I had a great time chatting to W.J. Kite who is running a fantastic writing tournament for young writers aged 8-16. Find out more here… https://wjkite.com
The highlights of my audio diaries from my recent writing retreat were aired on the Dominic King show on BBC Radio Kent these last couple of nights.
The full-length diaries will be on the Bestseller Experiment podcast soon, so for more hot tub action (and insight into the writing process, of course) don’t forget to subscribe to that here!
For regular writing tips, news and other stuff to help a writer get through the day, sign-up to my monthly newsletter, and grab a FREE eBook while you’re at it!
We’ve had two cracking – a very different – episodes of the Bestseller Experiment recently. First up is a report from The Romantic Novelists’ Association conference in Leeds where I spoke to Rhoda Baxter, Nicola Cornick and Sheila Crighton (aka Annie O’Neil) about all sorts of love including instalust, passionate blur and the scale of hotness. And it was great to finally meet Rhoda Baxter (aka Jeevani Charika), who also proved the Lego image above! Listen to the podcast here.
This week’s podcast features John McGhie, an investigative journalist who has worked for the BBC, Channel 4 News and the Observer. John and I met on Whitstable beach at the peak of the football world cup at what felt like a brief moment of optimism in an otherwise politically depressing 2018. We cheer ourselves up by talking about the historical atrocities chronicled in John’s excellent new book White Highlands! No, really, it’s a fascinating episode and we cover writing historical fiction in some detail. Listen here.
And if you want to know more, the documentary that inspired John’s book can be seen here…
And last but by no means least I was once again on the Dominic King show on BBC Radio Kent in the conversation slot. We chatted about YALC, YA fiction, The End of Magic, podcasts, soundtracks and I even wheel out my Sean Connery impression. You can listen here and for my bit skip forwards to 2 hours and 11 minutes…
Here are links to stuff I talk about on the shows below…
- The Romantic Novelists Association:
- The Julie Cohen episode: http://bestsellerexperiment.com/ep31-julie-cohen/
- Find Jeevani Charika online:
- Please Release Me: https://rhodabaxter.com/my-books/please-release-me-choc-lit/
- The Martin House Children’s Hospice: https://www.martinhouse.org.uk
- The How To Get An Agent episode with Federica Leonardis: http://bestsellerexperiment.com/ep16-how-do-i-get-an-agent-federica-leonardis-sonya-lalli/
- Our episode with entertainment lawyers where we discuss literary law, privacy, libel and defamation: http://bestsellerexperiment.com/ep32-legal-eagles/
Ahead of the publication of The End of Magic (and while I wait for the dreaded edit notes to come back) I’ve been writing a short story set in the same world.
How Drust Krax Lost Two Fingers introduces the novel’s main villain Haldor Frang, and it’s told from the point of view of the hapless Drust Krax. A defeated warlord, awaiting certain death, who really, really needs to use the privvy…
I’m offering it first and exclusively to anyone who subscribes to my newsletter! To download a copy for your Kindle or any other eReader device, just sign-up here.
Please note: I’ve had all my GDPR jabs and I will never sell your information on to any third parties. It’s all safely tucked away by Mailchimp!
Big thanks to Jack Logan and Julian Barr for reading my early drafts the story, taking them down a dark alley and giving them a good kicking. Thanks also to Kit Cox for the map image used on the cover art.
I really enjoyed writing it and can’t wait to hear what you think of it!
There’s also a fab Deep Dive on adaptation this week with Julian Barr (second mention in the blog today). One of us has a PhD. It won’t take you long to figure out which one of us doesn’t… You can listen to a teaser here.
And I’m on BBC Radio Kent tonight (or in the past, depending on when you read this). I’ll be talking to Dominic King on his new arts show about the podcast, Robot Overlords, The End of Magic and more. Listen or catch-up here.
It’s been a fun week with a trip to the beach at Whitstable to interview Julie Wassmer. I had hoped to get some lovely audio atmosphere with waves lapping on shingle and gulls screeching overhead, but the tide was out so I had to settle for a gentle breeze buffeting the microphone. Fortunately, Julie is great fun to chat to and she told me all about working on EastEnders, bumping off the locals in her novels, and why all writers should live in fear of a cup of tea and bacon sandwich. Listen here.
I also got to visit Hachette’s new warehouse in Didcot. While this may not sound like everyone’s idea of a fun day out, I did get to ride on one of their pickers, which went some 25 metres in the air and the queues were shorter than Disney…
Also, if anyone’s concerned that print books are on the decline, this vast palace of storage and hi-tech distribution should allay those fears. This place was built to pump books out into the world and they’ve left plenty of room for expansion.
I finished a short story this week. It’s a prequel to The End of Magic in which we meet our antagonist. My agent Ed read it and enjoyed it, though he did have one note: “Maybe the humour could be a little less lavatorial…? But that’s probably my shit to deal with.”
I do seem to have a thing about bodily functions… What do you say? Should I take this crap?
Also, I’m going to be on the new Dominic King arts show on BBC Radio Kent next Tuesday 12th at around 8pm. He asked me to put together a montage of voices from the podcast, which I did, but I’ve also made a “Guess the voice” quiz, which you can play here…
Till next time!
We had the excellent Alex T Smith on the podcast this week. He’s one of those children’s authors who gives so much back to the community, not least when it comes to talks and interviews that are choc full of great writing tips. I was lucky enough to talk to him at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators‘ conference last year (a big thanks to the organisers for letting me crash the party!). I particularly enjoyed hearing about Alex’s influences, which included the likes of Frankie Howerd, Frank Spencer and ‘Allo, ‘Allo. Not the most obvious starting points when writing for young children, but he makes it work. It’s a fun interview and you can hear the whole thing when you click here.
In other news, my aunty Marion has a new book out! Actually, she has TWO! If you listen to the podcast regularly, you’ll know that we’ve mentioned her a few times. Her memoir was an Irish Times bestseller a few years ago, and she’s spent the time since then working on what is essentially a fictionalised version of her life, with an added dollop of romance. I’m indebted to the tireless Andy Bowden who designed the cover art, which really looks the business…
And speaking of new books… did you know that you can get 10% off when you pledge for my new book The End of Magic? Go here, click pledge and type bestsellerxp when prompted.
Till next time, happy writing!
This week’s podcast is a bit different in that we were visited by Catriona Innes, Senior Editor at Cosmopolitan UK. When I was a teen, Cosmo was the mag that you read to learn about sex when you were sure no girls were looking! But it’s evolved into something very different now and it was terrific to hear from Catriona how she’s gone undercover to expose all sorts of shady shenanigans. Cosmo is now doing what 21st century magazines do best with long form articles, thoroughly researched with a sense of perspective and objectivity.
There were also some top tips from Catriona on interview techniques that any writer could use in their work. Check it out here.
We also released another deep dive episode for our Patreon subscribers. It’s all about how to tackle second drafts, and you can listen to a wee snippet here. If you want more, do please pledge your support over on our Patreon page.
And speaking of pledging… have you signed-up to join me on the epic adventure that is The End of Magic yet?
Really happy to have spoken to Jen Williams on the Bestseller Experiment podcast this week. Not only is she an award-winning fantasy author and founder of the Super-Relaxed Fantasy Club, but she’s a jolly nice human being, too. I’ve been a fan of her stuff for a while, but if you’ve not read her before then check out The Ninth Rain, which kicks off her latest series. I’m convinced she’s invented a new genre: GrimFun – you heard it here first…
In this episode you will discover…
- Top tips for building and writing captivating characters
- When character should come before plot
- The importance of a complex villain and why even aliens have issues
- And how you can be super relaxed and meet your heroes
Oh, and don’t forget to grab a copy of our book BACK TO REALITY now!
I had great fun speaking to Holly Seddon and Gillian McAllister on the Honest Authors Podcast. I’ve been a fan of their podcast from the start, and it was fun to answer their questions about the Bestseller Experiment, not least, “Did you and the other Mark ever fall out?” LISTEN HERE or download from your podcatcher of choice to find out the terrible truth!
If you’re looking for something new to read in 2018, then grab a copy of our novel Back to Reality on Kindle now!
Late last year I was invited to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference at Winchester University, and the organisers kindly allowed me to stick my microphone under the nose of anyone passing by. As well enjoying some very instructional and inspirational panels, I got to talk to some amazing authors, including Liz Pichon, author of the bestselling Tom Gates books.
We talk about all sorts, including how she uses flowcharts to outline her stories and how The Sopranos was an influence on the Tom Gates books!
Liz was very generous with her time and I must thank the organisers of the conference for being so accommodating. There will be more interviews like this with the likes of Patrice Lawrence and Alex T. Smith and more. Subscribe to the podcast on your podcatcher of choice to make sure you don’t miss out.
If you liked that episode and want some more, we’ve started having post-podcast deep dive discussions for our Patreon supporters. And last night we had a Youtube Live show, where we answered our Patreon supporter questions. You can support us and get the extra content here.
And if you’re looking for something new to read in 2018, then grab a copy of our novel Back to Reality on Kindle now!