17 November 2017

Special Guest Post by Author Alison Brodie: The Bottom Line

New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Devious, ruthless, and loyal, Zenka is a capricious Hungarian
with a dark past.

“For though to be read is not the motive which impels the author to write, but once he has written his desire is to be read” – W. Somerset Maugham

I have always written. Silly pieces that didn’t go further than a few paragraphs, then I managed a page or two. Suddenly something shifted inside me and I had a story that HAD to be told…

I was on a modelling assignment in the Scottish Highlands with a (truly beautiful but volatile) Italian model (Peri). We stayed in an old farmhouse with the owner, a housekeeper from the village, the German photographer and his assistant. The owner was the rugged sort with the typical Scottish no-nonsense attitude. And he and Peri struck sparks off each other. It was fascinating to watch, but scary; they were like big cats circling each other waiting for the moment to attack (but they couldn’t when the photographer was present).

When Peri and I were flying back to London, I suddenly felt this PING! In my head. The story of Peri and Douglas rushed towards me and I couldn’t get to paper and pen quick enough!
I did not write with the thought of big bucks in my head. I wrote because I HAD to.

The book became Face to Face. The first agent I sent it to, Dinah Weiner, signed me up immediately and got me a two-book deal with Hodder within three weeks. Face to Face did really well, but when it came to the second book, I froze. I didn’t have anything to write! Day after day, I stared at a blank piece of paper and … nothing.

Eventually, I managed to finish a book that was OK and it was published, but Hodder declined to keep me on.

I was without a publisher.

After the traumatic experience of Second Book Syndrome, I stopped writing. I kept myself busy settling into my new home in Shawnee, Kansas. Then one day a character came into my head, then another. They were telling me their story. And I let them lead me on. This was to become The Double, a tale of an American rock star and a poor Scottish nurse changing places.

At the time, it was entitled Famous Last Words. I sent it to my agent, Dinah Wiener, and she wrote back, saying, I quote: “Well, I’ve now finished Famous Last Words and congratulate you – it’s a really good read, a page-turner with good characterisation and a splendid plot. I look forward to offering it, and to representing you again. My agency agreement letter is enclosed.”

You can imagine how I felt! But … she couldn’t sell it to a publishing house.

I was gutted. (That’s not a nice word, but it aptly describes how I felt!)

My contract with Dinah fizzled out. I was in a literary wilderness.

But I kept on writing. Why? Because I HAD to. (Fellow writers will understand what I mean). I wrote Wild Life and sent it off to agents. The rejections were crippling. (Stephen King used to put his rejections on a nail in the wall until one day the rejections got so heavy the nail fell out).

I wanted desperately to be READ. So I became an indie author. In 2015/16 I published Wild Life then The Double – both on Amazon Kindle. It was so easy, so quick! (A traditionally-published book can take over a year to see the light of day. With Kindle your book is born with 72 hours!).

I published Brake Failure earlier this year with 28 five-star reviews from book bloggers. Zenka was published last week and the 24 five-star reviews on Goodreads are all from book bloggers.

I don’t write for the money (Come on, Alison, tell us the truth!) Well, yes, I would like to make some dosh but the truth is (honestly!) I want to be read – just like Somerset.

I want to be READ. That is the bottom line.

And, finally, it is happening. Book bloggers have taken time out of their busy lives to risk reading an unknown indie – me. And by being an indie I have found myself in the warm, fuzzy world that is the blogging community. Book bloggers don’t read books for money. They don’t do it for gain. They do it out of love … love for literature. They are not reading my books cos they see dollar signs. They read them cos they LIVE books. They are intrepid explorers in a literary jungle.

I’ve never before had such encouragement and support. For instance, the guy who runs this blog? Tony Riches? I don’t know him. Yet, out of the blue, he invites me to write something on his blog. The night before the release of Zenka, I am worried that I haven’t done enough to promote the launch, and suddenly I get an email from Tony asking if I want him to help launch Zenka. YAY! And ever since, he has been quietly promoting me.

I hope, one day, the general public will read my books and if they do, it will be totally due to people like Tony Riches.

Thank you.

Alison Brodie

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About the Author

Alison Brodie is a Scot with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother's side. Alison has lived all over the world, including Kansas City, Athens and Basque country. Her first novel Face to Face was published by Hodder & Stoughton and became Good Housekeeping's Pick of the Paperbacks. Find out more at Alison's website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @alisonbrodie2 

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