Thursday, 25 February 2010

Bonnie Greer at W'stones Piccadilly

9781906558246 On 4 February, Waterstones Piccadilly hosted 'In Conversation with Bonnie Greer', a fantastic event where Bonnie was able to talk about her book Obama Music, and sign copies.

Click here to view footage to the Winkball site, who kindly interviewed Bonnie. They have provided a great insight into what Bonnie's inspiration was for Obama Music, and some of the themes in her work.


Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Exclusively Independent New Titles!

Into a new cycle for Exclusively Independent, and we now have the top ten titles:

Hajj (Garnet Publishing)
London Deep by Robin Price and Paul McGrory (Mogzilla)
Roy the Eagle by Kate O'Sullivan and David Harfield (Loose Chippings Books)
London Plaques (Shire)
Sticklers, Sideburns and Bikini's by Graeme Donald (Osprey)
City-lit Berlin (Oxygen Books)
Blues for Shindig by Mo Foster (Paperbooks)
The Cheesemonger's Tales by Arthur Cunynghame (Loose Chippings Books)
How to Paint the Masters: Van Gogh by Michael Sanders (Search Press)
In Dependence by Sarah Ladipo Manyika (Legend Press)

A great new selection, due to be in shops 10 March.


Monday, 22 February 2010

Submissions Call Now Open!

The new cycle for Exclusively Independent is now open!

Publishers can submit up to three titles, simply providing the title AI as well as ms via email - see address below.

Over the last year we have worked with some fantastic publishers, bringing attention to worthwhile talent that so often goes unnoticed.

Don't miss out on the chance to highlight brilliant titles, and celebrate independent talent.


Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Pauline Rowson's Blog - Part Two

Continuing on from yesterday's piece, here is the rest of Pauline's blog...

How do you research your novels?

At the same time as working on characters and plots I am conducting the research for the novel. This is done by talking to experts, consulting the Internet and relevant books, and of course visiting the police. However, once I have the basics of the plot, characters and research I can’t wait to start the creative writing process with an urge to complete it as quickly as possible. In fact, I often wish I could brain dump straight on to the computer without having to touch the keyboard. I then continue the research process as I write. On the first draft I often don’t know the ending or even ‘who done it’ because the whole novel doesn’t come alive until Horton starts investigating and gets into all sorts of trouble as a result.
Plots and revisions

As I write, the plot becomes more and more interesting and complex, full of twists and turns so much so that I often tie myself up in knots! That’s when I need to stop writing and do some more hard thinking. I need to revisit the plot (or even re-invent it) to ensure that what I am actually creating is believable, exciting and full of tension.

Once the first draft is complete the revisions begin. Writing a crime novel also takes fantastic organisational skills because all the bits of the plot and sub plots need to add up. If you change one thing on revisions then you find you have to change everything.

How do you feel when you tap out the immortal words THE END at the completion of a novel?

Well, it really depends on which draft I am writing. After the first draft there is a feeling of elation - I have finally managed to reach THE END after bashing out, as quickly as I can, somewhere between 80,000 to 100,000 words. With the second draft comes a greater sense of satisfaction that all the ends are beginning to tie up neatly. The third and fourth drafts fine tune the novel and by the time I’ve reached the fifth and sixth I’m beginning to know it backwards, up side down and inside out and can no longer see where the glaring holes are – time to get a second opinion from my editor.

But always, no matter how many drafts it takes to get to the final version, when I reach THE END I feel a shiver up (or should that be down?) my spine. This can be a shiver of satisfaction or excitement or both, and if I feel that then hopefully my readers will feel it too.

A big thank you to Pauline for writing this fantastic blog, we hope you enjoyed it! Have a look here to see some of Pauline's other titles.


Monday, 15 February 2010

Pauline Rowson's Blog - Part One

Featured in the current cycle of Exclusively Independent is Pauline Rowson's Deadly Waters (Fathom - Rowmark).

Over the next two days, I'll be posting up a piece that Pauline has written purely for the site. Not only does the piece provide a fantastic insight into crime writing as a whole, but Pauline also describes the inspiration behind her work, and also how she feels upon each novel's completion.

What makes a good crime novel?

Ask this question of crime fiction fans and you'll get varied answers. Some like the gritty gruesome, others prefer cozy comfortable. Some enjoy a literary style crime novel, others a racy, action-packed page turner. Reading about exotic locations turns some readers on whilst others enjoy 'home spun' tales. Then there's historical or contemporary, detective or private eye, male protagonist or female... But all crime fiction fans will agree they want great, believable characters and a cracking good plot. Saying this is easy, writing and delivering it time and time again is more difficult. But then that's the challenge and the enjoyment of writing.

Creating and developing a complex main character that the reader can have empathy with is vitally important. The reader must want to trust the hero or heroine, feel his/her pain and disappointments and root for him/her throughout the novel. And it's not just the main character but the supporting cast, the villains and the walk-on roles that all need characteristics that are believable even if they are eccentric. The cast must be real to the writer and therefore they will be real to the reader.

When I first started writing fiction I wrote from the female character's point of view but often found myself wanting to switch to the male point of view. It wasn't until I started writing
Tide of Death and introduced Inspector Andy Horton that I found my 'voice' as they call it in writing parlance. Once I started writing from the male point of view everything began to fall into place. I also found I preferred to write from the single person point of view, which means you follow the story through the eyes of Andy Horton in my marine mystery crime novels and through Adam Greene in my thriller, In Cold Daylight and Alex Albury in In For The Kill. When people ask me why I write from the male character's point of view I often joke that maybe it's because I’m a closet man. But seriously, I don’t know and I don't think it matters, it's just the way I write and if people enjoy it - great!

Where do you get your ideas from?

Ideas for novels come from a variety of sources: overheard conversations, stories relayed by others, personal experience, locations and the news. The idea for In Cold Daylight came from an overheard conversation in the fire station where my husband was a fire-fighter. In For The Kill was sparked by a visit to the Isle of Wight and seeing the signs for the prisons. Tide of Death, The Suffocating Sea, Deadly Waters and Dead Man’s Wharf are all inspired by locations around the coast of Portsmouth, Hayling Island and the Solent, where these novels are set.

From the basic idea I ask myself a series of open questions, for example in Deadly Waters, a woman’s body is discovered on an abandoned Mulberry in the middle of Langstone Harbour. Who is she? How did she get there? How was she killed? When and by whom? Why would someone want to kill her? Money is found wrapped up in honey in her pocket–why? What can it mean? It's only by continually asking open questions such as who, what, where, when, how and why can I begin to flesh out the characters, the theme and the plot. Sometimes I run down blind alleys, sometimes one idea or question sparks another.

Have a look tomorrow to read more from Pauline.


Thursday, 11 February 2010

Deadly Waters by Pauline Rowson

Deadly Waters by Pauline Rowson is a fascinating and gripping murder case, with complex and intricate plots and twists and turns along the way. Here is video footage of Pauline reading an extract from her book.

When a woman, the head teacher of a struggling local school, is found brutally murdered in Langstone Harbour DI Andy Horton is appointed to lead the investigation – but not for long if Superintendent Uckfield has his way. Horton is given only a week to find the killer, after that he will be shunted off the case. Horton now has a point to prove as well as a complex murder case to solve. A note was found on the victim – Have you forgotten ME? – along with money wrapped up in a five-pound note and smothered with honey. Is there a clue in ‘The Owl and the Pussy-cat’ rhyme? Is it simply
a senseless murder by an unhinged killer or does someone close to the head have a motive for murder?

As Horton delves deeper into the investigation, aided by Sergeant Cantelli, the tension mounts. With the clock ticking Horton is soon forced to take a decision that will put his life on the line...

To visit Pauline's official website where you can view additional videos, and keep up with her blog, click here.


Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Empires Apart by Brian Landers

Brian Landers, author of Empires Apart (Picnic Publishing) hosted a talk at Nonsuch School, 8 December 09.

Click here to view a video of Brian's visit, covering a wide subject area, the nature of American and Russian Imperialism.

Published in April last year, the book covers the history of America and Russians from the Vikings to the present day.


Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Paddy Kelly - Operation Underworld

Operation Underworld by Paddy Kelly was published 3 October 2009, by Legend Press. Based on a true story, the book uncovers the truth behind the controversial sinking of the T.L.S Normandie in 1942.

Here is a video of Paddy himself, at the launch in Ireland, acting out a scene from the book.

February,1942: T. L. S. Normandie, the world's most famous luxury liner of the time, has just been set alight and burned to the water-line in New York Harbor initiating widespread panic in fear of German saboteurs. In one of the most controversial decisions of the war, Naval Intelligence opts to approach the only people who can help: the New York Mafia. In the midst of all the double-dealing and uneasy alliances, Mike ‘Doc’ McKeowen, a New York PI, is drawn into events much larger than even he can suspect.

Casting light on the Federal Government’s links with organized crime and how the Boss of Bosses, Charlie 'Lucky' Luciano, laid the cornerstone of the International Drug Cartel, it becomes clear what the Sicilians mean when they say, ‘Due Facce della stessa Medaliglia’.

Titanic was an act of carelessness. Lusitania was an act of war.
Normandie was an act of genius.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Submissions Call Now Closed!

The submission call is now closed!

Many thanks to all the publishers that submitted titles for the cycle. The titles are being collated and distributed to the panel.

The panel meeting is 19 February, when the ten titles will be chosen as the new selection for Exclusively Independent.

Check back here on the 19th, to see the new list!


Thursday, 4 February 2010

Ghosts of Eden Launch

Featured just before Christmas last year, was the fantastic The Ghosts of Eden by Andrew Sharp (Picnic Publishing).

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. Michael Lacey, the child of missionaries, and Zachye Katura, tending cattle for his father in the grasslands of Kaaro Karungi, are happy in their childhood idyll. However, the world around them is changing, propelling them towards tragedy. Haunted by grief and guilt, they grow up severed from their families and ancestral heritage. When they both fall for the same enigmatic woman they must face their past and hear their ancestors if they are to make their way in the modern world. This is a cross-cultural, cross-racial love story with a spectacular East African setting and contemporary worldwide themes of the effects of rapid cultural change.

Click on the image below to view some pictures from the launch in Zimbabwe.

The launch in Zimbabwe of Dr Andrew Sharp's fabulous THE GHOSTS OF EDEN

Many thanks to Corinne for supplying the images.


Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Nick Griffiths - In the Footsteps of Harrison Dextrose

Here on the Exclusively Independent blog, we are hoping to make the site more interactive. While we are extremely grateful to each of the authors/publishers who have written blogs, we wanted to provide a bit more of an insight, into the book as a whole.

To kick off, below is some video footage for In the Footsteps of Harrison Dextrose by Nick Griffiths (Legend Press).

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Stephanie Tillotson, Editor of Cut on the Bias

Chosen as one of the new EI titles, is Cut on the Bias (Honno Press). This is a delightful selection is: a Haute Couture collection designed to reflect the complex relationships between women and the clothes they stand up in. Stephanie Tillotson, Editor of Cut on the Bias, has graciously provided us with a blog detailing a 'behind the scenes' snapshot into the formation of such a unique collection.

Personally, I’m not what you would call a ‘dedicated follower of fashion’. I can’t remember the last time I bought ‘Vogue’ or ‘Cosmo’ and I’ve never seen Gok Wan on anything other than a poster outside one of our more famous high street chains. My idea of image was changing the buttons on a charity shop garment or routing about in my mother’s left over balls of wool. I wasn’t one of those who were ‘born to shop’ and, to be honest with you, now I can only just remember why I suggested we take fashion and image as the theme for an forthcoming anthology of fictional short stories – but I’m glad I did.

When the call for submissions was put out for writers to send in their stories for inclusion in a collection called ‘Cut on the Bias’, it was 2007 and the economy was still booming. Cash registers and credit cards were groaning across the length and breadth of the country. Then, as now, celebrity had become the new heaven, the place where existence was perfect - and the entrance key was image. It was like Alice in Wonderland: buy this and you could be bigger, eat this and you could be smaller, drink this and you could be younger, sexier, more popular. Yes, right; in an adman’s bank balance! And although it was madness, people were having fun!

Dressing up is fun; make-believe is fun! It’s something to do with hats and wigs and shoes and handbags, yes and changing the buttons to get it just right. There is a childish delight in disguise what many of us share and I suspect that is why I was interested in stories about women and the clothes they wear. Not only does ‘Cut on the Bias’ show the work of writers trying to make sense of the shapelessness of human experience but it features authors, each one of whom has understood that the question “What shall I wear today?” is really, “Who shall I be today?”.

So, taking image as the central metaphor for transformation, all the stories included weave colourful pictures full of humour and joy, love and friendship, illness and grief, of unfulfilled lives and ugly ducklings that discover their own way of becoming beautiful swans. One story asks what you wear to meet the mother who gave you up at birth; another tells of the death of a long dead, beloved brother; a third describes the wardrobe full of armour that a modern politician must learn to wear. There are, of course, stories that explore our very human fascination with celebrity and the worlds of fashion, marketing and advertising. Others are rites of passage – a wayside bomb in Afghanistan rips a soldier’s life apart; a young woman with Down’s syndrome decides to face the future with confidence and someone is even prepared to gamble all for that pair of ruby slippers.

Yes, well, maybe I do remember why I thought editing an anthology of short stories about fashion and image would be a good idea. Maybe I lied earlier – because, of course, if naked is the truth then clothes are lies, fictions that touch us closely, intimately, making contact with our most sensitive parts: clothes, as we know, are sexy too. So after all the reading of submissions; selecting of stories for the collection; conversations via email and phones; the editing and re-editing; the copy-editing, proof-reading and printing, enter the super-model of the season – ‘Cut on the Bias’. After all, when everything is said and done and gone, nothing survives but the stories we tell.