Monday, June 17, 2013

Guest Blogger Darren Craske: My Road to Publishing



My Road to Publishing
Guest post by Darren Craske, author of 
The Cornelius Quaint Chronicles


Way away back in 2006/2007, when I first came up with the outline for the first of the Cornelius Quaint
Chronicles, it was always intended to be an ongoing series.

Fusing my love of writing and drawing my own comic books with my love of things such as Doctor Who, Indiana Jones, a bit of Sherlock Holmes and a dash of James Bond, I wanted to create a story set in Victorian England about a travelling circus that gets mixed up in a conspiracy involving serial murders and lots of sly goings-on, with a few steampunk/supernatural elements thrown into the mix.

I approached writing the book in the same way that I approached writing comics. I wanted to create a group of people with different skill-sets (super-powers, for want of a better hyphenated word). Just as with any good super-team, I knew that I needed to have various types of characters to balance it out: a strongman, an acrobat (or two), a skilled knife-thrower, a clairvoyant fortune-teller, and the grizzly, short-tempered conjuror who leads them. I wanted my main character to be in his mid-fifties (purely because that’s how old Bruce Wayne was in ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ by Frank Miller, which I devoured and adored in my teens) and it also gave me the chance to give him any sort of back-story that I wanted, or give him no back-story at all. The possibilities were endless.

I knew exactly what story I wanted to write, how many books it would take me to get there, and what was going to happen after that, but what I didn’t know was that the journey to get to that point would not be easy.

I was rejected many times when I had submitted pieces of work to publishers and agents (this was long before self-publishing or even ebooks came along) and after many years of trying and failing, I was lucky enough to find a website where you could publish the first few chapters of your book, and then get constrictive criticisms from your peers (there are a lot more of these around nowadays, such as HarperCollins’ authonomy site). A clever points system for characters, writing style, plot and setting was introduced, and those excerpts that scored the highest were shown to a professional publisher, with the possibility of getting a publishing deal.

I had received so many rejections from previous attempts, so I didn’t hold out much hope. But then I was contacted by a gentleman called Scott Pack who, at the time, had just moved on from being the head buyer for Waterstone’s book stores to being part of a publishing company called The Friday Project, whose aim was to spot talented authors on the internet and transform their books into reality. Scott spotted and enjoyed the first few chapters of what was to become The Equivoque Principle and he wanted to read more. One thing led to another and after a couple of months I was offered a publishing contract.

With the benefit of knowing exactly where I wanted my main characters to go, I walked into that initial 1 book contract full of ideas for the future, and when it changed from being a 1 book to a 4 book contract, I was able to sow the seeds in each of the first 3 books, leading up to the status quo changing revelations contained within the fourth. Everything fell into place, but I was careful to leave a few threads dangling so that I could pick up on them once I had concluded the initial 4 book arc. 

Now my 4 book contract with The Friday Project (owned by HarperCollins) has come to an end, and it
feels like my love for the characters has been rejuvenated, now that I am no longer tied to telling their origins. With the advent and accessibility of self-publishing, it means that I can write what and release it whenever I want, so to me whilst this is an ending of sorts, it is only just the beginning for where the series is going to go next.

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Darren Craske began his career writing and illustrating comic books before his first published work, The Equivoque Principle in 2008. Since then he has written 3 more volumes of The Cornelius Quaint Chronicles, plus 2 short stories featuring the enigmatic conjuror, with the 5th book in the series, The Monarch Key, due later in 2013. He has also written several other books for adults and younger readers. Craske lives in the United Kingdom with his wife and two children.

Get Darren Craske's books on AMAZON
 
The Quaint Chronicles
The Monarch Key (2013)

For mature(ish) readers
Beyond His Years (2013)

For younger readers


Follow him on Twitter @DarrenCraske

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