That Mystery Book Explained
Some while back I set out to write the kind of book that’s fairly alien to me in its construction; a psychological thriller. While I love them (especially those by Margaret Millar, a forgotten author just coming back into print), I don’t usually write them. I tend to construct matrices of facts rather than delving into the minds of two or three characters and putting them through the emotional wringer. This is partly because I don’t usually write first person narratives.
But I really wanted to try it. Four year later, 14 drafts in, after dozens of reworkings from every angle, the book was bought by Quercus and will be published this summer. But for the first time I’ve experiencing how a really thorough edit can reshape and improve a book; it’s the largest edit I’ve received on a manuscript and the most complex, because the book is about memory and emotion, and each editorial change pulls apart the next.Â Think of a jigsaw in which two thirds of all the pieces are missing one edge and you have some idea of the difficulty level involved in reassembly. But it’s been a fascinating challenge.
And my Quercus editor was as excited as I was, so as the book is a very big departure for me they had a plan for it. We’ll do it as an e-book to start out with, and once it reaches a certain level of sales it then becomes a print book.
First – as it’s not written in my usual style – I came up with a pseudonym; LK Fox. It’s non-gender specific, will sit right next to my regular books (FOW-FOX), and happens to be my mother’s initials. Next it needed a title and an image. That’s how ‘Little Boy Found’ was born.
And it’s already up on Kindle and charting without regular readers (i.e. not you lot, the ones in the know) knowing it’s by me. This is all much to my amazement, but such is the mysterious way of the electronic word. It gets sold at a super-low price (Â£1.99) because you’re buying it on trust.
If a book has so much editing, does that make it a collaboration? Not really, because the editor makes suggestions and the writer still decides what goes in and stays out. So here’s the synopsis for you;
The thriller with the twists you’ll never see coming!
One rainy morning, just after Nick drops his young son off outside the crowded school gates, he has a minor collision with another car. The driver wonâ€™t surrender his insurance details, so Nick photographs the licence plate.
When he gets home, he enlarges the shot on his phone and sees somebody else in the picture – his son in the back seat, being driven away by a stranger.
Nick thinks he knows what has happened to his boy, but losing him is not as terrible as the shock of finding him, and reliving the nightmare all over again.
However this is not another missing child story. What happened to Nick and his son is far more surprisingâ€¦
I’ll be keeping the book’s identity a secret except on this site, where I’ll keep you abreast of developments. It’s to be published on July 6th but you can pre-order it now for the ridiculous price of two nicker – and by doing so you push it toward its (more expensive, I hope) print incarnation.
Two quid for a book that took four years and fourteen drafts to write. Blimey! That’s what I call a snip. (Do people still say that?) Actually it’s just been pointed out that the book is even cheaper.Â Stone the crows you’re right? What can you buy for ninety nine pee these days except THE SWEAT OF MY BROW!?