Advice for aspiring Killer Reads authors

Category: Team piece

Kate for twitterThinking about sending in a manuscript for our open submissions call out? Kate Stephenson, who will be acquiring authors for the KillerReads list,  shares what she is looking for in the inbox…

Characters: A great book needs believable characters with whom you want to go on a journey, and who stay with you after the story’s end. They must have emotional depth – by all means they can be flawed, troubled, angry, or dark, but they need to have something at their core that makes you care about what happens to them. Fiction is about experiencing the world through someone else’s eyes, and you can’t hope to achieve this without fully realized characters.

Voice: That almost indefinable thing that makes an author stand out from the crowd. I can’t tell you how to write or what to write – you must first write for yourself, because you are compelled to. But I want to find an assured and engaging new voice that doesn’t sound like something I’ve read a million times before. Confidence, originality, cracking dialogue, emotional punch – this is what I look for as a reader, and as an editor.

Hook: It’s crucial that you grab your potential readers’ attention with a great concept. Your book might well be completely amazing, but the hook is the thing that will make people pick it up in the first place. It’s partly our job as the publisher to convey the concept through our cover art and creative copy; but the idea must first come from you, the writer.

Pace: You must keep the pages turning. Drive the plot first and foremost, and be very wary of info dumping. If at all possible, find a way to convey necessary information through dialogue and action, rather than long explanatory passages for the reader to wade through.

Never stop reading: I think one of the best things a crime/thriller writer can do to hone their skills is to read other crime/thriller writers. Reading widely will help you grasp how to master your chosen genre, and may help you to figure out how to solve that tricky plot problem you’ve been grappling with. I find it fascinating to listen to writers talk about the books that have inspired and influenced them the most. We’ve been running a pod-cast series over the past couple of months called Writer’s Envy, where some of our authors tell us about the one book they wish they’d written and why. Definitely worth a listen if you’re interested!

The Killer Reads Team's Top Picks for 2013

Category: News

Wondering what to read this year? Look no further. The Killer Reads Team have put pen to paper to tell you what we’re most excited about publishing and reading in 2013.

 

Emad Akhtar, Assistant Editor for Crime and Thriller, says:

The books I’m most excited about publishing:

shining girlsThe Tower by Simon Toyne, marks the end of the Sancti trilogy, and will definitely be an event for all the people who have been following this story from Sanctus. You can read any of them on their own, to be honest – they are just amazing, slick, satisfying thrillers which take you to really unexpected places. I don’t think anyone’s quite doing what he’s doing with the genre; a really special mix of ancient themes and cutting-edge ideas.

 

And of course, The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes. If you’ve been following any of the buzz building around this dark, hypnotic serial killer story, then you’ll know that this is one to put everything on hold for. Lauren is a really rare talent, who can bend her imagination to any genre, shaping and mashing-up stories into highly original novels which no-one else could write. I think she’ll win a lot of new fans this year with The Shining Girls, if the early reviews are anything to go by.

 

Both these books are out in April and if you don’t read at least one of them, I will hold you in contempt forever.

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Newton's Fire

Category: News

Happy Publication Day to Will Adams, whose fifth novel, Newton’s Fire, is out now. Will was kind enough to share the inspiration behind his new novel in the following piece, sent to us from a remote outpost in the Canary Islands, where he is currently hard at work on his next book…

 

Back in 2003, a Canadian academic called Stephen Snobelen gave an interview to the Daily Telegraph to promote a new BBC documentary on Sir Isaac Newton. The interview was about a prediction Newton had made, gleaned from his study of the Bible, that the world would come to an end in the year 2060.

The story made the Telegraph’s front page, and immediately caused something of a stir. This was Newton, after all, Britain’s most iconic mathematician and scientist. So maybe there was something to it. Other papers and news organisations around the world quickly picked it up, and for a few days Newton’s 2060 prophecy became a global sensation, a hint of Armageddon in the air. But, as is the way of such things, people quickly forgot about it again.

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