>So, what’s it all about, then?

>It occured to me today that, despite all my waffle here, and various people being very encouraging and even saying how much they are looking forward to reading THE LONG SECOND when (if?) it gets published, I’ve actually spoken very little about the book itself.

In sharing this now, I’m aware that it may sound a little presumptuous. There is still every chance that THE LONG SECOND will not get published. If that’s the case, then I’m going to look pretty foolish and possibly even a little full of myself for thinking that a first attempt could be considered good enough. On the other hand, if it does get published then, well, you heard about it here first!

When I sat down to write the synopsis and query letter for THE LONG SECOND the most difficult part was choosing the genre in which it should be placed. Thankfully, Lora (our agent) disagreed with our specified Soft Sci-Fi and calls it “a contemporary tale of family interaction, greed, responsibility and redemption”.

Our original query letter didn’t sell the book very well – though it was good enough to pique Lora’s interest. The revised one does a better job, I think, though it never actually got sent to anyone. That’s a shame in a way, so I thought I’d share it here.

How many times, as a child, did you play the game of wishing you had a Super-Power? What did you choose? Did you want to fly, or become invisible, or turn things to ice? These are the thoughts that Tony Cole uses to help him get through the day doing to most boring job in the world (a job he loves precisely because it allows him to think these things). Tony’s preference is to be invisible, though, if he’s honest, his reasons are a little seedy. You can imagine his surprise when he notices a small anomaly in time and stumbles upon the ability to time-travel.

What could you do with such an ability? Still hungry? Go back in time and have breakfast again. Left your mobile at work? Go back in time and remember to pick it up. Smashed your girlfriend’s mirror? Go back in time and move it away from the edge of the cabinet. Your brother kills himself and an innocent woman while drink-driving following a confrontation with you because you’ve discovered he’s having an affair with your girlfriend? Saving the woman is easy, but does your brother deserve to be saved?

There are rules that have to be followed if you want to play with time; they’re not always obvious, and can have some interesting consequences, as Tony discovers while trying to solve all his family’s many problems. But Tony is a good man at heart, and if he’s lucky he might even end up with the girl of his dreams, but he’s going to have to work hard to get there.


3 Comments to “>So, what’s it all about, then?”

  1. >Intriguing and a hint of darkness there, I really can't wait to read it. In fact, I'll take massive umbridge if denied the chance.

  2. >I'd have always thought that the easiest way to see what genre a story is, is to remove a major element and see if it affects the story. If it does, then that element dictates the genre.Remove magic from Harry Potter, and it turns into a rather dull series about schools; ergo it is fantasy. Although, of course, JKR has argued that it actually isn't, to which Pratchett mocked her publically.Good to see the two biggest contemporary names in a genre getting on.So, you remove the time travel element from your novel. Does your story still function? Yes? Then it's not sci-fi. It's something else with a sci-fi (or arguably fantasy) element.Of course, you only have to look at the reception that Thursbitch got to see that even reviewers can get a little confused. Despite being quite clearly a time-travelly, sci-fi kinda novel, it's to be found in the fantasy section.I'm not sure what part of Waterstones you'd put "a contemporary tale of family interaction, greed, responsibility and redemption" in. I'd ask Lora that. Do people go in looking for something which ticks those sort of boxes, or do they do what just potter around the sections they prefer?

  3. >Now I really want to read it! I will be very upset (I loved that Maya would "take umbridge") if it's not!

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