Hello, all you Quaint folks,
I’m one of the lucky types of writers that don’t suffer from writer’s block – in fact, quite the opposite – which nonetheless sometimes causes me to stall. The first 4 books in the Cornelius Quaint Chronicles are all done and dusted, bar the editing, and March 4th sees the release of book 2, in the series – THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE – which is something that I’m really excited about as it’s so good, modest though I usually am (to a fault).
Don’t get me wrong, I love what I achieved with THE EQUIVOQUE PRINCIPLE, and even with its rough edges, it’s still something that I’m proud of. It was my first published piece of work, so naturally it should hold a place in my heart. But the funny thing is that I’m now focused on book 2, and getting it out there and seeing whether it gets the reaction and response that I wish for. If it gets promoted properly, and the word of mouth keeps the momentum going, it will hopefully go down well. It will also answer a few questions about where the series is going as a whole. Due to its plot and setting, EQUIVOQUE got grouped with other books in the Victorian detective thriller genre, whether they might be Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, the Erast Fandorin books, or the Lucifer Box books. That’s fine. Being labelled like that helps the retailers and publishers categorise the book, and so making it easier to market and promote. But I never intended to write Victorian fiction. I intended to write a story which happened to be set in the Victorian era, and although you might think they’re one and the same, to me as the originator of the story, they are not.
But when THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE is released, hopefully people will see beyond the labels, and see it for what it is – namely, just a plain old-fashioned adventure story with lots of twists and turns, perilous exploits and derring do. My publisher in his wisdom has seen fit to promote a tag on the book similar to the Boris Akunin tag on the first book – which was basically, if you didn’t think that THE EQUIVOQUE PRINCIPLE was as good as an Akunin book, you could send off and get your money back. To my knowledge, only one person felt that they would take him up on it (rather than doing what most human beings with a conscience would do and simply donate it to a charity shop, but there’s always one). Now, let’s be clear – I didn’t make that statement. It’s not me saying that I’m as good as Akunin, because in my view I’m not, – not yet…but Equivoque might just have been as good as Akunin’s first ever published novel, who’s to judge? Once again it helps to ‘label’ the book into an identifiable home from a retail perspective.
With THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE my publishers (The Friday Project/HarperCollins) are doing the same thing, this time with a tag that says the book is as good as the Flashman books by George Macdonald Fraser, or your money back. Now, I’ve not ever read any Flashman books, so I can’t confirm or deny the accolade, but of course, as a red-blooded male in my late-thirties, I am aware of the series as a literary entity. So, comparisons aside, I am far more confident of what I have achieved this time around, and just like all good sequels should be, everything is bigger and better.
Come March 4th, I do hope you’ll come along for the ride and prove me right.