STORMBLOOD Cover Reveal!

The day has arrived. The good good people at Gollancz have revealed the cover art for my debut novel I’ve been jabbering on about for almost a full length of the Earth’s rotation. And it is gorgeous. Feast them eyes:

Stormblood

It’s very blue.

I had extensively input on crafting the cover. We agreed to go for the “Gotham in space” aesthetic. Dark and moody, but slick and adventurous. Containing a sense of noir mystery, underpinned by a sense of exuberance and widescreen exploration. And they knocked it out of the park and into orbit. I asked them to make it as screaming blue as possible, and they jumped the rail to outdo themselves. I mean, look at it! Those spaceships! Those buildings! That mist! All credit goes to Gollancz and Blacksheep for their stellar work.

I’ll do a write up on the finer details of crafting the cover, but for now, I’m going to bask in the blue glow of this very fine cover. Gollancz has a full proper write up, if you’re inclined to check it out.

Pre-orders have also opened! I cannot understate how disproportionately helpful they are for debut authors, and essential keeping us afloat. If you do pre-order, I’ll owe you a life debt (and by life debt, I mean buy you a drink or send you a bookplate). If you can, support your local bookstore, but you can also order it online:


Book Despoitry (free shipping worldwide): https://www.bookdepository.com/Stormblood-Jeremy-Szal/9781473227422?ref=grid-view&qid=1568803043304&sr=1-1
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stormblood-Jeremy-Szal/dp/1473227410
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Stormblood-Jeremy-Szal/dp/1473227410

In the meantime, I’m going to look into framing this thing on my wall.

I have a newsletter!

I’ve put this off for far too long, so naturally I do it a few hours before boarding my flight to Europe. I have a newsletter form now, which you can sign up to receive updates about my work, publication dates, writing advice, short stories, cover reveals, and juicy secrets about yours truly (the last may or may not be true). I promise not to sell your data to Russian bots.

I’m still wrestling with the HTML data, so this is the best I have for now until I get one embedded in my website.

Access the form here!

My WorldCon Programme

dublin

Before you know it, the year’s gone by and another WorldCon is upon us!

I’ll be attending, making this my second WorldCon ever. If you (somehow) are keen to find me, these are the programmed events I’ll be participating it. I also have my first Kaffleklatch and autographing session ever, so that’ll be interesting. Bring anything along that’s not a contract, and I’ll sign it.

Of course, I’ll also be walking around, attending other panels, in the artist gallery, and the bar, so please free feel to say hi. If we know each other online, please do let me know.

 

Kaffeeklatsch: Jeremy Szal

Format: Kaffeeklatsch

15 Aug 2019, Thursday 15:00 – 15:50, Level 3 Foyer (KK/LB) (CCD)

Je

 

Audiobooks: the sound of fiction

Format: Panel

16 Aug 2019, Friday 11:00 – 11:50, Liffey Room-1 (CCD)

Audiobooks have become an important part of the literature market, which will continue to grow. What are audiobook publishers looking for? What books should you be listening to and where can you find them? Our panel discusses what you need to know about audio. Come and join us, and listen up!

Jeremy Szal (StarShipSofa), Stefan Rudnicki (Skyboat Media Audiobooks) , KT Bryski (M), Tina Connolly, Gabrielle de Cuir (Skyboat Media Audiobooks)

 

What fanfiction can teach genre writers

Format: Panel

17 Aug 2019, Saturday 17:00 – 17:50, ECOCEM Room (CCD)

Fanfiction’s popularity continues to grow, tapping into the special creative connection between authors and fans. What is it about this literary nexus that is so fascinating and stimulating for fans? And what might authors have to learn from fans who write it?

Naomi Novik, Jeremy Szal (StarShipSofa), Kate Sheehy, Sara-Jayne Slack (M)

 

Autographs: Sunday at 10:00

Format: Autographing

18 Aug 2019, Sunday 10:00 – 10:50, Level 4 Foyer (CCD)

Victoria Lee (Skyscape) Laura Anne Gilman, William Ledbetter, James Patrick Kelly, Jeremy Szal (StarShipSofa), Heather Rose Jones

Why are you writing that? Motivation and passion

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen a lot of posts about writing inspiration and writing motivation. How to make yourself motivated to write. How to keep your motivation to write. How to hit a daily word count. How to become invested in your writing. How to not become distracted. You get the picture.

Like most issues about writing, the problem, to me, comes not from any minute problem, but the stem. The root of it. And some of you may not like this answer.

Maybe you’re writing the wrong story.

This might seem ridiculous. Why would anyone not write what they want to write? Only, a lot of these same people struggling with motivation seem to feel obliged to write in certain tones, genres and styles, that there’s a definite, convenient, one-size fits all answer to all things writing. A quick glance at any writing forum on reddit solicits the following, or similar posts:

“How do I outline?”

“How do I end the story with a battle?”

“How do I write an epic fantasy?”

“How do I write a ranger/bounty hunter/soldier?”

“How do I write humour?”

“How do you write a plot twist?”

“How to I make my story interesting?”

And so on.

These aren’t bad questions. They’re wrong questions. You outline if outlining works for you. You end your story with a battle if it serves your story. You write epic fantasy if you like and read the genre enough to build your career on it. You write a ranger or a bounty hunter if you want to write one.

Based on years of partaking in writing communities, reading and editing slush, working with critiques, I get the feeling a some newer writers don’t want to write what they’re writing. Or they’re writing what they think they should be writing. They’re writing what they’ve read over the years, reworking elements of favourite genres, following the preconception of narrative beats, without adding their own flairs and passions. It becomes a puzzle, an obligation, so preoccupied with getting definitive, simple answers they forget to enjoy the process. Hence the struggle with being motivated.

I think this is true because I did this myself. I wrote two fantasy novels, one young adult, one adult, the latter I stopped writing at 35k, the first I finished and absolutely hated writing. I wrote them, filled them with the usual genre suspects of modern fantasy (council meetings, bitter politicking, mysterious powers, etc) because I thought fantasy sold better, that’s what fantasy had to be like. It took me two failed novels, being put off reading epic fantasy altogether, and years of frustration and lack of motivation to figure out where the problem stemmed: I was writing what I thought I had to write. Not what I wanted to write.

That, to me, is the antithesis of creating good fiction, and the leading cause in lacking motivation.

I didn’t have a single motivation problem writing STORMBLOOD. I’d blast out 3000-4000 words a session on my free days, and even the days I was on the day job I’d be eager to come home and resume my characters’ adventures. I didn’t stop to think whether or should I could tell a story like this. I didn’t care if I could mix cyberpunk noir and space opera, didn’t consider whether a debut author could do first-person space opera, whether my protagonist was too emotional, whether you could use flashblacks, have aliens that spoke English, set your story on an asteroid, have modern cultures and languages mixing with spaceships and railguns.

I told the story I wanted to tell. If I felt like adding some action, I would. If I wanted to up the danger, I would. If I wanted to have a slower, more emotional, fleshed-out scene, I would.

I wrote what I wanted to wrote. And so everything flowed naturally.

Some days are better than others, of course, and getting my butt in chair and actually writing words can take longer than I’d like. But, not a single word of STORMBLOOD, or the sequel I’m currently writing, has been forced or needed extra motivation. Because I decided to tell the story I wanted to tell and filled it with things that inspired me, not things I felt I had to include.

Again, based on what I’ve seen over the years, I think some writers feel they’re obliged to use certain tropes, or use archetypes they’ve seen over the years. Writing a space opera? You’ve got to include a space battle, especially at the start. Scribbling a crime noir tale? Sleazy neon-dunked streets are mandatory, as are long, jargon-heavy slang with corrupt policemen and gangsters. Writing a dark story? Everyone, especially the main characters, have to be unlikeable twats, and lots of bad things happen. Penning an epic fantasy? You have to include bards , heavy politicking and council room scenes, a besieged kingdom. And, of course, dragons.

Except, you don’t.

You really, really don’t.

Tropes and genre trappings exist, sure. But they’re not always the best choice, and they’re definitely not necessary. The beauty of genre fiction means you can write whatever you want. Whatever. It’s not so much about what does and doesn’t work, it’s whether or not it feels right. If you’re consistently forcing yourself to write, even if it’s the occasional scene, to me that’s a fundamental problem not with your motivation, but with your story.

Whenever I’ve got to write “council room” scenes, or meeting scenes, I get bored and uninspired. Why force yourself through it? Instead, write something cool. More bizarre technology, more action scenes, more conflict, more dramatic things happening to your protagonists. Set a building on fire, throw a shocking twist in the plot, have one of the important characters kidnapped. Why?

Why not?

Seriously. Who’s saying you can’t?

I wrote STORMBLOOD for its character-driven conflict, emotional turmoil, cool world-building, exploration of weird technology, and sense of wonder and mystery. Those are the things I love immersing myself in. So I put them in every scene. I don’t write filler; I don’t write scenes that serve no purpose other than to build up to the next. It’s a waste of time and space I could be using to introduce a new alien species, or flesh-out a character more. So I’m never lacking motivation because every scene I write motivates me. Every scene has something that’s cool or interesting to me, which is very deliberate.

Whatever you’re writing: be it an action-packed thriller, a slow-burn tombstone fantasy, or anything on the scale: do right by it, and do right by yourself.

You’ll see that a lot of us authors who have book deals or published work don’t spend countless hours crippled with indecision over what to write or how to write it or where to start. We just write. We don’t think too hard about it, we just do it, because it comes naturally.

So, if you’re struggling with motivation, or finding it a challenge to start writing, or continue writing, maybe take a long, hard look at what you’re writing. Are you finding it fun? Is the protagonist someone you enjoy spending time with? Are the side-characters people you want to continue exploring? Are the scenes you write exciting to you? Does the world you’ve created compel you to return to it? Is the central conflict interesting to you? Are you writing in the right genre? Are you comfortable with your tone? Your PoV? Are you content with first/third person? Are you absolutely, totally happy to be spending weeks, months, years, telling this story?

If the answer to any of these, or similar questions, is a no, perhaps your motivation problem isn’t you, it’s your story.

I’ve found the adage of write what you know to be dreadfully wrong. It should be write what you’re passionate about. Because passion and enthusiasm will become imbued in your narrative as you write it, and it will help sell your book.

Because it helped sell mine.

And maybe it’ll help sell yours, too.

 

 

Deadlines and Cakes

There’s a certain kind of vindication from signing a three book deal. Especially when it comes from someone like Gollancz, who are in many ways of the leading publishers of science-fiction and fantasy. If they believe my book is good enough to sit on their shelf alongside titles by Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, Joe Abercrombie and Terry Pratchett, then, really, who I am to say otherwise?

The publishing climate being what it is, any book that gets picked up by a major publisher has been to be polished until it shines, and then polished some more. It takes effort, time, concentration, and discipline. And once you’ve signed up for a trilogy, you sort of have to do it again. And again. And suddenly, writing’s not quite as carefree and enjoyable as it once might have been.

I wrote STORMBLOOD in just over six months. It wasn’t all rainbows, but it was fun. Head down to my favourite writing spot at the beach with my laptop, slam out 3000-4000 words a session, spending half a dozen leisurely hours building my world. Carefree as eating another slice of cake. The only deadlines were my own, and the only editor was my internal one. Now, with actual money and contracts involved, things aren’t quiet as easy. Less so when, from today, this book that I’m writing is due to be published in less than 18 months. The first draft isn’t even halfway done, and the deadline’s already looming.

Dead. Line. Even the name sounds a wee bit ominous.

Fact of the matter is: you’ve got to treat it like a job, because it is. And you’ve got to be disciplined and putting in the hours. Which I can do (he said, grumbling). It’s finding the careful balance between pleasure and pain, work and leisure, craft and chore, that’s the problem. And then there’s the pressure. An enormous amount of pressure to get it right. It’s less easy to hit your daily wordcount when a little voice in the back of your head’s chattering away that every character, plot twist, character arc, name, location, set-piece, description, hell, every word you’re writing is going to be ingrained into the narrative forever (nevermind that, y’know, you can always edit straight after) and you’d better get it right.

So. Yeah. It’s not easy. But that’s what I signed up for, and I’m going to see it through. In a year’s time, when Book 2 is complete, if I’m not touting grey hair, ink-stained fingertips and gazing into the horizon with a glazed over expression, you can assume it went well.

 

 

A Statement regarding STORMBLOOD

I’ve had a few people inquire about my upcoming debut novel, STORMBLOOD, in regards to its genre and the audience it’s appealing to. Mainly if STORMBLOOD is a horror novel, or belongs in the horror genre, and if not, what genre is does belong to.

I wanted to clarify this by stating that STORMBLOOD isn’t a horror novel, it is not a body horror novel, nor does it have elements of the horror genre. It’s a space opera that combines a widescreen, future setting with elements of mystery, noir, and police procedural. The emphasis is on exuberance with a strong element of wonder, combined with a broodish, (slightly) cynical voice with a dry and ironic sense of humour.

Literary legend J. Cuddeon defines a horror story as “a piece of fiction… which shocks, or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing” (his words, not mine). That’s not the sort of thing I’m interesting in reading or writing, especially for a novel-length work. I write what I want to read. Simple as that. At the end of the day, fiction that induces “repulsion or loathing” isn’t my cup o’ tea. I like a good thrill as much as anybody, but that comes from narrative tension. Mood and tone are a different kettle of fish, and fiction that “repulses” isn’t something I want, or even know how to do.

In writing STORMBLOOD, I wanted there to be an element of danger, of tension, but I also worked hard to instill a sense of exuberance. A sense of wonder. I want the reader to encounter kilometre-long spaceships and different alien species and brain-bending gadgets and get a kick out of the scope and the coolness of it. To marvel at the idea of entire cosmopolitan, urban cities nestled inside a hollowed-out asteroid larger than the moon, of AIs with animal brains, neural-links, three-dee printers, etc.

To follow the complication of narrative leads with a twisting, looping plot. I want there to be a sense of adventure, of progress. To be in the same vein as space opera authors like  Ken Macleod, Cj Cherryh, Iain M. Banks, Hannu Rajaniemi and Alastair Reynolds: instilling a sense of adventure and progress, solving a mystery while encountering byzantine technology and brain-bending concepts against the backdrop of a widescreen, very futuristic, very cool setting. It’s what I’ve been reading all my life, so it’s only natural I took the same literary lifeblood and distilled it into my own writing.  It’s an exuberant, character-driven space opera, and this is going to be reflected in all marketing, covers, etc.

As it is, my publisher has described STORMBLOOD as such on Amazon:

A vibrant and talented new voice in SFF: alien technology, addictive upgrades, a soldier determined to protect his family, and a thief who is prepared to burn the world down . . .

Again: I don’t do sustained tone very well, let alone repulsion or loathing, my brain isn’t wired for it. STORMBLOOD combines a lot of things: mystery, adventure, space opera, crime, tension, exuberance, but horror isn’t one of them. It’s going to sit firmly in the science-fiction section of the store, not the horror section! I’m writing this to avoid future confusion, to clarify for people who were confused and to ensure that STORMBLOOD reaches the right people who are looking for what’s inside it, and not something else entirely I didn’t write. I apologise for the misdirection!

 

2018 Wrap-Up: A Year of Opposites

We’re about to blast into 2019, but it doesn’t quite feel like it. 2018 was such a major year for me that it’s weird to think it’s going to be gone. I’m going to sum up the year the way I do best: as straight-forwardly as possible.

2018 was an unusual year for me. Some good, some bad. Mostly good. The highs were pretty high, and the lows were, well, pretty low.

The biggest and most significant thing is The Book Deal. I wanted 2018 to be the year I sold a novel. I ended up selling three of them to Gollancz, my first choice publisher. I’m still reeling about that. As far as I know, I’m the only author to have snagged a three-book deal with Gollancz this year, let alone a debut novelist. When you consider that the novel trilogy we sold is a space opera, in an industry dominated by epic fantasy, it’s quite the surprise. Not that it was easy. The road to getting that deal was winding, looping, rocky and filled with crevices and mudslides and angry, carnivorous goats, but we landed there in the end.

The same can be said for the year in its entirety. I spent the first six months punching out a novel I’d started in October 2017. It wasn’t going well. I was having doubts about it. Felt I was out of my depth, the world-building too grandiose, the characters too similar to things I’d done before. It was much larger in scope than anything I’d written, and I had a lot more wet clay to carve into something resembling a narrative. None of this is new to an author. But I had other issues along the sidelines.

See, whatever’s going on in my life, I’ve always used writing and story-telling to ground me. It takes the edge off things and gets me channeling my energy into getting work done, and at the end of the day I have something I’m proud of. Writing aside: I like accomplishing things. Having something to show for my efforts. Writing is one of the ways I make that happen.

Say I don’t have a good writing day. I fall short of accomplishing what I want. Then I have another bad day. And another. I start to lose the willpower to get that writing done. I feel bad because I’m losing the motivation. I won’t let myself take the day off or have me-time, because I know it’ll fuel my unease of not getting work done. I won’t be able to enjoy anything properly, I’ll feel guilty. So I double my efforts. Which makes me doubly worried I’ll have another bad writing day, and I’m twice as on edge before the writing day has even started. Which slowly, grardually, burns away at my energy.

It took me the better part of the year to understand some things. That it’s okay to have a bad writing session. It’s okay to take the day off, to take the week off. It’s okay to see a movie, to wake up late, to head to the park. It’s okay to step away from the keyboard, it’ll be there when you get back. Because I’m a very driven, very go-get-it person, the idea of kicking back and allowing myself to put the tools down had to be pounded into my brain. I’m still working on de-compressing doing it effectively. Ploughing ahead, rain or sun, worked in 2017. It didn’t work this year. If it was anything but my writing, I’d be okay with taking breaks. But because it is, and because I use writing to improve my life, it hit hard. But it taught me an important lesson and helped me re-evaluate my work-ethic and my writing is all the better for it.

Because I’m all about giving the bad news first, I’ll now discuss the good. While I didn’t get much writing done in the short fiction department (I’ve not written a single non-flash piece the entire year), I did write a few flash pieces, and sold plenty more. I also had a few stories published for the first time, my favourite probably being Traumahead, and have scattered pieces upcoming next year and in 2020. I also got my work translated into two new languages: French and Spanish.

I also achieved my goal of reading more. To date, I’ve read 45 books this year. 15 short of my admittedly unrealistic goal of 60, but I’ve read more this year than any other year (and some of these were 650+ page monsters). I branched out into graphic novels. I narrowed down my tastes in both reading and watching, and trust myself pretty early on to bail out or not even bother if I’m bouncing off the material.

I did a bit of travelling, established a respectable gin collection (I stand at 15 now), got into shape, and generally improved my quality of life. I have a much better understanding of the things I need to do for myself (which is why some people, website and types of media have been all but expunged from my life. I haven’t missed them). But overall, I’m all the more happier for it.

Then there’s the book deal. Undoubtedly the highlight of the year. I’m only starting to now wrap my grey-matter around the notion the book I furiously packed all my passions and loves and vulnerabilities into, won’t just be getting published, it’s been taken by Gollancz as their leading sci-fi title of early 2020, and will be the first of a trilogy. My job for the next few years is to write and plan two sequels to the favourite thing I’ve ever written. Worlds and species and characters and eccentricities I thought might never see the light of day are going to be launched out into the world.

It’s strange because I always believed the novel I snagged an agent with would sell, and STORMBLOOD would be something I’d sell later on, when I gained more reputation. I thought using first-person instead of a multi-PoV third wouldn’t work in space opera, a genre that’s commonly so sprawling and spectacle-heavy. I thought the voice was too rough for equal reasons. Focusing more on character and relationship than plot, having a emotionally raw protagonist, downplaying the space opera elements and going more The Expanse than Star Wars, all these things I feared would work against me. It wouldn’t make it unsellable, just harder. I was happy to be mistaken, because Gollancz were the first and only folks to offer, so STORMBLOOD literally never had a single rejection, from agent or editor.

After the mountain of binned novels, unfinished synopsises, dead-end creative writing classes, unbaked short stories, brutal rejections from agents and publishers, the dream has finally come true and I’m ecstatic. Sure, I could have self-published, but going solo isn’t my laneway. I’d never be happy, and I’d always feel like I fell miserably short. Being with Gollancz isn’t just about the money, but the reassurance that a book I’ve poured litres of my blood, sweat and tears into has ended up in secure, safe hands and will be treated as a professional piece of literature by folks who do this for a living, and they’re going to do everything they can to ensure the book is a success. Considering how many horror stories I’ve heard about failed books, shoddy contracts, botched cover art, rubbish sales, lazy and malicious editors, it’s a relief to be in safe hands.

It’s also a reassurance of where my writing career is going, and how I’d be spending it. Back in May-June, stuck in the swamp of Personal Issues and burned out from the weight of my exhausting project, I thought my writing career was dead. That I’d lost the passion I’d had, that writing was a chore I had to manipulate myself into. Wind back a few years further, dusting off the residue of a lumpy book I hated writing, going to the store and rifling through all the space operas, the ones with spaceships, aliens, intergalactic politics, weird biotech and noir future cities and told myself never again.  I’d only write exactly what I wanted to write and nothing less. And this is what I wanted to write. So I did. And here I am.

The journey’s just beginning. There’ll be several rounds of brutal edits, copyediting, covers, line edits, promotion, blog tours, emails, communications, and a big, endlessly barrage of self-promotion and helping to bring this book to life. And that’s between writing the next two novels, shorter projects, short fiction, editing, and managing my life. It’s an on-going process, and I’m still learning how to navigate these waters. Thankfully, I’ve got a solid cornerstone of a publishing house backing me up. Hell, my editor is THE legendary Gillian Redfearn; the one who discovered Joe Abercrombie. The edits are going to be nothing less than brutal, as they should be, and I can’t wait to dig in.

Again, it’s been a life-long dream to get to this point. It’s not just a hobby that’s pair for, it’s now a job. A career change. And I’m going to love working it and I’m going to love getting STORMBLOOD (and the next two books!) out into the world. I do hope you’ll grab a copy, be it an ARC in 2019 or on wide release in Feb 2020.

And no matter what crops up, I’m going to do my best. In the end, that’s all you can really ask for.

 

Stormblood: Wheeling and Dealing Details

So. As you might have seen, I announced last month that we signed a three book deal with Gollancz for my space opera novel STORMBLOOD, as the first in a trilogy. Gollancz announced it over on their website, so it’s officially official. Here’s the blurb-in-progress for it:

Vakov Fukasawa used to be a Reaper, a bio-enhanced soldier fighting for the intergalactic governing body of Harmony against a brutal invading empire. Now, he fights against the stormtech: the DNA of an extinct alien race Harmony injected into him, altering his body chemistry and making him permanently addicted to adrenaline and aggression. It made him the perfect soldier, but it also opened a new drug market that has millions hopelessly addicted to their own body chemistry.

But when Harmony tells him that his former ally Reapers are being murdered, Vakov is appalled to discover his estranged brother is likely involved in the killings. They haven’t spoken in years, but Vakov can’t let his brother down, and investigates. But the deeper he goes, the more addicted to stormtech he becomes, and Vakov discovers that the war might not be over after all. It’ll take everything he has to unearth this terrible secret, although doing so might mean betraying his brother. If his own body doesn’t betray him first.

Stormblood is The Wire meets Mass Effect with a dash of David Cronenberg.

It seems like something that happened overnight, but in reality it is the culmination of almost 9 months worth of emails, submissions, discussions, meetings, editorials, acquisitions, and then a heavy revising between me and Gillian Redfearn, and that was before the final version passed through the editorial meeting, and then the acquisitions meeting, and then back and forth for the contracts. It’s a lot of boring stuff, which is why other people do it for me. The good news is: the deal is done, the contract is signed, and my books are going to become real books. I’m here to talk about the interesting and cool details surrounding the deal.

 

You got a book deal? That’s so cool!
Yes, yes it is.

Does it have a release date?
February 2020 is the official hardback release. It will also be available in trade paperback and mass market paperback and audio, but I do not know when.

Can I get some sort of reminder for when it’s out or available for pre-order?
The book is already on Goodreads, and can be added to your lists there. I would be very happy if you did.

Where will it be available/published?
At the moment, the book deal is only for UK/Australia/New Zealand/Ireland. It does not include the US, and as of now the book will not be published there. Making that change is next on the agenda, but not in concrete. Whichever country it is published in, it will be available in all major bookstores and chains and e-stores, as well as audiobook stores. Of course, there’s also online shopping like Book Depository for free international shipping, so US/Canada dwellers can get their hands on it easily enough.

Will there be ARCs or early preview copies?
Absolutely. It will happen sometime during 2019, although I also don’t know when. I’ve seen ARCs floating around and in the hands of reviewers up to 9 months before official release, so it could be sooner rather than later. It will be up on Netgalley and (hopefully) at cons and press releases, but I also do not know. Being with a major publisher means they handle the majority of messy, complicated itinerary like publishing, printing, distributing, formatting, that I’d otherwise have to pay for myself. It also means they know the details that I don’t. More info when I have it.

Will it be possible to get signed copies?
I’m including this because I’ve had a few folks (many from the US) ask me this. Assuming we don’t get a US deal, I visit Europe (…yes, that includes the UK too) every year and will be signing every copy I come across, will presumably be doing signings at launches, at cons, and for book specialists like Goldsboro. If owning a copy of my book with my scribbling in it makes you happy, it won’t be that hard to get. Failing that, I’m very happy to send out signed book-plates or stamps to be inserted inside the books.

Who will be narrating the book?
No idea. I’m going to fight like hell to have an English narrator (unless that person is Jonathan Banks), and I think it likely to happen. Gollancz has terrific people lending their voice boxes to bring their books to life, and I’m sure they’ll make a fine choice.

Is the book finished?
No. I have yet to go over edits. But if the edits I already received in my R&R are any indication, the edits will be very very thorough and possibly brutal. There are also some changes I want to make, too. We’ll see.

When will the sequels be out?
I’m only 37k into the first draft of the second book, so not for years. I’m hoping the sequel will be out a maximum of one year after STORMBLOOD is released, but right now I’m focusing on making the book good. Easier said than done.

What tense/PoV is the book in?
First-person, past tense.

How much was the advance?
Nope, I won’t be sharing that information. I’ve had at least three people ask me that, which is three too many. I’m happy with the advance and my contract, and that’s it.

Can I have some of it? Pretty please?
No.

Release date seems ages away. How are you not going insane?
By busying myself writing the sequels, preparing to do edits, talking with my agent and editor and the Gollancz team…and focusing on the upcoming year of self-promotion.

Who’s going to provide blurbs/cover quotes for the book?
We (bizarrely) already have authors and editors getting in the early queue to receive the book and to say something about how awesome/weird/wonderful it is and to have their words splattered across the cover. If you’re an author or editor or reviewer and would like to be one of those people, please do get in contact with me, my agent or the Gollancz team. The more the merrier.

How did you celebrate the book deal?
In style. Alcohol and zebras were involved. Attorneys, too. I shall say no more.

What’s special about it being with Gollancz?
Gollancz is the speculative fiction imprint of Orion Publishing, one of the biggest publishers in the entire world. Gollancz alone publishes Richard Morgan, Charlene Harris, Joe Abercrombie, Brandon Sanderson, as well as classics like The Forever War, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, I Am Legend, and Dune. Every Big Five publisher has been responsible for publishing landmark titles, but Gollancz’s long history and their reputation for publishing books that are often original, sweeping and dark (especially epic fantasy and space opera), while still catering to a large audience means I’m delighted to join their lists. I’d be happy with any Big Five publisher, but I always wanted to make Gollancz my home, and now I have.

Are you going to reveal more about the process of getting the book deal and going over revisions?
I will, in a future blog post. Just need to verify from relevant parties that certain info can be shared and then it’s a go.

Are you open to discussing anymore details or questions in the meantime.
Absolutely! If you’d like to chat, hit me up. There’s a lot about this industry that’s not transparent that probably should be, and I’m all for chatting about it.

THREE BOOK DEAL: Stormblood

We can finally announce this: My far-future science-fiction novel STORMBLOOD, about alien DNA that makes people permanently addicted to adrenaline and aggression is going to be published as a trilogy with Gollancz/Hachette.

Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been writing to get a novel published since forever. It’s taken years of blood, sweat and tears and revising and re-editing, but here we are. There’s too many of you to thank for helping me along the way, you know who you are. I packed so many of my passions and things I love into these books, and having them being professionally put out into the world is a dream come true and I cannot wait to introduce them all to you. This is going to take my life in a very different direction for the next few years.

One of my earliest memories as a child is going to the bookstore with my mother and picking out things I wanted to read, and soaking them up at home. Somewhere in my early teens, I found I wanted to write my own books. And every-time I went to the store, I’d tell myself that something of mine would be released here one day. I’ve never stopped believing it.

And now, miraculously, three of them are going to be.

I had tremendous fun writing this one. It’s my favourite thing I’ve ever written, and I feel it’s where I grew significantly as a writer and discovered exactly what I wanted to write, and how to do it.

I’ve always loved Gollancz as a publisher and their books they published. Now, I’ll be sharing space with the greats: Joe Abercrombie, Richard Morgan, Charlene Harris, Brandon Sanderson, and so many authors I grew up reading. I always hoped, as stupid as it was, that my books would end up with Gollancz. The dream, quite literally, came true.

I haven’t had an easy year, and the endless stress from emailing, checking in, communicating with my agent revising, editing, more emailing, over the last 8 months left me drained. But that’s past now, and not only will Gollancz be publishing my dream novel, I get to write two more.

The first book is going to be released in Feb 2020, so 2019 will be the year of self-promotion for me. Suffice to say, my writing life is going to get very interesting from here on out.

 

 

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