Sunday, 5 June 2011

A Time of Firsts

It's been a time of firsts lately. In the past couple of months, leading up to the launch of The Drop, I have been interviewed by newspapers, magazines and radio programmes and I've read reviews of The Drop in a dozen publications or on line, all of them, thankfully, very positive, including wonderful reviews in The Times and New York Journal of Books. I've done signings in branches of Waterstones and public readings of my book at Bookstock and the launch party, in front of dozens of close friends. All of these have been slightly terrifying experiences, the latter requiring copious amounts of alcohol beforehand, to give me the courage to read from The Drop to people I have known and cared about for years, but all went really well on the night.

When you are a writer you spend endless hours on your own, trying to create something readable out of one original germ of an idea that you hope, and I stress the word hope, someone will like when you are finally finished wrapping 90,000 words around it. The trouble is, you become so close to your work while writing it, editing it, rewriting it and re-reading it countless times that you end up not really knowing if it's any good or not. In other words you can't see the wood for the trees. That's why it's important to have a few loyal friends to not only take the trouble to read your book but also give you some positive feedback. This acts as the reassurance insecure writers need to keep them going.

While you are writing your book you barely dare to hope that someone will want to publish it one day and then, when it does happen, you can scarcely believe it. The time between shaking hands on a publishing deal and seeing your finished book on the shelves flies by but you must try to enjoy it because there are some lovely moments along the way. When I launched the book in Waterstones Metro Centre branch in Gateshead, friends I had not seen since my school days 25 years ago turned up to buy copies and wish me well. My old primary school teacher, from thirty odd years back, phoned the branch in Newcastle when I was signing there, as he’d seen me in the local paper. He called for a chat about the days when I used to play (badly if I’m honest) for his school football team and asked me for a signed copy. I’ve been on Radio Newcastle and Radio Leeds, where I was interviewed by my old and very close friend Adam Pope, who hosts the morning show. Adam and I were at Huddersfield Poly together 24 years ago and I told him then that one day I would become a writer. He kindly interviewed me on his show about the long journey to publication. I think, as much as anything, to ask me why it had taken me so long to get round to it! In all seriousness it was a big and quite emotional day for both of us.

Adam was one of many friends who took the trouble to attend the launch party for The Drop. It was a fantastic evening and the room seemed full of goodwill (or was I just drunk?). It is a quite surreal thing to sign copies of your book for your friends (including my good mate Imogen on the pic below) but it is one of the nicest experiences a writer can have. It also gave me the chance to publicly thank a few very deserving people like my fantastic publishers at No Exit, my terrific agent Phil Patterson at Marjacq and the friends who kept me going with their faith, when publication seemed as likely a prospect as dinner with Cameron Diaz…or Newcastle winning the Champions League…three years running. Finally, I got to thank my lovely wife Alison for putting up with all of those hours of writing and years of near misses before The Drop finally appeared in print. It was nice to see her having as much fun that night with all of our friends as I did, because she bloody deserved it.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Busy, busy busy....

I can't believe it has been so long since I have had the chance, or should I say the time, to write here. Where have the weeks gone? Blink and you miss them. It seems crazy to say I am more busy now the book is complete than when I was actually writing it but it's true and there are a number of good reasons for this.

The first is a condition one of my writer friends describes as 'Death by Proofs'. This is the process where a writer and the publisher's readers and copy editors go through the entire manuscript with a fine tooth comb, looking for mistakes then correcting them before publication. Then they do it again and again and again. More than anybody, I want the final version of 'The Drop' to be as perfect as I can make it. The published version will be out there on offer to a wide readership and I don't want any embarrassing errors. However, I have now lost count of the number of times I have read the blooming thing from beginning to end and I think it is true to say that sometimes you can get a bit too close to your own work. So much so that you can no longer see the wood for the trees and you just want the whole painful process to be over. We eventually concluded the 'Final, final, final version' of 'The Drop' last week and I sent it off for publication late one evening. The next day I felt like I'd been liberated. Now I can look forward to the day when the completed book finally drops through my letter box.

It hasn't all been tedious proof reading however. This being-a-writer lark can be a lot of fun. I've done a couple of interviews already; for 'Crime Time' magazine and 'Writing' Magazine, who profiled me as a 'new author' that could give tips to other budding writers. At first I felt like a bit of a phoney. What advice could I possibly offer other people I wondered? Then I realised that I had indeed 'made it' in their eyes. I am not being flash here and I certainly don't mean 'made it' in the rich and famous sense, but more that I had somehow managed to overcome the very long odds against being published. Once I'd realised that, the tips were easier to come up with. For the record, they included getting an agent, which isn't easy, and a far simpler one of watching less TV. Most people could write a trilogy in the time they spend viewing soaps and reality Telly.  

With 'The Drop's publication date fast approaching, I have signed up for a bunch of events to go out and tell the world all about my book. Waterstones will be holding a launch even in Newcastle and the Metro Centre and I'll be signing 'The Drop' in the St Albans branch. I'm really looking forward to 'Bookstock' in London and 'Crimefest' in Bristol and we are going to have a little party in Welwyn to celebrate the launch itself. After all, you only get to be a debut author once, so it's worthy of commemoration and there a lot of people I want to thank on the night. This will be the perfect excuse to buy them all a drink.

There is a full list of my events on the link to my publisher's web site below. If you are in the area pop along and say hello.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Extract from 'The Drop' - now on-line

My publisher 'No Exit' has put an extract from 'The Drop' on their web page.
In these pages, David Blake goes to see drug dealer Billy Warren with his enforcer Finney. There they encounter one of the Premiership's finest in the middle of a coke deal.

Great First Reviews for 'The Drop'

The first reviews of 'The Drop' are in and thankfully they are great, better than I could have hoped for. I'm delighted and also relieved because I think my confidence might have been a tad dented if they'd all said the book was crap!

Crime Time Magazine called 'The Drop': "A classic British gangster novel that evokes and matches some of the best writing in the genre"

Renowned Crime Writer, Nick Quantrill said: "Linskey is sure to be at the forefront of Northern crime writing in 2011."

And finally best seller Simon Kernick called 'The Drop': "A brutal hard-hitting debut", which is a quote that now proudly adorns the book jacket.

That's a great start for a debut crime writer. Here's hoping for a few more positive reviews in 2011.