Friday, December 21, 2007

The Response

My American and British editors have now read, and offered their opinions on, THE REAPERS. The manuscript went out to them last month and, as is usually the case, my British editor read it first, and then my American editor followed with her response a little later.

Waiting to hear what they think of a manuscript does nothing to contribute to a stress-free lifestyle on my part. As I've said before, I have a nagging fear that I'm a bit of a fraud, and that the latest novel will be the one that at last exposes my fraudulence and ineptitude to my editors. That fear is compounded when a book deviates in any way from what has gone before, as THE REAPERS does. It's not quite an 'entertainment', to borrow Graham Greene's description of his less tortured novels, but it is lighter than, say, THE UNQUIET. As soon as it went out to the editors, and my agent, I think I began tensing for the blow to come.

As it happens, though, no blows have landed. Both of my editors - and my beloved agent - seem very happy with the manuscript, and have sent it straight into production. That doesn't mean the book is already rolling off the presses, but it has gone to copy editors, and when the copy edited manuscripts are returned to me they will have my editors' comments included. There will be problems to be addressed, questions to be answered, but I won't have to tear the book apart, and tear my hair out in the process.

It is a relief. While my editors are delicate about such matters, and diplomatic in their approaches, I'm certain that, were there significant problems with my manuscript, they would let me know, even to the extent of postponing publication if necessary. (In fact, I asked one of my editors that very question, and she made it quite clear that I didn't have some authorial 'get-out-of-jail-free' card if problems arose.) It was reassuring to hear. Sometimes I will read a book by a big-name author and wonder just how much editing was done, if any. It doesn't do the author any favours in the long run, even if it allows him, or her, to do a little less work in the short term.

So now I have a worry-free Christmas, relatively speaking. Actually, that's not true. Instead of worrying about THE REAPERS, I'm just worrying about the next book instead. I'll probably make a start on it over the Christmas holidays, as my diary for next year is already filling up and I'd like to get a little writing done before I start travelling again. I think I even have a title for the new book, although it may change as the writing progresses. I'm quite looking forward to writing it. Although Parker figures in THE REAPERS, it's not told from his point of view. It will be good to inhabit his consciousness again. Troubling, but fulfilling . . .

This week John read:

Shakespeare by Bill Bryson

and listened to:

Kurr by Amina


Ali Karim said...

Have a great Christmas John - after THE UNQUIET I can understand your paranoia - but from this readers perspective, you have little to worry about. You writing has gained real power and I am excited to read it in 2008.

In case you're wondering what I've read that impressed me so far :-

Happy Holidays


Jeff said...

That's good news, John! I'm looking forward to my copy of The Reapers.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

TomH said...

Isn't it odd that those of us who wonder at self worth, turn outward and rely on the opinions of those we hold dear.
I engage in that precarious pastime myself, and wonder if one day I'll be discovered as the master of all weakness.
But you should not fear.
You've met the enemy, and held him at bay through your honesty and sincerity and integrity.

Annie Chen said...

A successful novelist is a great writer who can't believe he is actually great. He is never arrogant, has a curious mind, works diligently, and is never satisfied with the past numerous achievements. John, you are a perfect example of a great writer. Don't let people's comments influence your moods too much. You've already proved your talents to the world, so please write whatever you want to write and enjoy the pain and the pleasure in the process. Also, please don't forget that your family, your friends, and your fans love you and your work! May you have a good break and a wonderful time during holidays...

Merry X'mas and Happy New Year


Matt Sinclair said...

Happy New Year, Mr. Connolly. I'm relatively new to your work and have enjoyed The Book of Lost Things and Every Dead Thing immensely. I'm looking forward to catching up to your latest release in '08.

ksuicide said...

I'm exceedingly excited to see that your next book will be out before too long. I brought White Road with me this year as a travel book, and have already let people borrow it. If there is an email address I can send a photo of, I will gladly take a picture of our sign down here, with that book on it, if you would like.


TomH said...

"It is a relief."

And I'm sure it is. But why not let the whole of it go and settle down? You've done it on your own and without committee approval. Put in the time and laid down the sweat and challenged every fiber of your being.

And now you should be enjoying the fruits of a labor that is real and that is honest and that brings enjoyment to all concerned.

John said...

A pic would be great, ksuicide, and we could then post it on the site. Thank you!

june said...

Dear John,
June Fitzpatrick here.
So hard to reach you. I got two surprises at the same time. Your Christmas card, which I would love to reply to but I can't read the new address, and a copy of The Unquiet. The book must have been delivered quite some time ago but perhaps I was away because I discovered it in a chest in the foyer that houses the snow shovel and sand bucket. Read the book cover to cover during the first snow storm. You are even better than I thought.Would that I were as cool as the art dealer in the book, but beyond that your research and detail about child abuse and protective services is really impressive. I was the family and children's advocate at a family service agency for several years. The book is riveting and excellent on every level. Well done. Hope I can figure out how to enter this into the system.

ksuicide said...

You bet. I will get that done for you today if possible. I will also see if I can spot any more copies of other books I have of yours here.


ksuicide said...

Okay, so I have said photos. Is there a generic email address that I can send them to? Or if I post them in my blog, can you poach them that way? Let me know.

You can send said generic email addy to: that account is large enough for me to send pictures from, down here. I have 9 that I took this morning. If they look hinkey, I can always take more on a better day out here.