On Monday September 5, I went on Simon Mayo's Drivetime show to talk about The Last Days Of Jack Sparks for the Radio 2 Book Club segment. The Book Club only picks twenty-six books per year, so it was truly amazing when they so wholeheartedly embraced a scary thriller like Sparks.
Simon and everyone involved with the show couldn't be more welcoming. They immediately smooth over any last-minute nerves you might experience as you enter the studio. Before I had too much time to consider that we were being heard by millions, live on air, Mr Mayo and his right-hand man Matt Williams chatted to me like the consummate pros they are. Can't say I expected to be asked to tell the story about being surrounded by the Pope's armed guards at the Vatican, but it certainly made for a strong ice-breaker.
I'll confess to being momentarily unnerved when Matt related how he read fifty or sixty pages of Sparks before deciding he'd had enough... but then he added how the rest of the team had practically ordered him to carry on! He came to consider Sparks as, "one of the best books we've done on the Book Club this year". Phew and wow and phew again. I'm really glad we addressed the issue of Jack Sparks' likeability, too, because some folk might find the opening chapters infuriating in isolation. Jack's a terribly selfish, blinkered and egotistical individual, but there are reasons why he's that way. There's much more to discover about him and about the book, so hang on in there!
We talked about certainty in the social media age, exactly how scary The Last Days Of Jack Sparks has proven to be for many readers and what I'm doing next. We also heard reviews of the book from volunteers who had been randomly chosen to receive it. Another nervewracking moment...
As I'd hoped, appearing on the Radio 2 Book Club has given Sparks an incredible boost. In the hours that followed my appearance on the show, the novel entered Amazon's Top 100 Books chart (as in, all the books, regardless of genre, fiction or non) at Number 89! How staggering. It also entered the Number One spot in Amazon UK's Movers & Shakers chart, which documents the fastest climbers in any given twenty-four hour period.
I really can't thank everyone enough for all of this, but nevertheless I have to try.
Thanks so much to Simon Mayo, Matt Williams, producer Joe Haddow and everyone else on the Drivetime show.
Thanks so much to the Reading Agency (who do such great work in encouraging people to read - a cause I can most definitely get behind) and to all the amazing UK librarians who helped pick The Last Days Of Jack Sparks for the Radio 2 Book Club.
Thanks so much to everyone who has bought, read and spread the word about Jack Sparks, before and since the Radio 2 Book Club. You are literally helping to ensure I continue to have a career in writing.
Listen to me being interrogated on Simon Mayo's Drivetime Show here (the Radio 2 Book Club segment begins about one hour and eight minutes in) on BBC iPlayer for the next four weeks
And here's the Radio 2 Book Club page for the book, including a free extract
Here's the paperback at Amazon UK. And the Kindle edition. And here it is at Waterstones. And Forbidden Planet.
Here's the Jack Sparks tribute page. And here's the Jack Sparks page on this very site.
Have you already read and enjoyed the book? Scroll down for some suggestions as to how you can help keep the Radio 2 buzz alive! Thank you!
Already Read + Like The Book?
Review Jack Sparks Somewhere!
I can't begin to tell you how important book reviews are: especially for a debut novel. Plus, good reviews help to counter the occasional one-star assessment...
Would you like to write a quick (or not so quick, I'm not the boss of you) review of the book at Amazon or iBooks, thereby attaining ULTRA-SAINT status? Wow. Wowww. Here are the links you need:
Amazon: UK | US | Canada | Australia | Italy
France | Netherlands | Spain| Germany | Japan
India | Mexico | Brazil
iTunes Store links: UK | US | Australia
And if you're in the UK, here's the handy link to the wonderful online world of Waterstones, where a review would also be entirely amazing. Same goes for Forbidden Planet! And, of course, your very own blog! You'll have to provide your own link to that last one...
Tell Other People About Jack Sparks
If there's one thing that every publisher in the world probably wishes they could buy, it's word of mouth. Because you really can't beat someone you know and trust telling you about a book they loved.
Join My Mailing List
Sign up for my occasional e-mailing list, The Necronoppicon, which is guaranteed spam-free. Make sure you're among the first to find out about my next novel for Orbit Books.
'Like' My Facebook Page
Here's that oh-so-handy link, so you can keep up with developments, AKA me quacking about stuff.
Check Out Other Stuff I've Written
The Last Days Of Jack Sparks is my debut 'solo' novel, but I've written some other things you might enjoy. Some of them are currently free...
Beast In The Basement
A thriller novella which seems to make readers exclaim quite loudly at key moments. More here.
A Sincere Warning About The Entity In Your Home
A ghost story set in the home of whoever reads it. This novelette is also available in a bespoke Paper Edition! More here.
A novelette, currently available for free on my Free Books page
A short story, currently available for free on my Free Books page. I especially recommend this one to Jack Sparks fans.
How To Interview Doctor Who, Ozzy Osbourne And Everyone Else
My sole non-fiction title. I started out in rock journalism, ten million years ago, and this book aims to pass on everything I ever learnt about interviewing people as a journalist. More here.