At a gathering in The Charlotte Street Hotel on Wednesday evening, and against a backdrop of their impressive collection of recent best-sellers, Transworld showed that they are determined to hit the ground running in 2017. We were were introduced to five writers who will be making their debuts. Each read from their novel, and then took part in a question and answer session.
First up was Joseph Knox, with his Manchester based police thriller, Sirens. Unsurprisingly, in the short extract we heard, it was raining! Joseph spoke about his love of Noir – which he defined as “Beautiful Doom”, and told us about how he had been hooked into the world of Noir by a memorable sequence of movies starring Humphrey Bogart. His advice to aspiring writers was simple – make time for your writing, but don’t beat yourself up when it doesn’t go well. Sirens will be out on 12th January 2017.
Katie Khan took the stand with something very, very different. Hold Back The Stars, which will be published on 26th January is a love story, but with a difference. It is part sci fi, part fantasy and part romance, and is the story of a young couple who are forced to prove their love in order to stay together. Katie reminded us that it was only a few years ago that making friends – and finding lovers – on social media would have been unthinkable, but her book takes us forward to a time when such liaisons will be commonplace.
Australia 1939, and The Lucky Country is the setting for A Dangerous Crossing, the upcoming mystery thriller from Rachel Rhys. In a sense, this is a different kind of debut, as Rachel Rhys is the pen-name of an already- successful psychological suspense author. A Dangerous Crossing is her debut under this name and is inspired by a real life account of a voyage to Australia, during which two passengers die in mysterious circumstances, and war has been declared in Europe. Rachel reminded us that in a pre-digital age, a long ocean crossing was the perfect place for people to hide, and in her book everyone has a secret, or is running away from something. The novel will be published on 6th April.
Mahsuda Snaith provided us with a complete contrast of tone and subject matter. The Things We Thought We Knew is a minutely observed tale of a girl made prisoner by her surroundings – a mundane housing estate – and her own illness. Mahsuda said that the plot itself was not autobiographical, but the setting was a faithfully painted portrait of the world she herself grew up in. She is a very accomplished short story writer, and when questioned about the problems of going from the short form to the full length novel, she admitted that she has been writing this book since she was sixteen, and it has been revisited many times. The Things We Thought We Knew is out on 15th June.
Bristol resident T A Cotterell was the final reader, with an extract from What Alice Knew. Cotterell read History of Art at Cambridge University and, significantly, the central character in his book is a portrait painter. He explained that the core theme of the book is family secrets, and told us of a real life instance when his mother name dropped someone of whom he had never heard, and when he asked who he was, he received the disconcerting reply, “Oh, he was my handler in MI6!”. The thought of his mother being a very successful intelligence operator in communist Hungary led him to explore the theme of how much we owe our children in terms of the truth. The novel asks many questions. How far would you go to protest someone you love? Would you lie to the police knowing your loved one is guilty as charged, or would you watch their life fall apart because of a terrible accident? What Alice Knew is out on 20th April.
Fully Booked will be reviewing each of these titles nearer to their date of publication, but if you wish to pre-order any of them, the details are already up Amazon pages.