In exactly one year’s time you, yes I mean you, oh blessed reader-of-impeccable-taste, will be able to pop into your local bookshop and buy a copy of my debut novel, THE DEFENCE, published by the good people at Orion Books.
With a year to go there is still much to be done to the book. It still has to be copy-edited, proof-read, blessed by a dozen priests, washed, combed, de-loused and have a bat-shit-crazy-cool cover slapped on it before it can be released into the expectant world.
Will it survive when it is released from captivity? That is up to you, lovely reader (you’re looking’ so well, by the way) and it’s up to all the lovely readers out there (you’ve lost weight, haven’t you) who dwell in lovely reader land. Between now and publication day there will be more details released about the novel and the series. Yes, THE DEFENCE is the first in a series of novels featuring former con-artist, turned trial lawyer, Eddie Flynn.
The book is a legal thriller, but not in the way you might expect.
Genre is a funny thing. And sub-genre is an even funnier thing.
For example, John Grisham and Scott Turow are both classified, in the main, as writers in the Legal Thriller genre. Yet their work could hardly be more different.
Scott’s books could be better described as courtroom procedurals. Whereas Grisham mainly writes thrillers which feature lawyers and some of his more popular novels don’t involve court cases at all, eg. The Firm.
When I was writing THE DEFENCE I came across an interview with another one of my favourite writers, Jeffrey Deaver. Jeff used to be lawyer, and a damn good one at that, but he really wanted to be a writer. During his long commute on the train he would write on one of the early laptops (by all accounts a huge, unwieldy device which weighed upwards of 20lbs). One of Jeff’s earlier books was a legal thriller, but he found writing the book very difficult.
For those of you who aren’t completely familiar with Jeff’s work (and why not?) he created the Lincoln Rhyme series and is widely regarded as a master thriller writer who plots out his novels with extensive outlines before writing a single word of prose. Every Deaver fan knows exactly what they’re going to get with one of Jeff’s novels – it will move like lightning, all of the action will take place over a short space of time, there will be intricately plotted twists and turns that dazzle the reader and keep them guessing until they get to the surprise ending, and then the next surprise ending, followed, for good measure, by a third surprise ending.
In the article I found, Jeff said that the type of book he likes to write (fast-moving, ticking-clock novels filled with great action and nail-biting tension) do not lend themselves easily to a legal thriller.
When I read that, I realised that I was writing the book that Jeffrey Deaver thought would be very difficult to write. Jeffrey Deaver. The man. Damn.
A lot of coffee, alcohol, and head scratching commenced. However, I decided to stick with it because while Jeff said writing a novel like that would be difficult, he didn’t say it would be impossible. And, to be honest, I wasn’t terribly worried about the book being accepted by a publisher, at that time I just wanted to write the book.
What I set out to do with THE DEFENCE, was to create a nail-biting, ticking-clock, courtroom thriller that kicks off like a Shelby Mustang and accelerates for 400 pages. Now, to say that that was my plan is a bit of misnomer in that it wasn’t exactly planned. In fact, planning didn’t come into it. It just sort of happened that way. Because that was the book that I wanted to write.
So I was very pleased when my Dutch Editor described the book as - 24 with Jack Bauer in the courtroom.
So mark your calendars please, lovely reader, in 365 days it will be released in the UK and Ireland, followed by Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Japan and more territories to follow, I'm sure.
And do come back in the meantime – there will be competitions and giveaways between now and then. And probably some more ramblings from me.
If you’re feeling generous, don’t hesitate to pre-order on Amazon, or support your local bookshop by giving them a ring and ask them to order it for you.
And so it was.
I’m away now.
And when I return, I shall come back.