Saturday morning I woke up to an email on my phone telling me my novel Victorianoir has been longlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger. I rolled out of bed and started screaming so loudly Justin thought someone was dead. Which they were, at least in the novel…
I couldn’t be happier. Writing is a tough slog, but when the rewards come it is so worth it. If you haven’t heard of the Daggers, they’re one of the highest awards in crime fiction, run by the UK Crime Writers’ Association. I’m on the longlist for the best unpublished manuscript (many thanks to all the people who have asked where they can read it! I wish I could give you a copy but it’s not published yet). Congrats to all the people on the longlist! There are some fascinating titles on the list.
The competition is judged on a first chapter and synopsis alone, so before I sent it in, I workshopped the opening with my writing friends. As for the synopsis, I banged it out two days before the competition closed and hoped for the best. The advantage of spending three months plotting the book was that I could refer back to those documents writing the synopsis.
Already I’m getting lots of people asking me what the book is about, so here’s a little taster:
London 1856. Tabloid editor Richard Garrett loves women and needs cash. So, when a beautiful broad begs him to investigate the murder of Sir John Constance, how can he say no? But there’s only one man who can help him: washed up detective William George, relegated to the Thames River Police by Richard’s own scandal journalism. In an uneasy alliance, they uncover the secrets of a seedy city that threaten to burn London in a fire of sex and sin. The news cycle just got hot.
The book combines the language of hardboiled and noir with the Victorian Era. Think James Ellroy meets Sherlock Holmes.
Victorianoir is set at the origins of tabloid journalism, and uses history as a lens to reflect contemporary issues such as the representation of women in the media. I spent many months researching and plotting it, before even writing the first chapter. I really wanted the book to be as authentic as possible, not another reproduction of the Victorian Era you see on TV.
I’m in the final stages of editing the novel, going through a beta read, then making any last minute changes before sending it out, which should be done by mid-June. I’m currently looking for an agent and a publisher, so if you’re interested, please get in touch by emailing [email protected]