Friday, 4 January 2008

The first review

An unexpected New Year present was an early (astonishingly early) review in Publishers Weekly of Waterloo Sunset – ‘impressive…skilfully weaves the strands together…twisty whodunit’; yep, thanks, I’ll definitely settle for that.

It’s always difficult to predict how reviewers will react to one’s new book. The secret is not to fret about reviews too much in advance – but needless to say, this is much easier said than done, hence my relief right now. I’ve been very lucky with critical reaction over the years, but the reality is that you can’t please all the people all of the time. Nevertheless, if the vibes generally are negative, chances are that something has gone wrong. So I’m hoping that others will share the opinion of the PW reviewer. This is the first time that one of my Harry Devlin books (as opposed to the Lake District Mysteries) has been published in the US at the same time as the UK. So far, the Lakes books have probably struck more of a chord with American readers than the Liverpool series, but I’d like to think that Waterloo Sunset will make an equal impression on both sides of the Atlantic.

It’s certainly a book I was very keen to write and I’d like to take this opportunity to say how much I appreciate the support of my UK and US editors, Susie Dunlop and Barbara Peters, in agreeing (despite, I’m sure, reservations about my taking a year off from the Lakes) to let me return to my first series. Publishers need good writers, but it’s equally true that writers need good publishers. And my experience of Allison & Busby and Poisoned Pen Press (as well as Luebbe, my German publishers) has been enormously positive. I want to repay their faith by continuing to improve as a novelist

Right now, there’s only one snag. The PW review was based – as is often the way - on an uncorrected advance reading copy of Waterloo Sunset. I still have to crack on with the corrections for the American edition, as well as working on the copy edited manuscript from Allison & Busby. I confess that I’m not the most enthusiastic proof-checker in the world (I blame checking too many legal documents over the years – now I tend to read what I think I wrote.) Certainly, I lack the discerning eye of my fellow blogger Juliet Doyle, whom I came to know when she put in tireless and very effective work on the proofs of my last law book.

But at least now I can get on with the task in good heart, buoyed by that lovely first review.

1 comment:

Juliet said...

Congratulations!! What a lovely way to start the New Year.

(and thanks for kind words)