Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Pulp skill

The Booktrade site is a great little aggregator and portal of book publishing news. If you subscribe to their news letter,there's the occasional chance of getting your hands on an early promotional copy of a new book. Oddly, most of the larger publishers on here fail to dispatch the promos, preferring instead probably just to harvest reader data for market research.

Mira Books however, a mainly crime imprint of Harlequin, are very reliable in sending out the publicity materials. I've had several books from them, mos recently The Last Exile by EV Seymour.

The last book they sent through was Jason Pinter's debut, The Mark. Thinking about Sam's immense success, and the structure of Pinter's book, especially in relation to the novel Aliya and I have written, I'm struck by what tricky tasks mainstream authors pull off.

I found it hard to read The Mark without an editor's hat on, firstly because Pinter's protagonist was a green journalist working in a high profile newsroom. I have first-hand experience of this so was looking to pick holes, but aside from alleged copy from a newspaper which rang a little flat, the author kept things sketchy enough to pull me in. In hindsight the cliches that were in place served the book well, and although I found the twist ending a little predictable, I have read scores of mainstream pulp crime thrillers. This isn't brainfood. it's entertainment Hollywood-style. (I suspect The Last Exile may be entertainment ITV Drama style).

Aliya and I have attempted to do something along these lines, but we've fused our book with SF and added some diversionary intellectualism. I'm puzzling now, following the response to Light Reading's follow-up (which in my opinion is a better book than the first, even without the re-write) disappointment, if there's room for something like this in the mainstream.


Anonymous said...

Maybe it is not about how good the follow up to light reading is. Maybe it is about how much money the publisher has in the pot that year to go around.

Your industry is a fickle one at times, it must be hard not to take it personally when so much passion and dedication goes in to your writing.


Aliya Whiteley said...

Ah, poop to it. We kick ass.