Last week I had the pleasure of attending my first ever book signing event, which occurred at the Norwich branch of ASDA supermarket on Saturday 27th September. Special thanks go to some of the staff at Asda for helping to make this happen: Ron Drewry, for flagging the fact that I was a local author to the branch manager in the first instance, Jo Mackenzie, for making sure that everything ran smoothly on the day, the irrepressible Big Rob, who acted as my ‘hype man’ by drumming up lots of interest over the branch P.A. system (a career in stand-up awaits!), and to the branch manager Ian Grieve, whose decision to support a local author in this manner can’t be praised highly enough.
The signing itself went really well (click here to see some photos), and I’d like to thank all those people that found the time to stop and talk to me, especially those that bought my book! In the space of an hour and a half, we sold somewhere in the region of 150 copies – what a result! It was great to see a few familiar faces there, some from my present, and some from my past, and it was also great to meet a whole bunch of new friends. Thanks once again to everyone involved - I really hope you enjoy Justice For All! And if there’s anyone out there in the East region who would have liked to attend but couldn’t make it on the day, then watch this space, as I may have some more exciting news to announce soon!
In other publicity related matters, I was interviewed by www.WriteWords.com last week. WriteWords is an on-line source of inspiration and feedback for writers, where you can post sections of your work and invite constructive criticism (while also commenting on other peoples efforts – it’s all about the give and take). Click here to read the abridged version of the interview. If you’d like to see the full version, then you’ll need to become a member of WriteWords, which I can heartily recommend should you happen to be an aspiring writer!
What’s Steve been listening to this week?
Stop, Drop, and Roll!!! – by the Foxboro Hot Tubs
Turn Against the Land – by Dogs
Everything Is – by Nine Black Alps
Monday 22nd September
I’ll keep this week’s blog on the brief side as I’ve got a large turf laying operation on the go in my back garden, plus there’s what promises to be a very exciting finale to the Ryder Cup coming up later today!
Work on ‘The Beholder’ continues apace, as I sailed through the 50,000 word mark at the end of last week. In theory, this puts me at somewhere around the half way point for the first draft, although I’ve got a feeling that this novel may turn out to be slightly longer than my previous two efforts. Two of the main threads to the story are now racing along at break neck pace, while the third is beginning to shape up nicely.
Next Saturday (27th September) sees me attending my first ever book signing event at the Norwich branch of ASDA supermarket. If you’re in the vicinity and you’d like to lay your hands on a signed copy of Justice For All, please feel free to come along and meet me between 11 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. – it would be really great to see you, and it would also help allay my fears that I might end up sitting at a table on my own for an hour and a half!
What’s Steve been listening to this week?
Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace – by The Offspring
Puzzle – by Biffy Clyro
The ’59 Sound – by The Gaslight Anthem
Monday 15th September
Local Fame Beckons?
This week’s blog comes to you a bit earlier than usual, as my talented web maven Chris is off on her hols for a well-earned break, no doubt happy to be free of my daily e-mails asking her for another ‘minor update’ for the site! This also means that the blog is shorter than some of the novellas I’ve been posting recently, as at the time of writing I’m only halfway through the week.
Anyway, to business. Wednesday 10th September saw the publication of an excellent article about yours truly in my local newspaper, the Eastern Daily Press (EDP). Their literary editor, Keiron Pim, wrote a great piece about me that included lots of plugs for Justice For All, and I really can’t thank him enough. He described the book as “a pacy, page-turning read that’s hard to put down…a vintage piece of hardboiled crime fiction’ – high praise indeed! And the EDP have also kindly allowed me to reproduce the article and accompanying photo on my web site – click here to read it in full (for those of you hoping to see my dog Murphy in the paper, sadly he didn’t make the final cut, but my thanks go once again to the EDP for providing one of the shots of him which you can see if you follow the link).
On the writing front, work on ‘The Beholder’ continued apace, with this week shaping up to be almost as productive as the last. On Thursday I broke through the 40,000-word barrier, which was a cause for muted celebration. When I first set out to write a novel, the thought of coming up with 100,000 words or so is quite daunting, so I tend to focus on little milestones along the way to keep my spirits up. The next target is 50,000 words – i.e. the halfway point – which will soon hopefully be a distant memory!
What’s Steve been listening to this week?
Powerage – by AC-DC
Man Vs Monster – by Fighting With Wire
The Dirty South – by Drive By Truckers
P.S. Please keep those Amazon reviews coming – I truly believe that they play a big part in boosting sales of JFA!
Monday 8th September
Sightings and Signings
Last week saw the release of the long awaited (by me, at least) October edition of Arena magazine, in which I was featured as one of the six best new thriller writers in the UK today. Each writer got a full page spread in the magazine, comprised of a professional photograph alongside a Q&A. The brief for the Q&A was to be punchy, pithy, and funny, so the pressure was on to come up with some comedy gold.
Prior to the magazine’s release I’d been warning my friends and family that I might be unrecognisable, as Arena had dressed me up in a load of designer clobber and rearranged my trademark quiff for the photo shoot. The warning proved to be more on the money than I could have imagined, as when I first saw my page in the magazine, even I couldn’t recognise myself!
A technical glitch at Arena Towers had resulted in my photo being swapped with that of another one of the featured authors – Alex Chance – so whilst my name and accompanying Q&A were all present and correct, my photo was on another page entirely. While it’s fair to say I was somewhat disappointed, I recognise that these things happen, and remain thankful to Arena for granting me the interview in the first place. It’s not everyday that a debut author gets featured in a national magazine such as theirs, and the resultant publicity should do wonders for Justice For All. And as for the quality of my answers in the Q&A – well that’s for you to decide!
To continue with the press theme, I entertained one of the photographers for the Eastern Daily Press (EDP) at my home last week. The EDP are the most important local newspaper in the Eastern region of England, reaching over 200,000 homes in the course of a week. The photographer had come to get some shots of yours truly to go alongside an upcoming feature that they’re running on me, and on catching sight of my chocolate Labrador, Murphy, he decided to add him to the mix! So if you’re from around these parts, keep an eye out in the EDP over the next week or so (I’m not sure which day as yet – I’ll post it on the ‘Latest News’ section of the site’s home page once I am) and you might just catch sight of Murphy making his press debut!
In a further exciting development, I can now reveal that I have been asked to do a book signing at the Norwich branch of the ASDA supermarket. Justice For All has been selling well there, and on hearing that I was a local lad, the store manager, Ian Grieve, contacted my publisher to invite me in for a signing. The signing will occur on Saturday 27th September from 11 a.m. until 12.30 p.m. and I can’t thank Ian enough for this wonderful show of support. He’s informed me that he’s already placed an order for lots more copies of JFA, and that he’s going to publicise the signing both in store and in the local press! And it’s definitely a case of things coming full circle, as the first proper job I ever had was at – you guessed it – the Norwich branch of ASDA, where I used to work part time on the fruit and veg section back when I was a student. Allied to the upcoming article in the EDP, the signing should really help raise my profile in my hometown and beyond, which will hopefully get Justice For All where it belongs – into the hands of more readers!
Getting away from publicity for a moment, I’ve just had a really great week working on the third novel in the Zac Hunter series, The Beholder. The writing flowed like a dream and I added over 7,000 words to the total, enabling me to finish the week in upbeat mood. It’s fair to say that the start of this book has been more problematic than the previous two, largely because I haven’t been able to focus my attention on it due to the publicity demands generated by JFA, and the all important editing work needed on the follow up, Blood Law, but now that I’m about a third of the way in things are going well, and I’m excited with how the book is shaping up.
And now for one last comment on publicity. The eagle eyed amongst you might have noticed that Justice For All has been picking up some very strong reviews on Amazon. Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who’s taken the time and trouble to post their comments, and I’m very pleased to hear that they enjoyed the book, but one reviewer in particular deserves special mention – the cryptically named ‘washing machine’ – whose review included the following comments:
“If you are looking to be entertained, intrigued and gripped then buy this today. If Hague doesn't win a Newcomer's Award for this then there is no justice at all.”
Do you see what he/she did there? Very clever – a career in reviewing awaits, me thinks!
In closing this week, I’d like to add a new regular section, entitled: ‘What’s Steve been listening to?’
As many of you will be aware, I’m a big rock music fan, so I’ve decided to share with you the albums that have been getting my foot tapping of late, for no other reason than I can (an idea I nicked off the great Irish author John Connolly – who incidentally invited me to be his friend on My Space last week – how chuffed was I!). My inaugural CD play list is as follows;
Deja Entendu – by Brand New
The Battle Of Los Angeles – by Rage Against the Machine
The Age Of The Understatement – by Last Shadow Puppets
P.S. The photos from the Reading Festival are now up on the site. Click here to check them out.
Monday 1st September
Press and Taxes
Last week was all about press and taxes. The press angle came from an interview I had with Keiron Pim, the literary editor of my local newspaper, the Eastern Daily Press (EDP). The interview went very well, with Keiron proving to be a really nice guy, and I got to tell him all about Justice For All, along with my background as a born and bred Norwich lad. An EDP photographer will visit my house next week to take some shots of yours truly to go alongside the full-page article, which should appear in the newspaper sometime in the next fortnight. Hopefully, this will help generate some additional local buzz about JFA and translate into higher sales!
And just to prove that my life isn’t all rock and roll after the recent excitement of attending both the V and Reading Festivals, I spent a large chunk of last week working on my tax return. As I’m not particularly good at keeping my books up to date, I had to wade through almost a years worth of bank statements and business receipts before I could file the return, but thankfully that onerous job is now done and I can get back to what I do best – writing!
So next week, it will be back to work on the third book in my Zac Hunter series, The Beholder. In addition, keep your eyes peeled for the release of the October edition of Arena magazine, which should feature a full-page article on me where I try to be witty and irreverent!