I Have A New Book Out Today!
Today is my publication day for ‘Little Boy Found’. It’s my first e-book although (as I’ve probably mentioned several thousand times) it will see regular paperback print if/when we hit our reader target, and it’s the first I’ve written under a pseudonym. So, thank you to everyone who has ordered this in advance; you did it on trust and I really hope you enjoy it. Plus, you got it at an early cheap price! Please forgive me if you’ve heard all this before – it’s an unusual year, with four books out (‘Wild Chamber’, ‘Frightening’, ‘The Book Of Forgotten Authors’) – but this is my biggest stylistic departure so far.
I wanted to write the kind of book thatâ€™s utterly alien to me in its construction; a psychological thriller.Â Good psychological thrillers fascinate me, from Ira Levinâ€™s â€˜A Kiss Before Dyingâ€™ to Gillian Flynnâ€™s â€˜Gone Girlâ€™. Bad ones fascinate too, for the lessons they teach in learning what not to do.
The creation and sustaining of suspense is a completely different discipline to constructing a mystery, and within the field there are further sub-genres, one of which we now call â€˜domestic suspenseâ€™, which usually has a female protagonist and barely involves a police investigation. A favourite of mine is â€˜Mischiefâ€™ by Charlotte Armstrong, which seamlessly unfolds in real time, as a woman staying in a hotel starts to suspect that a child is in danger. The novels of Margaret Millar, a forgotten author just coming back into print, are even better, but reading them is very different to writing 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 donâ€™t usually write first person narratives.
Four years later, fourteen drafts in, after dozens of reworkings from every angle and a hundred titles selected and discarded, the book was bought by Quercus. Now I experienced how a really thorough edit can reshape and improve a book; itâ€™s the largest Iâ€™ve received on a manuscript and the most complex, because the story is about memory and emotion and loss and obsession, and each editorial change pulls apart the next.Â Think of a jigsaw in which two thirds of all the pieces are missing an edge and you have some idea of the difficulty level involved in reassembly. But itâ€™s been a fascinating challenge.
My editor was as excited as I was, so the novel became a big departure for me. The strategy was to start it as an e-book, then bring it into print. As itâ€™s not written in my usual style I came up with a pseudonym; LK Fox. Itâ€™s non-gender specific, will sit right next to my regular books (FOW-FOX), and happens to be my motherâ€™s initials. Next it needed a title and an image. Thatâ€™s how â€˜Little Boy Foundâ€™ was born.
I wanted to see if I could bring a new twist to the genre, and came up with a couple of angles Iâ€™d never seen in this kind of novel. Did I succeed in ringing the changes? Perhaps youâ€™d best be the judge of that. If it works well, there will be others in the LK Fox line – I already have a killer suspense idea lined up to follow this, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens to ‘Little Boy Found’ first.
PS I’m not – for once – having a launch party. I’ll save that for when we hit paper. Old habits die hard.