Sharjah International Book Fair 29th Edition

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Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
ExpoCenter 7th - 17th November, 2012. Hours | Saturday - Thursday: 10a.m. - 10p.m.; Friday: 4p.m - 10p.m.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Fake Plastic Souks: So You've Written A Book. What's It About?

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The first question anyone asks you when they find out you've written a book is 'What's it about?'. This is a natural byproduct of human curiosity, but comes with a built-in conundrum. You have about fifteen seconds before their eyes glaze over and they suddenly remember they had to be somewhere else like really fast.

How do you sum up your 80,000 words of lovingly crafted prose in a few seconds? You can't just read them the blurb (you could maybe have it printed onto index cards to give to people. Hmmm, that might be an idea), but you need to find a way of getting the scheme across to them because if writing books does nothing else, it transforms us from thieves into salesmen.

Thieves? Yes, everyone wot writes books steals moments, traits, expressions and gestures from the people around them. The biggest act of thievery in Olives, for instance, is Northern Irish spy Gerald Lynch. He's got a hangup about being called 'Gerry', it's always Gerald. He's spent twenty years escaping from being Gerry Lynch. That, for instance, was stolen. Someone said it to me in a meeting and I couldn't wait to get away and make that phrase into a new character. Believe it or not, the spy in Olives used to be a fiftyish, gingery fellow called Nigel Soames. Gerald Lynch, born of a theft, replaced him that very evening and has gone on to be the central character in my two subsequent books.

Salesman because all I want to do is sell you my book now. When you ask me what it's about, I'm going to take the chance to tell you enough to make you want to pick it up when you see it in the bookshop, beguiled by Naeema Zarif's stunning cover art, and take it to the cash counter. I want you to click on the book cover on the right, go to the the Kindle store and send the data flying over Whispernet to populate your reader.And I want you to be curious enough to click the 'Olives - A Violent Romance' link on my blog and find out more about it so you can be ready to buy it when it comes out in December. At least you know what's deep in my black little heart now, the next time we meet. And don't think it stops there, by the way. I want to talk you into reviewing it on Amazon and GoodReads too. I've become quite shameless.

And, as you ask, Olives is about a young British journalist called Paul Stokes who goes to Jordan to live and work who becomes attracted to a Jordanian girl. He's blackmailed into spying on her family by British intelligence, who claim the family's involved in funding terrorism and he has to try to work out quite who the good guys and bad guys are as a series of massive bombings go off around him that seem somehow tied to his movements. With each decision he makes, things just get worse until he finds he has to betray everyone around him to survive.

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