Welcome to my spot on the blog tour! Nemesister is written by Sophie Jonas-Hill, published by Urbane Publications.
Welcome to my spot on the blog tour! Today I have a fantabulous guest post from author Sophie Jonas-Hill about her path to publication. But first here is the blurb:
An American Gothic thriller of deception and obsession, slicked in sweat and set in the swamps of Louisiana. It’s a psychological mystery where the female protagonist stumbles into a deserted shack with no memory but a gun in her hand. There she meets an apparent stranger, Red, and the two find themselves isolated and under attack from unseen assailants. Barricaded inside for a sweltering night, cabin fever sets in and brings her flashes of insight which might be memory or vision as the swamp sighs and moans around her. Exploring in the dark she finds hidden keys that seem to reveal her identity and that of her mysterious host, but which are the more dangerous – the lies he’s told her, or the ones she’s told herself?
And now without further ado, here is Sophie’s fantastic piece on her path to publication:
My route to publication was very much like a classic thriller plot in itself, full of twists and turns, hopes raised, hopes dashed and a final way out when all seemed to be lost.
The book, now called Nemesister (which was always my first choice for a title) took me less than a month to write; in fact, the writing of it was almost the easiest thing about it. It was one of those books which just came flooding out, so fast it was harder to stop than to start it, which doesn’t happen very often. There was one ending which didn’t work, then a day later an audacious twist hit me across the face and I re-wrote the end and boom, it was pretty much there. Well, sort of.
Writers are an anxious bunch, and I was pretty insecure about daring to put pen to paper, or fingers to keys, so I was nervous about submitting it to anyone. I could go into deep psychological reasons why, but the simplest one is that when something writes itself so easily, there’s sometimes a sense that it can’t be any good – surely art has to hurt? While flipping through the internet, wondering what to do, I stumbled across one of those ‘publishers who accept unaccented work’ lists and thought hey, why not?
I could now write a much longer blog about why I shouldn’t have, but lets summarise – the publisher replied to say he wanted my book, I was gob smacked and did not read the small print. The situation was not helped that all this came along when I was dealing with some horrible personal stuff, which didn’t leave much room for serious decisions, but alarm bells made it through my emotional turmoil when the first version of my book came out on Amazon, and my good friend emailed to ask why it was full of spelling mistakes.
You should know that I’m dyslexic, which has played its part in my lack of confidence, and I’d made it clear to the publisher that this was the case. He’d said that it was perfect as it was but he’d proof read it, obviously he hadn’t. He withdrew it, corrected the spelling and it was published again and it did sell and people left good reviews, but I wasn’t happy. There were sales, lots of them according him, which was great, until he decided not to pay me any royalties from them. I’m not going to mention him or his company, but after a lot of back and forth and a prolonged silence on his part, the royalties never appeared and everybody agreed our the contract was null and void.
Emboldened by all this, I decided to send the book to agents just to see what would happen, and amazingly two of them replied on the same day – yes, really the same day – to say they were interested. I suddenly found myself in the dream position of having to chose between two amazingly successful agencies, feeling like I was walking on air. I went with one, signed a real, proper contract and let the Society of Authors look at it to make sure it was fine – always do this, learn from my mistakes – and got to work with a real editor to get the book ready for submission.
That was an amazing experience, during which I wrote whole new chapters, delved deeper and deeper into my characters and worked out some new twists and turned which made the book even better – as good as it could be.
The agent took my book to a huge range of publishers, many of whom really enjoyed it, some of whom talked about TV – all of whom turned it down on the grounds that, as a British person, I shouldn’t be writing a book set in America. We tried, we failed, and after the agent didn’t like any of my other book ideas, he dropped me.
Ahh well, that’s how it goes. But you know what, if you give up, you get no where, so what next? Next I remembered a talented writer friend of mine had published a book with Urbane books, an Indie publisher with a growing reputation, and I asked her if she thought my book might interest them? She said hell yes and so I sent it to Mathew and he did want it. He came to meet me and my three month old son – yes, life moves on a lot faster than publication – and we had tea and he wanted to publish me. He liked my original title, Nemesister, and had some really exciting ideas about how to present the book and make it a reality, and his contract was the real deal too ( thanks, Society of Authors!) and it’s actually going to happen – my twisty, turny, teasing novel is going to be a really real thing, supported by people who believe in it and me, and that’s the best thing ever, that’s my dream.
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Huge thank you to Sophie, Abby and Matthew for including me on the blog tour!