Monday 19 December 2011

Two For One

When Trestle Press put out my novella Smoke, there was a brief period of uneasy silence.

As this was my first extended piece of fiction, I was incredibly nervous about the reception it might be given.  The silence practically blew out my eardrums.

I remember well the way my body relaxed as a few reviews popped up.  Not only were they kind, they were raving.  As more followed, I began to breathe easily once more.  Thanks to all those who ended the quiet.

Anyway, I hoped that would be job done.  I could sit back and let a steady trickle of sales take place.  Maybe concentrate on other pressing matters instead.

A lot of good folk with a lot of great taste and writing experience were blowing my trumpet and I loved the tune I was hearing.  I thought the music would spread far and wide.

Unfortunately I was wrong. 

The trickle dried up like a puddle in the desert and stayed that way.

In the past week, I’ve been re-enthused about the work.  As the best-of-year-reads have begun, I’ve been lucky enough to have some big picks.  I’m going to list them here for you to check out.  All of them are from Death By Killing’ or Guilty Conscience’:

Darren Sant, Top 5 Books -  “Having read Nigel’s short story collections Dirty Old Town and Beat On The Brat I was eagerly anticipating his novella Smoke. He did not disappoint. Nigel writes tales that feature dark deeds and darker characters. However, there is always a hope for redemption for them. Smoke is no exception. An exceptionally well told story with an uplifting conclusion.”

Fiona McDroll, Top 5 Books – “If you want to understand what is happening in contemporary society in Scotland then Bird is handing it to you here on a plate; kids who have been failed by the education system, poor housing, poor employment and raining opportunities, teenage pregnancies, alcohol and drug misuse and a criminal sub culture. Sounds bleak but for many youngsters growing up today, this is their reality and Bird moves into this world with such ease and makes these characters real instead of government statistics.W

Chris Rhatigan, Top 5 Books – “Bird's recent novella ‘Smoke’ has gotten a lot of critical attention -- as well it should. But this collection is where I fell in love with his writing. This is dark crime fiction with very real characters and beautiful, lyrical language.”

Paul D Brazill, Top 5 Brit Grit – “To write an involving crime novel you need to be a craftsman/woman. To write an involving novella you need to be an artist. Nigel Bird is both which is why this multi POVed slice of crime fiction works so well.

Smoke, is the story of a town, Tranent, and the rough edged characters that live there.

Smoke is a spin off from Bird's great story An Arm And A Leg-which was included in this year's Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime.

The main characters are Carlos, who actually lost an arm and a leg at the end of the aforementioned story and is hell bent on revenge, and Jimmy, a young kid with a good heart who has drawn the short straw in life. And they have a mutual hatred of the Ramsey brothers, who are making their fortune organizing dog fights.

Smoke is reminiscent of Allan Guthrie's Savage Night in the way it cleverly interweaves different strands of the story and its great mixture of colourful characters, absurd humour and hard boiled crime.”

Thanks to all of those good people for their choices and to those others who’ve reviewed or mentioned the book in some way.

It’s sweet music to my ears.

So how can I help to spread that sound?  Share it out? 

The best way I can think of is to make it cheap. 

I asked Giovanni about dropping the price for a couple of weeks to see if it helps.  As ever, he agreed to give it a try.  I’m hoping that in this way the book will find more readers.  I think you’ll agree from the listings above that it seems to deserve that.

And that’s me blowing the horn.  I know it’s slightly off-key to shout out like this, but it’s what I feel I need to do.  I pass on this word in the hope that you may benefit from it and maybe feel inclined to pass it on to someone new:

Smoke, 75p and 99c.  Wow. 
And as if that weren't enough, if you buy a copy of Smoke at 99c/75p and send me proof of purchase, The Big G says you can have a free copy of any Trestle Press title to go along with it.  How generous is that?  (If you didn't notice, Brit Grit Too came out yesterday and that's $5 plus change).
I hope that's loud enough for you at the back.
Thanks, G.

And Yo Ho Ho.

1 comment:

  1. All well-deserved praise, Nigel. Smoke was some kind of turning point in your writing career, I think. I'm a big fan of your shorter fiction, but Smoke really showcased your skills with character and plotting. Solid work, and one of the best of year.