The books that didn’t make it

For every book that gets published, there are books that didn’t make it. For whatever reason, they just didn’t make it. An agent couldn’t sell it. A publisher went cold on it. Bad timing. Bad luck. Sometimes the author decides to bin the book. I have four YA novels published and an adult novel soon to be hitting your shelves. But I’ve also got several books that weren’t published. Here, on my blog, I’m going to talk about them. What happened? What went wrong? How do I feel now? Other authors could write this blog and I’m sure some details will be similar. The publishing industry isn’t the most exciting of businesses, a rigidity that lends itself to predictably.

The Bomb & The Beatles (2012)

A book for young readers with a twisted time travel plot. Set in the ’60s at a boarding school, a young boy (obviously a new arrival) hears rumours of Death stalking the corridors with a metal man. Kids go missing. Joining with a resistance group, the protagonist and his plucky pals fight back against Death himself. Meanwhile, in the far future, a dictator plans to eliminate millions of traitors, and he would have except for the inconvenient revolution. Luckily he has an experimental time machine he can use to escape. But where will he end up? Obviously 1960s black and white telly Britain accompanied by his homicidal robot.

What went wrong?

Oh God, everything. It’s like two different books in one. It was a bit bloody too and unfortunately the story didn’t hang together. I could do it much better now, if I actually wanted to, which I don’t. Some good ideas but the execution needs work.

Bubblegum And Brimstone

A teenage witch receives a visit from her dead best friend who warns her that the world is ending soon and the only place safe from Heaven’s Wrath is their school. Unfortunately, a killer with an axe to grind with teenagers decides to hide there too. Magic and irreverent humour meet for this odd but fun book.

What went wrong?

It nearly got published, actually. Several of the majors showed interest and one nearly put it out, but they couldn’t quite decide how to market the book. Eventually, they lost interest. A good book but very quirky. My agent at the time tried her best, bless her.

The Song of Piper Munro

A teenage girl knows her boyfriend didn’t kill himself because he used the wrong hand to do the deed. Investigating, she discovers the dark secret at the heart of the town…

What went wrong?

I wrote it.

Veronica Sunday

A teen comedy where every character gets to tell their story. A teen punk arrives at a new school (after setting the headmaster’s wig on fire at her last school) and proceeds to try and rescue everyone from the mean queen of the high school scene. A catfight erupts and everyone has to pick a side.

What went wrong?

I parted ways with my agent as this was getting going! I think it would do well, but then I’m not sure. It’s written in a style not often used in fiction, is dialogue heavy, and really is a high school prom story with a teen anarchist driving the plot. Very John Hughes.

A Summer of Snow

An adult novel about a housewife who splits from her husband and goes on a journey as the world’s weather turns against humanity.

What went wrong?

Sometimes when you’re writing something, you feel deeply connected to it, and enjoy the process. That didn’t really happen with this book. It had a lot of good ideas that might make it into other projects though. It just ran out of steam. When you know, you know. I started work on another book soon afterwards which I won’t talk about right now. It’s good though.

If you have a book (or five) you didn’t publish, tell me about it. I’m always keen on comments from readers.

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