Hello! As The Bookseller revealed yesterday, I now have a two-book deal with Orbit Books.
This is a great big bag of wonderful.
Founded in 1974, Orbit have published the late Iain Banks’ work. As if any more Impressive Info were needed, they’ve also published some of the finest genre novels I’ve read in recent times. I’m talking about the likes of MR Carey’s The Girl With All The Gifts, which I absolutely loved, and Claire North’s mind-bogglingly great novels The Fifteen Lives Of Harry August and Touch.
My God. Talk about esteemed company.
This deal was the result of a four-way auction between publishing houses, which confirmed my long-held suspicion that my AM Heath agent Oli Munson is an evil genius, disguised as a charming and dapper gentleman.
The two Orbit books will be unrelated standalones. The first, The Last Days Of Jack Sparks, finally tells the full story of tragic celebrity journalist and social media star Jack Sparks, who died in mysterious circumstances in 2014. Many questions will be answered. For instance: why was he so convinced that the exorcism he saw in Italy was fake? And what was the true origin of the creepy video which he insisted he didn’t make himself, despite it having appeared on his YouTube account?
It’s been an honour to work on this project, because I’ll admit to having always seen redeeming features in Jack, however controversial and even hated he often was. Back when I was a rock journalist writing for Kerrang! magazine, and he was working on the NME, Jack and I would often find ourselves waiting to interview the same bands. This became a running gag and we’d often have a drink afterwards (or even before.) There's no question that Jack strutted vainly along the thin line between confidence and arrogance, and his forthright views certainly upset a lot of people of faith, but he was also a very funny guy with his head screwed on in many ways. It’s been an incredible, if disturbing and often upsetting process, to work on Jack’s final book alongside his brother Alistair, and I sincerely hope it brings some form of closure to the millions of Jack Sparks fans worldwide.
Jack’s personal website remains online at JackSparks.co.uk in an edited and curated form, as an enduring tribute to him. Take a look and you’ll get an idea of his personality. Maybe a sense of the downward spiral his life took during his final year on Earth. You’ll also read anecdotes about meeting Jack from the likes of multi-talented Derren Brown collaborator Andy Nyman and the tremendous authors Sarah Lotz, MR Carey, Christopher Brookmyre and John Higgs.
The first editions of The Last Days Of Jack Sparks, for quick-on-the-draw early adopters, will be the trade paperback and ebook in March 2016. These will be followed by the main release, a mass-market paperback in July. There will of course be plenty more exciting details to come, but for now I just wanted to finally announce this deal – on Halloween! I’m very excited to have found the ideal publishing partner for my first original novels as a ‘solo’ writer. One of the greatest things about the news being out, is I can now publicly thank legends like Oli, who ‘got’ the Jack Sparks project from the very beginning, and my brilliant editor Anna Jackson who helped take it to new levels, again and again.
For irregular non-spammy updates, plus the insider’s view on what’s going on with The Last Days Of Jack Sparks, sign up for my e-mailing list The Necronoppicon here. Also be sure to sign up to Orbit’s own Jack Sparks list, in order to be one of the first to read the full book!
Oh, and one of the pages at JackSparks.co.uk contains a link to a hearty extract from the start of the book: the Foreword and the whole of Chapter One, to be precise. If you enjoy it, feel free to spread the word and/or the link, using the Twitter hashtag #JackSparks if you’re so inclined. Thank you!
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