I am over the moon to be kicking off the blog tour for Jasper Kent’s latest novel, Late Whitsun.
Late Whitsun is Jasper’s first novel in his move to crime from horror.
I am delighted to be joined by Jasper today as we discuss his Road to Publication . . .
When did you first decide to get your ideas out of your head and onto paper
For me, writing was a bucket list thing, even though I’m not sure I knew the phrase back then. A friend of mine, mid-thirties, almost exactly the same age as me, died of a brain tumour. It didn’t quite remind me that life is short, but that it’s certainly finite. I don’t mean to be mawkish about it, but the correlation between his death and my starting to write is too close to ignore. He ended up, in some slight way, as the character Maksim in the novel (Twelve).
How long did that first manuscript take to perfect?
I’ve had to check the file dates, but was about seven months from starting the first draft to sending it out to people other than my friends. It would take longer than the age of the universe to perfect (stress on second syllable) because I know all too well that it will never be perfect (stress on first syllable).
How did you get it in front of publishers?
It’s an easy question, but many writers just don’t seem to get it. You send it to publishers. Check in the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and online as to whether they accept scripts direct from authors, but if they do, follow their specifications for what they want and send it. I’ve tried writing for theatre too, and believe me, publishing is a breath of fresh air. They want – they need – new material. They will read it, maybe only the first 100 pages, but they will read it.
Did you have an agent?
Yes. Having said that I applied directly to publishers, I’ve concluded in the long term that it’s better to go through an agent. It was an editor who liked but couldn’t take on my first novel who recommended me to an agent. My agent is an advisor, an editor, a publicist, and he has access to all those publishers who don’t accept directly from authors. Plus, he buys a first-rate lunch – thanks John!
What was the first reaction of people?
‘This is great, but nobody wants horror these days.’
Did the publishers want to change a lot? All? Nothing?
Somewhere in between, and nothing I seriously disagreed with. I’m used to writing collaboratively – particularly in the theatre – and so I’m familiar with having to take on board ideas from people far more invested in a work than an editor. All ideas are positive, but it has to be the author’s job to filter them.
Did you agree? Or stick to your guns and find someone else?
Yes and no, on a case by case basis. But sticking to one’s guns has never been a question of finding someone else. A good editor understands that – thanks Simon!
How long did it take from them to get it out to the public?
In the case of my first novel, a long time. Horror and particularly vampires were out of favour when I first submitted Twelve in 2004. It was only after the success of Twilight that the market changed and I finally got a deal in 2007. I was lucky to be submitting to people who realized that when the market changes, their minds can change too.
What input did you have on the cover? Font? Etc. …
Very little beyond odd details, and for me, probably quite rightly too. Nowadays I have a better idea of what covers are about and would probably want a little more input – not sure I’d get it though.
If you could do it all again, what would you change?
I’d have done it twenty years earlier.
Thanks so much for joining me today and discussing your Road to Publication . . .
Late Whitsun is available to buy on Kindle and in paperback now over at Amazon UK . . . Here’s the blurb . . .
Charlie ‘Big Bad’ Woolf thought it would be easy money, and there’s precious little of that for a private detective in a seaside town. It was just a trip up to London to hand over an envelope – a favour for his old partner, Alan O’Connor. But Woolf couldn’t resist taking a peek inside.
The pictures were unadulterated smut; a man and a girl in a hotel room. Blackmail, pure and simple – right up O’Connor’s street. Woolf was happy to be rid of them, handing them over to a masked man in a London park.
When he gets home, O’Connor’s waiting for him, which is a surprise. The bigger surprise is that he’s dead; a bullet through the eye. Woolf is the prime suspect, but when he discovers that the man in the photographs is a German diplomat and the blackmail is being run by MI5, things get more complicated.
It seems obvious who killed O’Connor, but Woolf soon realizes that he’s the only one who cares. With war looming, the good of the country counts for more than the arrest of a murderer. If he’s to see the killer caught, Charlie Woolf must prove that the crime has little to do with the world of espionage …
To be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of Late Whitsun, simply follow the rest of the tour and look out for the details
8th Dec http://www.emmathelittlebookworm.wordpress.com
9th Dec http://www.gemmasbookreviews.wordpress.com
9th Dec http://www.drainedbeauty.co.uk
10th Dec http://www.aloverofbooks.wordpress.com
10th Dec http://www.sassysworld.blogspot.co.uk
11th Dec http://www.thestationerygeekette.com
11th Dec http://www.emilysimmsblog.wordpress.com
12th Dec http://www.rockspringscrafts.com
13th Dec http://www.helpimastudent.com
14th Dec http://www.ebookaddicts.net
14th Dec http://www.tattooedmummy.co.uk
15th Dec http://www.heyitsok.co.uk
16th Dec http://www.knovelcafe.wordpress.com
16th Dec http://www.helerinablogs.com
17th Dec http://www.serenityyou.com
18th Dec http://www.seansbookreviews.wordpress.com
19th Dec http://www.bookaholicswede.blogspot.se
19th Dec http://www.tippytupps.com
20th Dec http://www.beautyandthebird.co.uk
20th Dec http://www.rachelbustin.com
21st Dec http://www.cancersuckscouk.ipage.com
About the author . . .
Jasper Kent was born in Worcestershire in 1968, studied Natural Sciences at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and now lives in Hove. TWELVE, the opening book of his historical horror series THE DANILOV QUINTET was one of the bestselling debuts of the year.
As well as writing novels, Jasper works as a freelance software consultant. He has also written several plays and musicals.
In addition to other projects, Jasper is planning two more Charlie Woolf novels: THE STALACTITE MAN and TO MUDDY DEATH.
To find out more, visit www.jasperkent.com