This week I found myself in the same room as David Hewson, (Mark?) Billingham, (Val?) McDermid and (Steve?) Mosby, among others, all traditionally published writers of fiction who’ve done quite well for themselves. And I wasn’t dreaming. It’s probably the only time I’ll be rubbing shoulders with such company. And who do I have to thank for this? Stephen Leather, another big name and hugely successful writer of fiction. What am I going on about?
I was recently alerted by a cyber chum that she’d come across my name in a short story by Stephen Leather in his book of short stories: More Short Fuses. (I’m assuming it’s me. If my name were John Smith I probably wouldn’t leap to such conclusions, but, as far as I’m aware, I’m the only Oliver Tidy on the planet – I’ve looked – and Stephen Leather has dropped by and commented on my blog before so he’s come across the combination of my first and surname.)
What chuffed me as much as anything was that I’m an SPN (self-published nobody) and all the others are ‘names’. Yeah, I know, he’s just come across a name on the Internet and used it because he’s written so many books with so many characters and, like me (even though I haven’t written so many books with so many characters) he probably struggles for new names from time to time. But still.
It’s pretty surreal to read your name in a story that’s been written by a somebody in the industry. The story was an enjoyable read with a good twist and he didn’t cast me as a paedophile (which I was worried about when the role call of authors (allegedly) was unveiled because if memory serves there might have been some online argy-bargy with at least a couple of them and Mr Leather). All in all a positive experience. Maybe one day I can return the favour.
I have good news for myself this week: I’m pretty staggered to report to myself that I have finished the first draft of my second Booker & Cash story. It seems like only last week I was worrying about reading through the half of it what I wrote before the summer holidays and not really remembering much of what I was reading.
Things came back to me, I had a few sessions of staring at the monitor wondering how the hell I was going to straighten things out but ideas occurred and I’m really quite happy with how it feels.
At just under seventy thousand words, it’s a little shorter than the first one, which was eight-five thousand words, but if the story has run its course I don’t believe in padding it out just for padding it out’s sake.
I remember I had a bit of a struggle finding a title for the first B&C. Not so with this one. I’ve had it, I think, from the beginning and I’m still happy with it, especially its ambiguity. It shall be called He Made Me.
In the spirit of generating some reader interest for the forthcoming release of this title I have decided to release the first word of the first sentence of the first chapter. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
(I know. It’s exciting, isn’t it? Next week: word two. Oooh, I’ve just had an idea for anyone that wants to play: guess the sentence. Each week I can release another word in the first sentence and if a reader wants to have a stab at guessing the sentence, and gets it right, I can provide a prize. I still have lots of signed photographs left. Lots and lots, actually. Not the demand for those that I anticipated. No limit to the number of guesses and entry is free! What an innovative and simple way to get folks in a tizz of anticipation.)
Thanks for providing a light interlude that always makes me smile at least once. You are “somebody” in my world! I enjoy your books immensely here in the dry horribly hot Oklahoma City.. My guess for the 2nd word is “all.” Keep writing.
Hi Tamara (with an unusual and memorable name like that you could end up in one of my books.)
Thanks so much for your kind message and support of my writing. I do not exaggerate when I say that it still thrills me to hear from a reader from another continent. Isn’t the Internet amazing?
I share your suffering: Istanbul is thick with a muggy heat that you can’t hide from.
And finally congratulations are in order. Your guess for the second word is spot on. And it occurs to me that the third might be easy to guess now but the fourth…..we will see. 🙂
Unlike Joe Bloggs; Oliver Tidy is such an unusual name, one which is memorable. When I read the story I thought Stephen had consciously given you a mention, so you must be famous. Glad you’re back on track with the writing, and, like me, I can’t stand ‘padding’ either, so shouldn’t worry about the length of the next Booker & Cash; you can only water soup down so much before it becomes tasteless. As for your quiz, this first sentence came to mind, considering your name has been dropped by a prolific author, I thought of this: “Of all the names, of all the authors, you have to pick mine.” Ring any bells? Bogey and the piano player?
Thanks for chipping in with another great comment.
No flies on you. I’m rumbled. You have the line right and given the context your guess made me laugh. Close, but no cigar!
‘Of all the…’
Still smiling. Best wishes.
Loving the blog, here’s my answer.
Of cause you can send me your signed photograph!
Thinking of coming to Istanbul as a city break next year, hoping this time it won’t rain. Any suggestions as where to stay?
Keep up the good work any news on the next Acer novel?
Thanks for your comment. Good to know that you stop by the blog and enjoy it. The blog has become quite important to me.
Actually, they are just passport photos. I might have misled you there. However, as soon as I have some professional shots done I’ll let you know. 🙂
Where to stay in Istanbul? I’d stay on the European side for a start. A friend of mine who lives here speaks well of a hotel his brother stayed in when he visited. I’ll ask him the name of it next time I see him.
Acer #3 is with the gent who does my proofreading. He’s up to his eyes in life at the moment so I just have to hang on until he can fit me in. As soon as I have news I’ll post here.
Lol is this a way of getting readers to come up with interesting opening sentences! Love it and look forward to reading along with hopefully a few thousand other words
Haha. Maybe my creative well is running a bit dry.
Opening sentences? Not a bad idea, actually. One of these blog posts, perhaps I can come up with an opening sentence competition. (Anything to get rid of the shed full of signed passport photos.)
Hi Oliver, from a sunny Dover! I am so glad you are back in creative mode. ‘Padding’ we don’t need. Tell it as it is. I have read quite a lot of self published books recently, and the most irritating aspect is the way some very good story tellers feel the need to give the reader every tiny detail.
When I find a ‘new’ author I will follow his or her characters, but too much detail sometimes makes it a hard read.
Your story telling is every bit as good as the alumni you have been rubbing shoulders with, and I for one would love to have hard back copies of your books on my shelves alongside the ‘established authors’.
In the mean time, I wait with baited breath for the next B & C, or R & M.
Regards as always
Is it really sunny in Dover?
Thanks for your message. As a reader, I’ve never appreciated reading ‘padding’ in fiction. I’m sure that at least one of Elmore Leonard’s ten rules of writing hints at keeping it spare. And when he’s on song, he’s about the best there is.
Thanks for your very kind words for my writing. As a long-time collector of hardback first editions, getting some of my own books in that format is the thing of my fantasies.