Jo’s Monday Blog: On Water Pumps and Vikings!

Good morning, Beloved Readers (although I fear it might be Good Afternoon by the time I finish this. Perhaps we’ll settle for merhaba, which means hi, or good-day, instead). I am tearing myself away from my ever-more-frantic hunt for a central heating engineer – actually, I might just have found a central heating engineer; what I haven’t yet tracked down is where exactly the faulty central heating pump is – to give you my weekly dose

of publishing wisdom. I’ll be brief this week, because I really do need to work out which floorboards I am going to have to tear up (and, more importantly, how many bookshelves I will have to empty, and where I’m

actually going to stack those books whilst the ancient pump is replaced).

But for the moment I will cease crawling around the floors with my head to the ground, hoping my ancient Indian skills will help me detect a (non-working) pump and play with you instead, because I do have some thrilling news to share.

The first email I opened this morning said:

Spennandi  tímar eru framundan hjá Snorra Kristjánssyni, rithöfundi í London en nýverið skrifaði hann undir  útgáfusamning við Jo Fletcher Books. Eins og glöggir lesendur Smugumenningar muna ef til vill var rætt við Snorra hér á vefnum fyrr á árinu og þótti ekki úr vegi að fá hann  nú  til að segja örlítið frá hinum nýja samningi.

Hurrah! I thought. Now I know I’ve made it. Well, maybe not made it, exactly, but my fledgling imprint is now known in Iceland! What could be cooler than that?

I imagine you’re all sitting there wondering what on earth I had to do to get Jo Fletcher Books inserted into the middle of such an exciting paragraph – well, the more alert amongst you may remember a couple of months ago I was getting very excited about a long negotiation I was engaged in, and I promised to Reveal All in the near future.

And the near future is now: on Friday I released the news that I have signed up Icelandic stand-up comedian (and sometime teacher) Snorri Kristjansson, who’s written SWORDS OF GOOD MEN, the first of a fabulously bloody Viking saga. And who doesn’t love a fabulously bloody Viking saga? (It has nothing whatsoever to do with my long-help yearning to visit Iceland, I promise – not least because the author’s been inconsiderate enough to move to London. Harrumph!).

Nicola’s been wanting to Tweet this for weeks, but I’m a little superstitious about announcing anything until I have signed contracts in my hot little hand (and that requires an inordinate amount of backwards-and-forwards as the agent, the contracts manager and I argue about terms that rarely if ever get called upon; we generally agree about the big stuff – how much we’re paying and when). Once all the paperwork was signed – check out Snorri’s blog here for a brilliant representation of said signature – my publicity director Lucy Ramsey listened to everything agent, author and publisher wanted in the press release and whittled it down from those several thousand words to the pithy single page that would make book-lovers the world over sit up and pay attention. We waved it off and waited for it to land on the various websites, from The Bookseller to The British Fantasy Society and all stops in between.

I don’t quite know why I’m surprised to find the whole thing translated into glorious Icelandic (at least, I’m assuming that’s what it is, and I’m also assuming (hoping?) that pressing a button that says Líka þetta means ‘Like’ in Facebook terms, otherwise I might have to start regretting my over-enthusastic reaction! (That þ: that’s a runic letter, that is. I haven’t had to type a runic letter before – well, not since I attempted to learn Elvish when I first read Tolkien, all those years ago. I think we’re going to have fun with my first-ever Icelandic author!)

Anyway, I’d like you all you give a huge welcome to Snorri as he joins our vibrant little community, and watch out for SWORDS OF GOOD MEN, coming to a bookshop near you next year.

Next up: a zombie western . . .

But right now, I have to find a forked twig. I’m trying dowsing for the pump this afternoon.





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