hugs should at least be closer to what I set out to do at the start. I change the cover and hack down the opening. Cara Gold’s great review makes me realise I should take it more seriously. I drop the Comedy tag, and reinstate the moderate language. A bit of progress with a new look, but then a man comes to fix the guttering. That’s how it goes.

However, I do eventually change Tiger Hugs to Neutrino Jive with music / dance/ sci-fi / noir. A new cover in black and white, with 80s deco text, and silhouette. That should work. It doesn’t.

End of Part One