Thursday, April 20, 2006

This is the sort of story we like

It's always great to hear stories where sheer good writing gets recognised and wins through and gets the publishing deals, so we loved the story of Scott Lynch’s Lies of Locke Lamora. It was discovered in 2004 by Gollancz publishing director Simon Spanton, not by Scott Lynch sending it to a thousand agents, but because Simon Spanton found excerpts posted on Scott Lynch's web journal. Two years on, The Lies of Locke Lamora has found an American publisher and is confidently predicted to manage to achieve the holy grail of cross-genre success and appeal to readers who don’t usually like fantasy. His hero is imaginative and goes against type and it all sounds rollicking good fun, with dark bits. Just two months ago film rights were bought by Warner Bros. We hope it’ll be out in Britain soon. And another good story came to me from the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger bulletin. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s been posted onto their web site, so I can’t do a link, but it’s a great story about how Canadian writer Louise Penny has achieved success. She entered the Debut Dagger after spending a year and a half sending query letters to all sorts of agents and publishers, without luck. But all those people who turned her down were proved to have been short-sighted when, undaunted, she entered the Debut Dagger competition for new writers. She was shortlisted and found an agent. Still Life was published in Canada last autumn and swiftly climbed to number five in the bestseller list. It was published in the UK two months ago, so I will definitely be looking that one out. If anyone has a crime novel waiting to get out the deadline for the Debut Dagger is almost upon us (April 29): www.thecwa.co.uk. A great competition that seems to read new writers with a more sympathetic eye than perhaps they get through the usual channels.

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