It's been a bit of a weird day. There's a little part of me that's in shock at WE ARE THE DEAD going down so well and having an agent again. I think that I'd prepared myself for another "It's good but not great" notes. I keep rereading Rob's email and basking in hsi praise. For today, I'll allow myself to believe I can do this.
I went over my initial notes for WATD. 15 pages of the stuff. Amazing how much has changed from that initial idea and how much hasn't.
As I set down to brainstorm with myself, these were the first things I jotted down:
"What do I want to write?
Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Or a mix some how?
I like swords and magic – ninja type stuff – samurai
What do I read? 90% fantasy.
Favourite books – fantasy – Painted Man, First Law, GoT, Nevernight, Prince of Thorns"
I'd been flirting with the idea of writing a sci-fi book but the reality was that I didn't actually read much sci-fi. Kameron Hurley's God's War trilogy, Pierce Brown's Red Rising books and James S.A. Corey's Expanse series but not much else. So fantasy got the winning vote. And I love Samurai stuff. I have done since I was about 14 and saw Enter The Ninja and Shogun for the first time. So another no-brainer. From there, the Shulka were born.
Then I wrote: "Empire ruling all. Stormtroopers/knights in faceless helms/Skeletons? “Watch your back. The f@#$ing Skulls’ll come kicking your door in and then you’ll never be seen again”."
And I was off....
I also spent a little while rereading this blog and looking back at the journey I've been on since I last signed with Rob... Talk about a rollercoaster ride. Life's tough but you gotta have dreams to keep you going.
I have an agent again.
I am now represented by Robert Dinsdale of The Independent Literary. Rob is just a great guy. He was my agent a few years back when I started on HE WHO FIGHTS but looking back then I really wasn't ready.
Since then I've had some brushes with other agents, most of which weren't great, so he was the only person I sent WE ARE THE DEAD to. I really really wanted him to like it.
Today I got this email:
"I had a great morning in the park finishing up We Are The Dead: sun shining, smell of the estuary on the breeze, limbs being hacked off, torture, radicalised orphans turning good, explosives sundering Kiyosun... all the good stuff."
It was quite the best response I could have hoped for. He also said: "it's pacy, gritty, it feels fresh and new and, more importantly, the prose is just about spotless. It fizzes with energy and I've had an absolute blast reading it."
Not bad eh? There's work to be done obviously but I believe I've got the right partner helping me with this and I am really excited about what happens next.
WE ARE THE DEAD is with my old agent at the moment. I'm quite nervous about someone reading it. I'd given it to my father to read but he gave up after a few chapters. "It's a bit too grim for me," he said. On hearing that, my wife also declined a copy to read.
So Rob gets first read. He sent me a quick email the other day that said: "Early days with it but it is certainly really confidently written and there is something tantalising and modern about this concept!"
I've also got a lot of notes written down at my next attempt at Nathaniel Rane. I love the concept and really want to nail it this time.