Thursday, 13 December 2018

Debut Spotlight: G D Sanders

Today is eBook publication day for The Taken Girls and it's my absolute pleasure to be kicking off the blog tour by shining the spotlight on debut author G D Sanders with a guest post about his path to becoming a published novelist.

G D Sanders has previously worked in academia. He is now retired and enjoys writing contemporary crime fiction, as it allows much more creativity than writing scientific research articles. He is based in London. The Taken Girls is his first novel.

I had a manuscript, I found an agent and we got a two-book deal. It happened overnight, didn’t it? Not quite.

The first time I remember writing something to entertain, I was in the 5th form. It was early February, a chemistry practical class, and I was caught talking to a friend about what I intended to do for the 14th. My punishment was to produce two sides on Saint Valentine’s Day. I spent a morning in the local library reading about the mating habits of various animals and discovered that the mating act is more prolonged in the English frog than in the French species. This stimulated an essay on the looser mating habits of frogs across the channel. 

Many years later, I wrote a comedy sketch based on the moment when two AM radio presenters confused the then Pope with two of the Beatles. It’s probably still in the bottom draw where it languished because I had no idea what to do with it. With a keener commercial eye, I switched back to amorous themes and wrote two episodes of a TV sitcom based on Lonely Hearts ads and posted them to a major television company. The Head of Comedy invited me in for a chat and explained why he could not commission a series. To soften the blow, he told me he was the man who had turned down Fawlty Towers.

I decided to turn my hand to writing novels. Each of several summer holidays was spent scribbling the opening chapters of a new novel in a brand-new note book, only for me to leave them all untouched in a drawer. Eventually, I decided to take novel writing seriously. In preparation, I decided to read through the major novels of English Literature starting with the first ever written in the English language. Easy? Oh, no! Was it Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko (1688) or Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719)? The argument, which centred on whether Oroonoko is truly a novel, was heavily influenced by the sex of the authors. I opted for Behn because I preferred her writing and was fascinated by her career as the first English woman to earn a living from writing. With a less than keen eye on commercial success, I wrote a novel based on the conceit that Aphra had written a long-lost autobiography in which each chapter was presented in a different style of writing from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century. Later, after the manuscript had been rejected by several literary agents, I decided a more commercial approach was required.

As a would-be author, I turned to a life of crime. Over the years I’d read classic crime novels, but I was becoming increasingly attracted to Scandinavian writers via the Kurt Wallander novels of Henning Mankell. Perhaps Thanet, in North East Kent, would be my Sk√•ne. I discovered Curtis Brown Creative just after writing the opening chapters of my first contemporary crime novel and was fortunate to be offered a place on their Autumn 2013 novel writing course. Over the next four and a half years my writing gained much from CBC tutors, my fellow students (with whom I still meet regularly), CB and C&W agents. By the end of the course, my original novel in progress had become the first two novels in an intended series featuring a female protagonist, DI Ed (Edina) Ogborne. Periodically submitting my repeatedly revised manuscript was sustained by an increasing resolution spurred by a growing list of rejections.

In late 2017, I sent what was by then the 28th draft of novel #1 to a new selection of agents. The first of two lucky days occurred about two months later; Jo Bell, of Bell Lomax Moreton, offered representation, which I accepted. It was ten weeks, and considerable re-writing, before the second lucky day arrived when Phoebe Morgan of HarperCollins Avon offered a two-book deal. With tremendous help from my agent, Jo, and my editor, Phoebe, plus the expertise of the superb Avon Team, my first Ed Ogborne novel, The Taken Girls, is now published as an E-book, with a paperback version due in February 2019. My second DI Ogborne novel is slated for publication in June 2019.

Someone is watching them…

When a missing teenage girl reappears unharmed but pregnant, the case falls to DI Edina Ogborne, the newest recruit of Canterbury Police. But Ed’s already got her hands full with a team who don’t want her, an ex who won’t quit, and terrible guilt over a secret from her past.

As Ed investigates the case, she discovers Canterbury has seen this crime not once, but several times before. And when Ed and her detectives encounter missing historic police files, falsified school records, and Ed’s new lover as a prime suspect, it becomes clear that the system has been corrupted.

Can Ed find the kidnapper behind these depraved crimes before he strikes again? Or has time already run out?  

Due to work commitments I haven't had much reading time lately but have just started reading The Taken Girls this week so am hoping to have a review for it on the blog before the year end.

All book titles in bold are Amazon UK Affiliate links which will earn me a few pence if anyone clicks through and makes a purchase - any money earned will go towards buying books or gifts for giveaways. 

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