Jonathan Pinnock - Writer of Stuff


Category: Novels

Spelk, The Nottingham Review and Other Stuff

A casual viewer of this blog over the last few months would scarcely guess that it’s been running pretty much continuously for seven and a bit years. Time was when I’d be constantly bombarding you with reports about things I’d had accepted or published, to say nothing of the occasional interview or even a review or two. I recently got invited to a couple of events for book bloggers at the Groucho Club, and I felt too embarrassed to go because it’s been so long since I last reviewed anything here.

Still, even though the blog is a bit thin on the ground, I have been writing stuff. TTAAAP is now over 77000 words long and is nearing the final showdown. I’d love to share some nuggets of information about the process I’m going through with it, but it feels a bit presumptuous to do so. I still feel like a complete beginner with this. Perhaps I always will. One thing I can say is that I had a massive wobble last week when I discovered a plot hole the size of a small crater and it seemed like I was going to have to unpick a considerable part of the book in order to fix it. Fortunately, I managed to find an acceptable way of filling it, and I think I can now see my way to the finish. Just one detail to sort out, and we’re done. Then one last edit, and it’s over to the beta readers.

In the meantime, I’ve had a couple of acceptances for short stories. My cheeky little ultra-short, “Graffiti”, has been taken by Spelk, and my slightly longer story, “Phosphorescence”, has been taken by The Nottingham Review. “Phosphorescence” was actually shortlisted in the 2012 Bridport Prize under the name “The Joy Inside”, but it’s been struggling to find a nice home ever since. I’m quite fond of it, even if I still don’t quite understand it. You’ll see what I mean when it gets published.

Some Rather Important News

embracebookslogo_reasonably_smallPeople who follow me on Twitter may have spotted this rather enigmatic tweet that appeared late last Wednesday afternoon. Time to explain, I guess.

The reason for my tweet was that I’d just put the phone down after a rather significant conversation with Steve Haynes of Proxima Books. Steve is the editor responsible for this new science fiction and fantasy imprint within Salt Publishing and he’d just called me to tell me that Proxima were very keen to publish “Mrs Darcy vs The Aliens” in print in the summer of 2011. Not only that, but Salt themselves are very excited and intend to throw their whole weight behind the project!

This has all happened remarkably quickly. My initial submission to Proxima of the prologue plus first three chapters (equivalent to 15 episodes of the online serialisation) went in precisely a month ago, on October 15th. I did this hours after spotting a tweet from Jane Holland, the lady in charge of Embrace Books, the sister imprint to Proxima, calling for submissions. Steve Haynes got back to me a few days later with a whole slew of comments, saying that if I could address these, he would be very keen to see the whole manuscript.

At this point, the main problem was that I was still around 10000 words short of the end, but it was too good an opportunity to miss, so I knuckled down and bashed out the remaining words at near-nano rate, made the edits and re-submitted just over a week later. After an agonising wait, I got an e-mail to say that they loved the manuscript, which was followed by an even more agonising wait whilst I waited to hear if it was going to be a digital-only or a print publication. Then last Wednesday I got a voicemail asking me to call Steve because he had some good news for me – and the news was that it was indeed going to have a proper print run.

It’s hard to describe just how excited I am about this. Ever since I bought my first Salt book, I’ve wanted to be a Salt author, because their books are just so damned good in every respect. It is, however, more than a little weird to imagine that something as daft as Mrs Darcy is going to be published by them. Unbelievably cool, though.

The other thing that I’m excited about is that my editor at Proxima seems to like the book for all the right reasons and he really does seem to be someone I can work with. And in many ways, Proxima is just the right place for Mrs Darcy – a science fiction and fantasy series with the Embrace Regency romance imprint as its next-door neighbour.

But the thing that I’m really pinching myself about is that for once in my life I seem to have set out towards a goal, devised my own pretty unconventional tactics for getting there and somehow made it. What a strange year it’s been, eh?

Oh, and I nearly forgot. Meanwhile back at Rosings, there are some misunderstandings