23Oct

Writing Locked-Room Mysteries

I wrote a guest post over at A Dribble of Ink on the art of writing Locked-Room Mysteries:

To create this set-up, though, I had to completely change how I approached a novel. Not only was I using a different narrative voice, but the whole process was entirely new – it had to be. And it was really, really difficult – by far the most difficult thing I’ve done in prose. However, I learned plenty of things from this process and from my research into locked-room mysteries, particularly from writers such as John Dickson Carr, the master of the genre.

So I’ve handily transformed my learning into an Internet-friendly list.

If you’re interested in writing, or reading crime fiction in general, you can read that list here.

21Oct

Italian Rights Deal

Hot off the press:

Jon Mitchell, Senior Rights Manager at Macmillan, has sold Italian rights to DRAKENFELD, the opening novel in a new fantasy crime/thriller series by Mark Charan Newton, to Fanucci.

World rights in the first two titles in this series were acquired by Julie Crisp at Tor UK from agent John Jarrold. DRAKENFELD has just been published in the UK, and the sequel has been delivered.

SFX said of DRAKENFELD:

“This is a grounded and realistic example of secondary world-building that works well as an intelligent locked-room mystery and also gives us a cerebral, multi-layered protagonist. Game of Thrones fans will find plenty to enjoy in the story’s sharply-played political skulduggery…”

Tor.com’s review said:

“The several evenings I spent reading it were so perfectly pleasant that I struggle to recall the last fantasy novel I felt such unabashed fondness for.”

Contact Jon Mitchell or John Jarrold for further information:

Jon Mitchell – e-mail: j.mitchell@macmillan.co.uk phone 020 7014 6151
John Jarrold – e-mail: j.jarrold@btinternet.com phone: 01522 510544.

21st October 2013

18Oct

More Drakenfeld Reviews

A couple of Drakenfeld reviews have rolled in, both of them rather lovely. The first is over at the mighty Tor.com, probably the largest and thorough (and occasionally cutting) genre review site going these days:

The several evenings I spent reading it were so perfectly pleasant that I struggle to recall the last fantasy novel I felt such unabashed fondness for.

That pretty detailed review actually really captures most of what I was going for with the novel – and certainly the spirit of what I was after – so I’m delighted with it.

The second lovely review is over at the BiblioSanctum:

With its perfect blend of fantasy and mystery and an excellent cast of characters, Drakenfeld gave me one of the more unique reading experiences I’ve had this year, and I think those who enjoy both those genres will really like this one. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, definitely check this one out. (5/5)

17Oct

Codex Aureus of Canterbury

CodexAureusCanterburyFolios9v10r

“Folios 9v and 10r of the Stockholm Codex Aureus, also known as the Codex Aureus of Canterbury. Produced in Southumbria, possibly Canterbury, in the mid 8th century.”

This is absolutely beautiful. Dark Ages my arse.

15Oct

SFX on Drakenfeld

… this is a grounded and realistic example of secondary world-building that works well as an intelligent locked-room mystery and also gives us a cerebral, multi-layered protagonist… a world that’s challenging and provocative without falling into grimdark cliches.

4 stars in SFX. I’ll take that from the UK’s biggest genre magazine.

13Oct

Chutney

Tom Chutney

We interrupt all this shameless self-publicity about the new novel to bring you a chutney update. This was made with a glut of green tomatoes that hadn’t ripened – mostly from the garden, rather than the allotment. It’s always a leap of faith with chutney – tasting it warm never quite gives you a picture of what it’s going to be like when cool. But it was very nice in the end. And it was a lovely thing to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

11Oct

Guest Blogs, Reviews

Given I’ve a book out, I am in your internets. Firstly, I’m at the Book Smugglers, talking about the need to move on from violence and gritty fantasy, which was part of the reason I wrote Drakenfeld in the first place.

Secondly, I wrote a guest post at Tor UK, talking about great books on the classical age that fantasy fans should read.

Thirdly, nicely honest review of Drakenfeld in South African newspaper, the Mail & Guardian:

What Newton has come up with will go down well with those who appreciate politics in their fantasy.

Finally, at Fifty Shades of Geek, there’s another great review:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Drakenfeld. It’s a cleverly crafted mystery told in a beautiful way. However, what really stood out for me is that beneath this mystery there runs a strong current of engaging human relationships. From Lucan’s relationships with his dead father or with Leana, right up to the King and the people around him, it’s a story very much driven by the emotional ties between its characters. This, in addition to its readability, makes it almost certainly the best book I’ve read this year, and I am looking forward to the next instalment. Highly recommended.

9Oct

Publication Day, Review, Interviews

Bruichladdich

This rather lovely present was a publication day gift from Pan Macmillan (though publication is tomorrow – the 10th – I’m still opening this now). Good, innit? There might be a few things going on over the next few days, in which I whore myself or cause a stir. There are also things like reviews, such as this one:

I expect that Newton’s new series will be an immediate success, thanks partly to its depth of worldbuilding, managing to create a secondary classical world that is familiar enough to be so, yet still completely his own. Lucan Drakenfeld is a complex character with a good core—and this is just the kind of character I feel has been largely missing from certain veins of fantasy. There’s been too much darkness. It was about time that something lighter, yet still no more stereotyped or clichéd, should break through that darker branch of the genre.

And interviews such as this one.

Oh, and Drakenfeld is currently less than a tenner on Amazon. Just sayin’.