Saturday, 24 May 2014

ABNA: Ice Diaries' Publishers Weekly review

As an ABNA quarter finalist, my novel Ice Diaries was entitled to a review from Publishers Weekly. The reviews are brief, mostly plot summary, and not necessarily flattering, though there is the odd truly enthusiastic one that makes you think the novel is a dead cert for the semi-finals. 

For those who are interested, some entrants have posted their reviews on US Amazon forums. Here's mine, not a rave but not bad either:

ABNA Publishers Weekly Review of Ice Diaries:

In this post-apocalyptic novel set in the year 2018, London and most of the world's northern climes have been buried beneath hundreds of feet of snow. Survivors of the SIRCS pandemic and climate change band together for safety. Main character Tori lives in a small community that works together democratically to raid local stores for supplies. She is happy with her small band of friends until a mysterious stranger appears in their midst. The once peaceful, autonomous community begins to crumble as first Dominic Morgan, a former mixed martial arts fighter recovering from a knife wound, questions their methods of survival, and then more fighters, hunting for Morgan, arrive. Tension mounts and Tori begins to seriously consider her long-term survival and whether her path might be linked with Morgan's future.

The author creates realistic and varied characters that blend convincingly into this post-apocalyptic world, showcasing both Tori and Morgan's emotional growth as the story progresses. The snowy London landscape feels well thought out, creating a setting that evokes a palpable layer of danger throughout the novel, giving readers a distinct and immediate reason to root for Tori's escape to warmer climes. Engaging and solidly written, readers will be hoping for more of Tori in the future.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

To be good, you first have to be bad...

...and not only that, while you are still quite bad you need to believe that you are good so that your enthusiasm and pleasure in your achievement will carry you through the necessary work to become good in reality.

This is why it's absolutely fatal for some well-meaning person to come by and tell you that your first efforts are rubbish. Believe this person, and you will give up. Beginners, like children, thrive on encouragement. Disparagement and brutal criticism make the creative urge wither and die.

I've found this to be true in every area of endeavour I've had a go at. I was pleased as Punch with my earliest attempts at making jewellery. I've still got some of those pieces, and no one could have guessed their maker would go on to have a career as a designer jeweller (I'd find it tricky to know what to say if a student showed something similar to me with quiet pride). The same is true of my first novel and my first book covers - but luckily the joy of creation spurred me on to better results.

Do the best you can, and don't let other people put you off. And never blight anyone's first tentative green shoots. You don't know what they might grow into if let alone, and it might be something amazing.