Today I am delighted to welcome author GJ Minett to The Love of a Good Book.
I’ve mentioned quite a few times recently that I’m now well into book 3 and hope to finish it in mid-April. It would actually be more accurate to describe it as the third novel destined for publication because it is in fact the ninth I’ll have completed. In fact, if we throw in for good measure the dozen or so that I’ve started and then abandoned after a few pages and the fifty or so others that have come to me as abstract ideas at different times over the years but never found their way onto the page, we’re looking at quite a substantial body of work, albeit one of highly questionable quality.
When The Hidden Legacy was published as my debut novel, it was the culmination of a lengthy and largely frustrating apprenticeship that started years and years ago with a novel called Lobello, which owed a great deal to Tom Sharpe and became my first near miss. The next attempt was called (and I kid you not) Breaking Wint – all I can say in my own defence is that scatological humour was very much in vogue at the time and it did at least interest an agent who has gone onto much greater things, but I can’t even bring myself to dip into it now. I don’t need to be reminded how bad it was.
Having got Tom Sharpe out of my system, I tried my hand at my first psychological suspense novel, Losing It, which also had supernatural overtones. I still quite like this and wonder occasionally if I might be able to do something with it now that I am more experienced but its central failing was that it left things too vague and open for the reader at the end.
So on from there to crime and A Dish Served Cold which was as generic and derivative as its title suggests, not to mention more than a little pervy. I didn’t even make much of an effort to interest publishers with it because by then I had a pretty good idea of what they did NOT want and was sure it was very much in that category.
The Tree House however was better. It was a first person narrative by an embittered old school teacher who was having difficulties in coming to terms with the way the world was leaving him behind . . . and before you even go there, it was not based on yours truly. The opening chapters of this got me onto the MA in Creative Writing at Chichester which was really the springboard for everything that followed, so I suppose it can be said to have served its purpose.
You may be surprised however to know that my most recent ‘no go’ actually came after The Hidden Legacy. While my agent was seeking a two-book deal, he urged me to make sure I actually had a second book to offer, so I started writing Benefit of the Doubt and finished it in six months. I sent it to my agent, quite happy that he would love it as he had its predecessor and received an email soon after suggesting I put it in a drawer and chalk it up to experience. At the time I was as surprised as I was disappointed but agents always know best and Lie In Wait, over which I took a great deal of care and which was very much fuelled by my anxieties that I might turn out to be a one-book author, was a much better product as a result.
I may go back to Benefit of the Doubt someday and see if it can be salvaged. The others however can stay where they are, hidden away in ring binders that are gathering dust. They may never have made it but they were stepping stones to better things and I’ll always remember them with a certain amount of fondness.
Well . . . maybe not Breaking Wint.
G.J. Minett studied at Cambridge and then spent many years as a teacher of foreign languages. He studied for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester, and won the 2010 Chapter One Prize for unpublished novels with the opening chapter of The Hidden Legacy. You can follow him on Twitter @gjminett and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/grahamminettauthor.
A man is dead. A woman is missing. And the police have already found their prime suspect…
Owen Hall drives into a petrol station to let his passenger use the facilities. She never comes back – and what’s more, it seems she never even made it inside.
When Owen raises a fuss, the police are called – and soon identify Owen himself as a possible culprit – not least because they already have him in the frame for another more sinister crime.
Owen’s always been a little different, and before long others in the community are baying for his blood. But this is a case where nothing is as it seems – least of all Owen Hall…
A dark, addictive thriller, ingeniously plotted with a twist that will make you gasp, LIE IN WAIT is perfect for readers of Angela Marsons or Rachel Abbott.