I first met Andy at the Festival of Writing in York in 2011. I read an extract of his novel in our Book Doctor session and was delighted when he told Writers' Workshop he'd like me to be his editor. The thing is, I was excited by Andy's book. Really excited. Blow Your Kiss Hello breaks all the perceived ‘rules’ of creative writing and it does so with enormous success. Andy had created something unique, both in content and style. I loved his lyrical prose, and the way with which he played with ideas and concepts. It was as if his words had woven a spell and transported me to one of his parallel universes, where everything is familiar yet moving on an axis that was shifted fractionally to one side and different rules apply. The rhythm of his writing is intense and hypnotic, mirroring music lyrics and creating the impression of the book as an extended ballad. And the story – or rather the two interwoven stories – were mind-blowing.
But I had a concern. Andy had an inbuilt challenge in that his novel is unlike any other that is out there. As writers, we’re always being told to come up with something fresh and different, so it’s incredibly frustrating to be told that an approach is so different, it may work against the author. The trouble is that there’s no proven market for a novel that pushes the boundaries in the way Blow Your Kiss Hello does. In these troubled times, it’s harder than ever to persuade agents and publishers to take risks.
If ever a book was screaming out to be self-published, this was it. After a few rejections praised his writing to the high heavens but confirmed my concerns that his novel couldn't be easily slotted into a genre, Andy decided to go it alone. He did everything right. He set up his own imprint, rather than paying mega-bucks to a vanity publisher. He ensured the novel was thoroughly edited and proofread; he commissioned an original cover; he was painstaking in terms of quality control; he understood what he needed to do to promote his novel.
And now it's out there, as both print and e-book. All through the process, Andy kept a close connection with the Wordcloud, the online writers' community run by Writers' Workshop. He wrote blogs and forum posts about his journey and received the support of those who had read extracts. When the novel was published, Cloudies were first in line, waiting for their copies.
And, boy, did they love it. You can see some of their reactions here if you don't believe me. Andy decided to open up a Q&A session so these Cloudies could ask questions about his journey to publication and about the novel. I'm delighted to announce that the questions and Andy's responses will be posted here on my blog.
The first part will appear here on my blog tomorrow and will focus on his journey to publication. Next week, I'll be posting the second part of the interview, looking more closely at what inspired him to write Blow Your Kiss Hello.
A story of Love, Rock & Roll, Guns and Quantum Physics‘She’s both alive and dead. The two states being the same, just depending upon perspective.’
Joe feels as if he has known his girlfriend Thea for a thousand years. The thing is, he really has. Just not in this place. And now she’s inexplicably missing. From this place. From this time. And for Joe, finding her is all that matters.
But with his own life under threat from a criminal gang, Joe’s left running from shadows and talking with ghosts as he desperately hunts down the truth he could never have imagined existing, the centuries colliding across a broken universe, the voices in the dark singing macabre nursery rhymes and the appearance of an impossible physical reminder of Thea that says that she’s out there –
Somewhere between the cracks in the here and the now.