The novel Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell was published on 22nd April 2014, by Tor Books of New York (a Macmillan imprint).
The Christmas holiday was obviously made for writing. Working on the Expiration Day sequel, I reached the 55,000 word milestone yesterday, with a 2,000 word marathon. Why is that important? - because that's a sort-of minimum length for a publishable YA novel. Two downsides: a) I haven't actually got a complete end-to-end narrative and b) I know already I'm going to have to junk some of what's been written.
Actually a lot of that will actually end up on the cutting-room floor, as it's full of infodumps and point-of-view shifts that work fine in "regular" SF, but are often seen as too confusing for mainstream YA. Despite the fact that award-winning YA such as Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses does exactly that. But if your start point for YA is The Hunger Games , with its single, first-person PoV, then I agree that tracking five PoV strands is going to be hard work.
So I'm thinking of those extra PoV strands as helping me to build the structure of the novel. Like research, like the infodumps, it'll all be pruned away when the novel gets to the editing stage. Like an iPhone, the end-product novel will be beautifully shiny and simple, with all the hard work hidden away, and only I and my editor will ever know it was there.
I'd almost forgotten about this, to be honest. But I happened to be watching a BBC documentary with Michael Portillo touring Poland, visiting its mostly picturesque and wonderfully-restored cities, and that reminded me to go check.
It's ready. Yay!
I commend Google Translate for making sense of the pages, but the nub is that it's available from December 3rd 2014.
If it had been a French or a German edition, I'd be reading it the moment I could get my hands on it, but I have zero skills in Polish. So for me it will remain a curiosity sitting on my bookshelf. I'll still worry about how faithful the translation is to my vision, what the translator has done with my attempts at poetry and my word-plays. Perhaps one of my Polish friends will tell me...
Details here .
A short day, it must be said. Getting to the Excel Centre in East London is "easy", unless easy means "quick".
Anyway, I managed to fit in a panel on writing YA, to get a handle on how they run them. No surprises, so I'm confident about my own panel on Sunday.
I got to a reading, by Madeline Ashby, from her forthcoming book, Company Town . Not YA, but that's no problem. My main interest was - once again - to see how it's done. Conclusion: the bar isn't insurmountable.
I found the British Science Fiction Association stand, and as it offers peer critiquing from other writers, decided it was worth a punt.
And thence to the SFWA reception. There were a lot of "old friends" who recognised each other instantly and settled into cosy groups, plus as many "lost sheep" - writers from the oddest corners of Europe mostly - who braved the social barriers and managed to survive a whole evening of striking up conversations with total strangers. I count myself in the latter group.
A learning experience...
My publicist asked if I'd do a guest post for the NotYeadRead.com blog site. After a little thought, I came up with a special chapter that filled in a little bit of backstory, around how even in the last days of humanity, there's still discrimination about.
This August the World Science Fiction Convention comes to London. Hooray! Rather than wander endlessly round booths, I felt I should be doing something, so I now find myself on a panel with 4 other authors, discussing "Reluctant, or Just Not Interested?" , subtitled "Are reluctant readers being failed by the education system, or is the publishing industry just not giving them what they want?".
My initial reaction was "why me?" (I didn't choose the topic), but on reflection, I'm rather up for the challenge. So if anyone has experiences of reluctant readers they're willing to share, please let me know.
(update - please join the discussion on booklikes if you're interested)
With Expiration Day launched, I'm writing again, meaning writing new stuff, rather than creating supporting material for the launch - interviews, web pages, playlists, other lists. That's fun too, but I've got novels to write.
There's that awkward question of a sequel for Expiration Day. It was always planned as a standalone novel, and many reviewers have praised it for that reason. But, having created that universe, I do want to explore it a bit more, maybe telling the story of some of the other characters. So I do have one of those ideas in progress and at the 30,000 word stage. That's all I'll say.
There are also a couple of novels I've been working on for a long time, that may not need too much more doing to them before sending them out and trying to get an editor interested. They're quite different from Expiration Day, and don't necessarily fit the Tor Teen imprint. However, it looks as though more and more publishers are going back to only accepting agented submissions, so I need to find an agent. While it's really wonderful being published in the USA, it would be very wonderful indeed to get published in my own country, the UK - another way in which having an agent may help.