Skip to main content

Whew..... What a year.

It's my birthday! And one of the most common responses I've had is that I've had an incredible year. Which put me in mind of trying to capture it. And it's Friday and blog day and....

Where was I at the turn of 2015? Well, I had an agent and a book out on submission. I had a three book deal with my first book coming out in March. I had my first publisher edit ahead - although, to be fair, I had been edited by Teresa Edgerton before and knew she at least liked the book. Things were looking exciting and, at the same time, daunting.

Why daunting? Well... Writers, by our nature, can be nervy. Last January only a handful of people had read either Abendau's Heir or Inish Carraig - mostly close writing friends whose role is to be critical. I had no idea how either would be received - particularly Abendau with its dark, dark themes. Since Kare had been the character I'd started writing to capture and his world had been building since secondary school, when I needed a place to escape to, I wanted to do him justice.

And then, in January, I lost my agent and things, on the Inish front, were in freefall. It wasn't the auspicious start to the year I wanted. So to come out of that year and be able to say it turned out to be a great year is fantastic (and makes me count every blessing.)

Abendau's Heir was well received. It got the sort of reviews anyone would dream of for their debut book (and gave me a shot in the arm, since I believe book 2 and 3 are stronger). The darkness didn't put people off - in fact, for some readers, it was what set the book apart. I had a launch night with stormtroopers, retail presence, readers. I felt like a real-life writer. I even went to a con and sat chatting to Real Real real-life writers on panels and in the green room. So, like, wow.....

And then I brought out Inish Carraig myself, having just about had enough of changing it for markets and waiting and knocks. A couple of weeks before the launch, when covers were complete and copy edits underway, I received a final critique on the book by a fellow writer. It was, undoubtedly, the most wounding crit I've been given. The book was terrible. The characters didn't work. Josey's storyline - which I loved - added nothing. And as for my depiction of Belfast....

Did I waver? Hell, yes. Betas were called on, and husbands and mums, and confidence was partially restored. A great first review from Brian Turner on the sffchrons helped. I sent Inish out into the big world at the end of August and would love to say I was relaxed this time, but in honesty I was biting my nails and hoping people would like it.

They loved it. The reviews were astounding. The sales were... Okay. Until I did a bookbub promo at which point it went through the roof. As a result, Abendau was picked up by others and now both are riding high. And then I got a contract for my fantasy book, The Waters and the Wild, and suddenly I have writing work until 2017. Really.
So, what about 2016, I hear you ask (assuming anyone's read this far.) Well, March sees the release of Sunset over Abendau. Set ten years after Abendau's Heir, we'll see a very changed set of characters - much more jaded, and still reeling from the events of book one. But we have a new characters, some bringing danger, some opportunity. We also find out the truth of who Ealyn was and the legacy he's left. It's faster paced than book one, with lots of nail-biting chapter ends and it's probably my favourite book - in terms of fun writing - of the trilogy.

In the autumn, book 3 will be out. It will bring things full circle and make a lot of what happened in Abendau's Heir have more relevance. I hope it feels like a trilogy - because that's what it was planned to be - with a three book arc.

In the meantime I'll be writing and promoting (I'm on the radio in 2 weeks, am podcasting with the fab Rob Matheny's Grimtidings, and have some events coming up in March) juggling and, mostly, hoping 2016 is as good as 2015 has been.

But for now, happy Christmas/season's greetings/happy holidays, whatever floats your book, and thanks for all the purchasers, reviews, support and cake. :)


That's wonderful, Jo. So happy for you!
SFF Den said…
Congratulations on a great year Jo.

I am sure you have worked hard and deserve success and recognition!

Looking forward to Abendau's Heir which I am going to review early next year.
Joanne Zebedee said…
Thanks, both! (And yes, it's been a lot of work!)

It'll be interesting to see what you think of Abendau....:)

Popular posts from this blog

A NATURAL HISTORY OF GOBLINS - a guest blog by Teresa Edgerton

Some fantasy writers like to write about elves, others prefer werewolves, vampires, or zombies. I have a penchant for goblins.

In folklore, the word "goblin" has been applied in myriad ways. A goblin might be a mischievous sprite like Puck, a hideous, vengeful ghost, or even a beneficient house spirit such as a brownie. Sometimes it was used as a synonym for fairy, sometimes applied to a separate race: small, ugly, and malicious. I've taken advantage of this ambiguity, and in each series of books I've written where goblins appear, I've reinvented them.

In the second Celydonn series (sequels to The Green Lion Trilogy) they are fuathan, bad fairies if you will. I like writing about fairies. Even the best of them are not nice; they are not benevolent. On occasion they may be extravagently generous. Grateful for small favors, they return them with magnificent gifts and spectacular rewards. But you cannot trust them. Their morality is not our morality, their laws…

Getting hearts racing, an interview with fantasy-romance novelist Suzanne Jackson

Today I'm chatting with Suzanne Jackson, whose debut novel has been picked up by Venus Ascending, a new fantasy/sci-fi romance imprint headed up by Teresa Edgerton. I'm lucky enough to be a critique partner of Sue's, and can confirm that this book is something special with a great, unique world, sumptuous writing, a fantastic female lead, and the so-bad-he's-irresistible Nicholas Jarrett.
So I thought I'd be the first to nab the elusive Suzanne and find out what makes her - and her world - tick.


Firstly, tell us a little about your world, and how you've managed to marry fantasy with romance?

Hi, Jo. Thank you for inviting me onto your blog for my very first interview. I’m thrilled to be able to talk a little bit about my book and characters.
The Beguiler is set in a fantasy world similar in many ways to Georgian England. Many people are superstitious, with goo…


This week a theme has emerged over my conversations and interactions, almost organically. That theme is about communities and how they can give a voice and strength to the individuals within it. I’m a member of a range of writing communities. Some, such as Women Aloud and the SFFchronicles, I’m pretty central to. Some, less so:
Despite having a reputation for writing some dark scenes, my work isn’t dark enough to be classed as grimdark*. And I don’t read a whole heap of Grimdark books (the odd one slips through my eclectic book-selection part of my brain, but so does the odd macho-man romance.) But I like the Grimdark community grimdark fiction readers & writers – they’re funny and warm (I know, I know, they really need to up their grim credentials) and very welcoming. And moderated as tightly as a group needs to be. So, I hang around and post the odd comment and chat with the odd member – not that they’re all odd, of course – and that’s as far as it needs to go. The group have …