Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Jae Watson Event

Another title from Legend Press that was previously featured in Exclusively Independent is the fantastic Fragile, by Jae Watson.

Tomorrow (Thursday) night, Jae will be hosting a presentation at Amersham Library from 7:30pm, reading from her book, as well as talking about her first novel, Journey, which was book of the month November 2008 on LBC.

Fragile's blurb:

Following the breakdown of her marriage, in desperation Beth Swann uses a donor bank in her hometown of Liverpool to start her family. 18 years later, her daughter, Julia, increasingly intrigued by the identity of her biological father, goes against her mother’s wishes and returns to Liverpool to complete the jigsaw of her background. Julia finds that not only Liverpool has changed but also her character, as she is drawn into an increasingly fraught and passionate journey that will turn her life upside down.

Fragile follows the lives of Beth, Julia and Jack, Beth’s ex-husband and closest to a father figure for Julia, on a rollercoaster trip search for understanding and love – but, firstly, their identity.

So if you are free, and in the area, do pop in, for what promises to be a brilliant night!


Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Bonnie Greer on Loose Women!

Bonnie-Greer-Portraita Busy day for Bonnie, as today we were very excited to see the author of the brilliant Obama Music, on Loose Women this lunchtime. An appearance very different to Question Time, Bonnie spoke about her west end play Marilyn & Ella.

With the official launch party of 'Obama Music' tonight, we are all looking forward to further spreading the word of this fascinating book.

Order your copy of Obama Music now - £7.99 Nochexlogo_2


Bonnie Greer Launch at Sanctum Soho Hotel

Obama final coverWe will be delighted to attend a launch event tonight for Bonnie Greer's novel OBAMA MUSIC - which is showing all of the signs of being one of the hits of Christmas, as well as in the current cycle of Exclusively Independent.

Held to celebrate Bonnie's collaboration with artist Keira Rathbone on the book's wonderful cover, the event is to take place from 6-8pm at the prestigious Sanctum Hotel in Soho, London. Furthermore, a number of celebrities have been lined up to give readings and the event has been included in The Hanbook's Guide to the week!

It should be a fantastic evening and we can't wait to see this superb book go from strength to strength.


Monday, 23 November 2009

Submissions Call Now Closed!

The call for submissions has now closed!

This cycle of titles will be in store for the beginning of the new year, kicking off 2010.

Many thanks to all the publishers who submitted some great new titles, the panel are now off to do some reading!


Friday, 20 November 2009

Call Closes Monday!

The current call for submissions closes Monday, so just a reminder to get your titles in!

This call is for books that will go into shops and libraries at the beginning of January. So when readers are out and about scooping up the Post-Christmas sales, make sure your books are there!


Thursday, 19 November 2009

New Office!

Legend Press and Paperbooks have now moved office! So if you need to get in touch regarding Exclusively Independent, contact details below:

2 London Wall Buildings

Tel no: 0207 448 5137

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Sourcebooks Blog

Featured in the current cycle of Exclusively Independent is Mr Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange. Published by Sourcebooks, the book is based on Pride and Prejudice, but with an unexpected twist:

I am delighted that Mr Darcy, Vampyre has been selected for Exclusively Independent. Sourcebooks Landmark, the leading publisher of Jane Austen-related fiction, has had much success with this major release by international bestselling author Amanda Grange.

Amanda gives us something completely new—a delightfully thrilling, paranormal Pride and Prejudice sequel, full of danger, darkness and deep romantic love…Her style and wit bring readers back to Jane Austen's timeless storytelling, but always from a very unique and unusual perspective.

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre starts where Pride and Prejudice ends and introduces a dark family curse so perfectly that the result is a thrilling, spine-chilling, breathtaking read. A dark, poignant and visionary continuation of Austen's beloved story, this tale is full of danger, darkness and immortal love.

With an audio version soon to be available and translations currently underway in Italian, Spanish and Turkish – this book doesn’t show any signs of slowing down!

Anne Landa. Rights and Exports Consultant with Sourcebooks Inc.

Monday, 9 November 2009

No phone!

Legend Press and Paperbooks are moving offices at the moment, so if you are trying to get in touch re Exclusively Independent, you may have been experiencing some difficulty!

Hopefully everything will settle down over the next week or so.

In the meantime, you can contact me via email on


Friday, 6 November 2009

Matt Thomas' Blog

Matt Thomas, author of the M.I Five Series has written a blog for us, in the style of a diary entry, from one of the five main characters, Jake.

Jakes Diary

Well, that was an interesting day to say the least.

It all started innocently enough, I suppose. I was over at MI6 HQ talking to Miles Atkinson, the head of foreign intelligence, about some code breaking I'd been doing for him, when the emergency beacon on my watch went off. I had to run out of the meeting and straight over to headquarters, which I don't think Miles was too happy about.

When I got there, Alex informed me of what was going on. A new autopilot system he had been installing in Hoverpod 1 had gone haywire. Whilst Alex had his back turned, the machine had taken off without permission. The experimental flying machine was now on a joyride over London.

Thankfully, the cloaking device was on, so no Londoners were any the wiser; though by Alex's calculations the machine only had about fifteen minutes worth of fuel left. After that was used up, it would simply drop out of the sky like a stone; possibly hurting someone when it landed, not to mention leading to some awkward questions about what the hoverpod was and where it came from.

Somehow, we had to get the hoverpod to land before that happened. Sarah, Robert and I jumped into Hoverpod 2 to try and find it, whilst Chun Mai and Alex worked on overriding the autopilot programme from the computer room.

Once in the air, we found hoverpod 1 fairly easily - it was flying slowly in circles just above Soho. Unfortunately none of us had thought that far enough ahead to work out how we were actually going to get it to land.

With only about five minutes worth of fuel left, there was no time for a lengthy discussion. I noticed the side door to hoverpod 1 was open, so I asked Robert to steer our hoverpod close to the rogue machine. I opened the door to hoverpod 2, took a deep breath, and leapt across the small gap between the two. With flailing arms, I just about managed to grab hold of the passenger seat. I hauled myself in and breathed a deep sigh of relief.

My relief was short-lived, however. I realised that I was flying two thousand feet above London and would soon be plummeting earthwards, unless I could regain control.

Just then, Chun Mai's voice came over the radio. She had overriden the autopilot. Unfortunately I was almost out of fuel. I turned the hoverpod in the direction of home and gunned the engine. I knew I didn't have enough fuel to make it back, but I thought if I could build up enough speed then maybe I could coast in when the engine finally died.

A mile away from HQ, the engine started to shudder and shake as the last of the fuel worked its way through the engine. I pointed the nose cone at the roof of HQ and crossed my fingers.

I was losing altitude rapidly - it was going to be touch and go. I pulled back on the joystick as hard as I could and shut my eyes tight, as I clipped the edge of the roof and skidded along the tarmac runway towards the hoverpod hangar.

As hoverpod 2 came to a screeching halt, I gingerly opened my eyes and observed the trail of broken bits of hoverpod behind me.

Alex was going to have a hard time fixing this.


Thursday, 5 November 2009

'Music is what Obama is' - Bonnie Greer

Last night there was a short film screening for Obama Music on BBC 4, BBC America and BBC World!

Click here to see on World News America from the BBC.


Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Kitty Harris' Blog

Included in the previous round of Exclusively Independent was Kitty Harri's novel Hector's Talent for Miracles from Honno Press...."an intelligent and sympathetic exploration of the lasting damage done to survivors of war." Planet

My novel HECTOR’S TALENT FOR MIRACLES has its roots in two countries which have shaped my life. Born in Sweden, I grew up in Spain. As a young adult I emigrated to Canada but a decade later found myself living in Wales, and now, coming full circle, have returned to live in Spain.

During my years in Wales, I became aware of a poignant historical connection between Wales and Spain. During the 1930s, the decline of the Welsh coal industry had turned South Wales into an area of massive unemployment. It was named “The Devil’s Decade” and was notorious for its poverty, deprivation, means testing, soup-kitchens and general despair. There were few other industries and people starved. Meanwhile, the Communist Party in South Wales grew strong.
At the start of the Spanish Civil War, the situation in Wales was catastrophic, unemployment in some areas reaching 70%. The greed of pit owners, and the marginalization of Wales within the UK, turned South Wales into a seething cauldron of bitterness and frustration. So it was that a large number of Welshmen went to Spain to join the International Brigades, fighting what they saw as the universal oppressor, those who exploit the working man.

From the many personal accounts and memoirs by ordinary Welshmen, it is now evident that, as well as a sense of loyalty and strong ideological motivation, a spirit of adventure compelled many of these frustrated young men to join the fight for a free Spain. It proved as good a reason as any to leave the grim and poverty-stricken Welsh valleys behind.

Geraint Watkins, the Welshman of my novel, embodies all these impulses. But not long after having fought in the battle of Jarama he vanishes without a trace, leaving his family with no further news of his whereabouts or his death. As his body is never recovered, his reputation is blackened by rumours of desertion.

Seven decades later, Mair, his granddaughter, takes up an interest in his fate and not believing he was a deserter, she becomes obssessed with the idea of wanting to clear his name. She quits her dreary job as a country vet and makes the journey to the small town of Torre de Burros, the place where Geraint was last seen, in an attempt to discover the true reason for his disappearance. This journey turns into a quest that will change her life.

In Torre de Burros she meets Hector, the main character of my novel. Hector is based on a real person from my youth. I attended school in Spain, and there I had a friend whose uncle was considered simple. He lived a comfortable life with his sister and her family, never having held down a job or being useful in any way. But there was something about him that always intrigued me. The look in his eye was disconcerting and slightly sinister - but far from stupid.

One day I accidentally ventured into a very seedy part of the city (Las Palmas) where I would normally never go, and spotted this man playing chess at a table outside a bar. Observing him at a distance, I learned to my astonishment that he was not who everyone thought he was. He was a highly articulate and fully functioning man, and from the comments of the onlookers, a chess prodigy. His family knew nothing of this double life that he led, and I was so shocked and fascinated by his amazing deception, I never said a word to anyone about what I had discovered.

His secret has stayed with me and stirred my imagination enormously. So it was fitting that, forty years later, I came to write a novel about him. Hector’s alleged inadequacy, however, is a legacy brought down by events in the Civil War. Not conscious of why he is acting out the “village idiot” persona, his thoughts and actions were, from an early age, carefully and disturbingly molded by Pilar, his grandmother. She carries a dark secret which has had devastating consequences for her offspring. Hector’s journey towards emancipation must include looking deeply into the past and uncovering the event that made him who he is. Falling in love with Mair is the catalyst for this powerful transformation.

In the process, Mair also finds the answers to the mystery surrounding Geraint, but none that she could possibly have expected. Though from such different countries, backgrounds and cultures, Hector and Mair discover how deeply affected their lives are by the same historical event. Ultimately the compelling revelation of Pilar leads to a resolution for them both.

The main theme of my novel is the long-term effect of war on individuals. Particularly, like in this case, a war as vicious and devastating as any that followed, a war fought within families, fathers against sons, brothers against brothers, within neighbours and friends.

It is a disturbing subject, often exceedingly violent and to some, taboo. I hope I have balanced out with a quirky set of characters, imbued it with blossoming romance, a craze for miracles, and lifted it into the light by a large helping of humour.


Monday, 2 November 2009

Andrew Sharp's Blog

The Ghost's of Eden by Andrew JH Sharp is featured in the current cycle of Exclusively Independent. This is a superb epic about love, medicine and cultural identities with a huge African and European cast which concludes on the shores of the Indian ocean.

Here's a word from Andrew, on the novel, and being included in EI.

What’s it about? It’s the first question a writer is asked concerning their in-progress novel. Is it a thriller - should beta-blockers be taken before opening? Is it a romance - will my mascara be ruined? Crime fiction? Must I look for clues? Is it funny – will I laugh out loud on a train? That would be embarrassing. Is it literary fiction – will I look erudite if I pretend I’m reading it?

I used to reply that it’s ‘about two men who fall in love with the same woman’, or ‘it’s about a missionary’s child who kills his friend’, or ‘it’s about a herd boy who becomes a bandit’. If I wished to give a one word answer I would say its theme is ENTRAPMENT, or perhaps OBSESSION, or LOVE – and hope that I did not sound pretentious. The truth is that the edifice of a novel is wide enough and deep enough to encompass many interweaving stories and more than one theme. Full length fiction can hold dozens of textures and resonances; enough to display the far reaches of the imagination.

Now that it’s been published The Ghosts of Eden is no longer my own. I can be contradicted on what it’s about. Readers are keen to tell me what they see, what the experience of reading the novel meant to them: ‘about cross-cultural misunderstanding’, ‘a portrayal of dyslexia’, ‘a polemic against religion’, ‘a story about the dawning of faith’, ‘all about buried grief’, ‘very funny at times’. And then there was someone who said, ‘there’s a comma missing in the first paragraph on page …’ For other readers’ views see the People's Book Prize. We bring our own preoccupations to our reading.

Virginia Wolf wrote that ‘the writers who have most to give us often do most violence to our prejudices’ and suggested that on the first reading of a novel we should not impose our own designs on the author. So we should let Jane Austin be Jane Austin, Dickens be Dickens and Dan Brown be Dan Brown. It is only after reaching the last page, she said, that we should give names to the impressions that the book has left; and then we can turn to others, in reading groups or in reviews, to compare our own experience with theirs.

Wolf went on to write that the reader becomes part of the creative process: by their approval, disapproval, encouragement, the writer can listen and learn, and so improve their art. By helping to promote new books to readers the Exclusively Independent initiative can proudly claim to be helping to spin that potter’s wheel of creativity in which the writer finds that the reader has their hands on the other side of the piece on the wheel, and so is helping to shape their work.