I have a new book out (June 2008): here's what I've just posted about it on my website:
SOOTHER’S BOY is a fantasy novel (about 35,000 words) for children aged around eleven. Here’s the back cover blurb: “Rill is sent to the city to serve his apprenticeship as a soother’s boy, one who calms the animals known as ravings after their powerful magic has been taken from them by the beastmasters. But the magic factory is full of mystery and danger, with rituals and rules that often seem to Rill not only pointless but cruel. As his confusion mounts and his troubles multiply, the soother’s boy can trust just one person - his fellow apprentice Challi, a young girl who is his only friend in the entire city. Together, Rill and Challi are about to uncover the last, terrible secret of the Beasthole.”
The ISBN is 978-0-9558686-0-3, the cover price is £5-99, and the publisher is Alia Mondo Press. To order, please email AliaMondo[at]phonecoop.coop.
There’s a bit of a story behind this book. Three or four years ago I was asked to write a short story for a children’s fantasy anthology. “The Soother’s Boy” was accepted, and I was paid for it, but the anthology never appeared. Now, when I’d first outlined the story, the editor had said that he liked it, but that it sounded more like a novel than a short story. So, I turned the short story into a novel, and offered it to the same publisher. She was very keen on it, but ... well, for reasons which I can’t go into here (because it would give away the plot) we disagreed about the ending. We parted amicably, I went on to other jobs, and it wasn’t until a few months ago, when I read an article about self-publishing in the magazine of my union, the Writers’ Guild, that I suddenly thought what a great self-publishing project Soother’s would make. I started out writing for fanzines in the 1970s, so the DIY idea has always been something I’m keen on; on the other hand, I’m not an idiot. New technology has made self-publishing infinitely easier and more economical than it used to be, but you still need to know what you’re doing - which I don’t.
But I had a brilliant idea: I commissioned Andrew Hook, who runs the award-winning Elastic Press - which published my collection, “So Far, So Near” - to, as it were, “project manage” the book for me. He did everything, and did it superbly, and I just wrote the cheque at the end. The result is a really lovely paperback, with a sensationally good cover by the artist Dean Harkness (you can see it at Dean’s website, www.deanharkness.tk
). Who knows; if I make my money back on Soother’s Boy, I might even do another book - or four.
Incidentally, “Alia Mondo” (as if you didn’t know) means “Another world” in Esperanto.