I’m often asked why I bought a particular book, and generally the answer is: because my list cannot live without it. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much always the reason . . .
But although I might be Queen of JFB, I still have to present the book to my colleagues, in sales particularly, and convince them that it’s just the book we need, and more importantly, that we are going to be able to sell shedloads of copies.
And that means knowing what the book’s about, and being able to showcase the highlights – and I’ve generally only got a couple of minutes to do that . . .
Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?
Let’s take this month’s new release: Seoul Survivors by Naomi Foyle:
‘There’s this Canadian girl who’s rocked up in Seoul City looking to make it as a model (although she’s not exactly who she says she is), and there’s this English bloke who’s desperate to make enough money so he can escape to Saskatchewan to survive the coming meteorite, and so he starts out by smuggling pot into Seoul City, and there’s this Korean-American mad scientist, Dr Kim Da Mi . . .’
No, hold on, I’ve forgotten the North Korean widows . . .
‘So there’s this North Korean girl, Mee Lee Hee, who lost her son and her husband to the famine that is devastating North Korea, and she agrees to be smuggled out in the bottom of a Foreign Aid convoy in exchange for becoming a surrogate mother as part of Korean-American scientist Dr Kim Da Mi’s brilliant plan to people a sort-of theme part with genetically manipulated children who will bring peace and happiness to all who see them . . .’
Ah – but what about Johnny Sandman?
‘Johnny Sandman is a psychopath—’
Ah, that’s a bit better . . . let’s keep with that one, shall we?
‘Johnny Sandman is a psychopath, but so far he’s managed to keep his urges in check . . . until genetic scientist Dr Kim Da Mi starts trying to oust him from the corporation he’s served so faithfully . . .’
No, no: that doesn’t work; I can’t get the android in that way.
Are you beginning to get the picture? No? Well, can’t say I’m surprised. The thing is, most books are more than just ‘boy meets girl, girl tries to persuade boy to donate his sperm so they can together beget a race of genetically modified children who will bring peace and joy to all who meet them, mad scientist lies to everyone and psychopath goes off the rails’, and trying to pick out a couple of strands, enough to enthuse the sales force, can take weeks of preparation.
Luckily for me, I can look at this another way: Seoul Survivors is a fast-paced cyber-thriller set tomorrow, with an astonishing cast of characters who will keep you guessing . . .
Damn. Still didn’t get the android in . . .
Maybe it’s best to hand over to the author herself and let her tell you about her debut book?
So watch this space tomorrow, and every day this week, as Naomi takes us into the world of Seoul Survivors . . .