Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Having received an e-mail through the website from a good friend, I was reminded of my New Year’s Resolution to never let a month go by without posting a blog entry. To realize that we are now in the very last day of the month says everything about the speed at which my working life has been flying by. With the release of ‘A Simple Act of Violence’ on Thursday, the book for 2009 having been submitted to my publisher and accepted for publication in June of next year, the work on the book for 2010 almost complete, and the fact that I decided to move house last Sunday…well, a month has disappeared without my being aware of where it’s gone.

As we approach October, I look ahead to the numerous public events I am scheduled to attend. Aside from the many local and national readings, signings and literary festivals, I am also spending a week in Baltimore for the Bouchercon Crime Festival (where I have been shortlisted for the Barry Award for Best British Crime Fiction Novel 2008). My travelling companion, bodyguard, guide and general drinking compadre is the inimitable Mr. Ali Karim, he of spectacular reputation (Shots Magazine, Crime Spree, Deadly Pleasures and many more). Ali has been there for me since Candlemoth, endlessly supportive, marvellously generous in his reviews, his words of encouragement and his unfailing support. I owe him a great debt of personal gratitude, and I couldn’t think of anyone better to help me navigate the maze of authors, agents, publishers and readers that is Bouchercon.

As for the 2009 manuscript, I am very pleased that both my agent and editor have enjoyed it so much, and we are all looking forward to the response it will receive. After the success of A Quiet Belief In Angels, so relentlessly promoted by all at the Richard and Judy Book Club, it will be interesting to see the reaction generated by A Simple Act of Violence. In light of so much attention on the US administration, the election of a new president, the financial woes now occasioned by the ‘credit crunch’ in America and the rest of the world, A Simple Act of Violence will perhaps remind people of the lengths the US government has previously gone to in order to secure their own interests. If ever a book was going to get me in trouble, it would be this one. 2009’s book is nowhere near so contentious. A rather more straightforward crime thriller (as if I would ever write a ‘straightforward’ book, but you know what I mean!), it deals with the work of a serial killer in present day New York, busily replicating famous serial killings on the anniversary of their original perpetration. From John Wayne Gacy to the Genosee River Killings, from the Sunset Slayers to the Zodiac, the gallery of miscreants and human horrors I have included therein is substantial. No punches are pulled, and though it is not a gratuitously violent or disturbing book, it nevertheless deals with powerful subject matter and the uncompromising truth of what such people are capable of. It was a very interesting research path to follow, and I enjoyed writing the book immensely. As I mentioned before, it is due for publication in June 2009, and though we have not yet decided on a title I believe we will have one by the end of this week.

So that’s what I have been up to, along with answering every one of your many hundreds and hundreds of e-mails (and please keep them coming – it is a great pleasure to be in touch with you all).

I will try and keep you posted throughout October as I wend my way from one end of the country to the other, and when I return from Bouchercon I will try and get some pictures posted on the site.

Until then, keep reading, keep writing, keep talking to one another, and no doubt we will speak again in the not-too-distant future.

Best, as always,


one-eyed Jack said...

Welcome to October, Roger; as you say, where on earth has all the time gone? Anyway my very best wishes for your new novel's success, and also I wish you good fortune in the Barry Award. I couldn't help but wonder though - exactly a month ago today you told me that you didn't have a US deal, so does this mean that you do now? That must be a major breakthrough for you if so.

R J Ellory said...

No, no US deal yet. There have been rumours and tentative expressions of interest, but the US market seems so entirely disrelated from anywhere else. AQBIA is now in 16 languages, and as far as I can tell is being very well received in most countries, but the US remains a mystery to all of us. I even had an agent (an agent mind, not even a publisher) come back to me and say that she would be willing to consider the possibility of representing me in the US and to finding a publisher for AQBIA if I removed the entire section where Joseph Vaughan goes to Auburn Prison. What!!! I don't understand that at all. Does she think that people would not be willing to read about the possibility that there could be such a thing as a miscarriage of justice? That such a thing could never happen over there? And if he never went to prison then when and where and why would he write AQBIA? Bizarre! Anyway, I'm off to Bouchercon Festival in Baltimore next week and we'll see what interest can be drummed up. Best wishes, and speak soon,

Daryl said...

I just came back from Baltimore for a holiday (via Philadelphia) and really enjoyed it! There was a book festival on at the time and I saw Ron Suskind speak which was quite special.

However, the heavens did open up for the whole day and I got positively drenched (and the two books in my bag came off worse - falling to bits!).

If you and Ali have time, check out the crab cakes at Lexington Market (as recommended by Laura Lippman - they are lush - and go see the old Baltimore police station at Fells Point which was used for the TV series - Homicide: Life on the Street.

And of course, enjoy the festival - I'm hoping to do it next year!

mand said...

Happy October! I can sympathise: i'm about to start on my list of September garden jobs.

I was hoping to get the feedback i promised to you before you blogged again, so you didn't think i'd forgotten till i saw your post. It's nice to read a new post even so... I have at least finished reading the book and will send you comments asap. I will say now, though: DON'T remove the prison part - it would be like cutting the one essential strand of a cobweb, the whole thing would fall down.

Hope the house move went well and the book launch does tomorrow. (Does it get much less exciting as you get used to it?)

R J Ellory said...

Daryl...thanks for the heads-up on the crab cakes, and we are also going to go see Edgar Allan Poe's graveside (which is where I think they annoucne the winner of the Shamus Award). I'll post a blog when I get back, and hopefully some pictures. I don't doubt that I'll wind up at Bouchercon next year so maybe we can collide there and share a drink or two.

R J Ellory said...

Mand...we never even considered losing the prison part; it wasn't even a matter for discussion. It was a 'take it or leave it' response to the US agent. Anyway, we shall see what happens in Baltimore. House move was fine. Prior to moving last Sunday me and a friend spent four weeks full-time ripping out walls and ceilings, laying wooden and stone floors, buying old church pews from Norfolk and sawing them up - all manner of mad things, but the place is nearly done and looks great. Finally I have a study - a room where I can work that actually has a door, and I am not using one end of the dining room table, and constantly asking my son to turn the TV down so I can work. And as far as book launches are concerned, I don't think anything can come close to the first book you ever publish, but it is still exciting. The only thing is that by the time the book comes out you've already finished it more than a year before, you've written another one or two, and you think the new ones are better and those are the ones you want to see published! Well, if I was ever completely satisfied I would stop, right? Anyway, we shall see what happens with this one. I hope it's enjoyed, and I hope we manage to secure even a tiny percentage of the success that we enjoyed with A Quiet Belief In Angels.

mand said...

The house sounds inspiring.

'If I was ever completely satisfied I would stop' - [grin]
(Blogger won't let me use pointy brackets!)

And no, i didn't really think you'd contemplate cutting the prison bit. I'm still amazed they asked it.

Adam Bird said...

Hi Roger,

All the very best for the new book! I cannot believe that it has come around so quickly. Today is apparently a big day in the literacy world for releasing books in time for Christmas?

I will be shooting over to Waterstones just as soon as I finished writing this message and I will of course let you know what I think when I am done!

Again, the very best.


R J Ellory said...

Mand...why the grin? Is that your philosophy too? And as far as editorial requests and recommended changes are concerned, I am surprised that someone hasn 't said 'Well, if you turned A Quiet Vendetta into a Gilbert and Sullivan style light operatic piece, we might consider putting it on the West End...' Sometimes I wonder...

R J Ellory said...

Adam...thanks for the good wishes! Much appreciated, as always. And yes, I await your verdict with antitcipation. Trust all's well otherwise.

mand said...

It was a kind of wry grin. Never satisfied... i know people like that. (In terms of creativity, i am one.) It was a know-what-that-feels-like grin, and a well-done-finding-a-silver-lining-to-being-dissatisfied grin, and a can't-ever-just-be-glad-[joke]? ;0) grin.

Just [grin] was more concise!

I began to feel unoriginal, seem to be saying 'Me too' to everyone this week.

Good wishes from me too, of course. (Me too.)

All's well thanx, except i have The Cold (the fashionable one), and the 'verdict' (not that it's world-changing) half written. Told you i'd take a long time.

R J Ellory said...

A cold? That's nothing. If you're a man you get 'man-flu'. You cannot ever possibly conceive of man-flu. How many words on the verdict? How many are you doing a week?

mand said...

I know... man-flu is the main reason i dread ever accidentally becoming a man. I do sympathise, it must be awful.

And what i MEANT was that the verdict's currently illegible and will be typed. Nag if you dare. I haven't got to the pc much lately.

Daryl said...

I'm looking forward to the Bouchercon post and the Bouchercon beer!

R J Ellory said...

Mand...well, the very best books were written by hand, weren't they? (Or so I am led to believe!) And far as Bouchercon beer is concerned, I think I'm going to look long and hard for something halfway decent to drink over there, for American beer - as we all know - leaves an awful lot to be desired.

mand said...

Written by hand maybe, but not read by hand. Not in my case, even if i'd written the greatest books. Knew i should have done medicine.