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Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Suicide Hour

The dust is finally settling after internal restructuring at Random House - I expect you can read about that somewhere else - so with thanks to those who've gone out of their way to ask, I can tell you that The Suicide Hour is back on track.

I received a copy of the edited manuscript on Christmas Eve and worked on it over the holidays. It's a sympathetic edit, and some of the points raised have driven me to make significant improvements to the finished book. A reminder to me of how a good publisher raises an author's game. Some of my earliest paperback originals were just marked-up and printed without any real editorial or proofing stage, and the results could be pretty shabby. These past few weeks have made me cast my mind back to my first proper engagement with an experienced editor - neither critic nor reader, but another kind of creature altogether. One whose forte was finding my weak spots, the points where I'd maybe had my doubts but persuaded myself to ignore them, and exposing stuff I'd unconsciously thought I could get away with.

The Suicide Hour is set in 1912. It isn't a direct sequel to The Kingdom of Bones but a new story featuring that novel's Sebastian Becker, ex-British Detective, one-time Pinkerton man, now working as Special Investigator to the Lord Chancellor's Visitor in Lunacy.

It's a murder mystery, with locations ranging from Southwark to the Americas. Becker is sent to the West Country to establish the mental state of Sir Owain Lancaster, a discredited industrialist under the control of a personal physician. Following the deaths of two children on Lancaster's land, Becker unravels the secrets of a disastrous expedition that destroyed the man's reputation and possibly his sanity.

Life is strange. In the UK I'm a forgotten '90s horror writer (no complaints; it was a hell of a run) while in the US I'm now a literary author.

I'll post dates and cover scans when I get them.

6 comments:

andrew_greenwood512 said...

Hurrah! More books, less TV

Lee Goldberg said...

Congratulation...

...on the new book
...on having found a great editor
...and on your rebirth as a literary writer.

What's next?

Lee

Stephen Gallagher said...

Got another book planned and a couple of script ideas to work on... one of my pilots is in play, the other's been sidelined. Novel-wise I'm itching to write something contemporary again, but after Kingdom of Bones my contract specified another historical so that idea had to come first.

I do find balancing script and prose tricky. For me the difference in pacing and approach is so extreme that I have to block out weeks or months for a book draft and focus on it to the exclusion of other work.

Silver Moss Jewellery said...

Oh, that's really good to hear. Whether you're a forgotton fright writer or poncey literary star, I always enjoy your prose tales, Stephen.

Dimbleby said...

Looking forward to 'The Suicide Hour'!

gcw

Stephen Gallagher said...

Thanks. Sorry you've had to wait... but when a publisher restructures while your book's in production, you just have to hold your breath and get through!