A first acquisition is a big deal, a BIG deal. This is what I want to do with my life, it is my chosen career and I want to make it a good one. It does not necessarily have to sell millions (although that would be nice!), but I do need to give everything to this. This one book (or three) could set the course of my career. Have I made the right decision? I think I have, but I guess, in the end, it’ll be up to you lot.
About three or four years ago I left on the trip of a lifetime, heading round the world. But that’s not where this story starts. This story begins in Laos where, on the tiny Island of Don Khong, near the border between Laos and Cambodia and (incidentally one of the only places in the world where you can still see the Irrawaddy dolphins), I walked into a second-hand bookshop and began to browse. Finally, I found a book called Daughter of the Blood, by Anne Bishop. I bought it and read it in almost one sitting whilst swinging on the hammock outside the little wooden hut we were staying in. Then, horror of horrors, I couldn’t find the second book anywhere. And let me tell you, internet connection on a tiny island at the bottom of Laos is not exactly brilliant.
I had to wait until I hit Australia, a full month later, to look for the book again. And look I did, in all the bookshops I could find… to no avail. It was in New Zealand that I finally got enough internet connection to download it on to my iPod – that’s right, iPod, with a tiny screen – that’s dedication if you ask me. I then read the next two books straight through, over the night and into the morning. They were fantastic, they were utterly, utterly gripping.
Three or four years later (I forget when I was where), I’m sitting at my desk in my shiny (not-so-new at the time) publishing job, when I remember how much I loved it. I check it out on the internet and *pounding heart, sweaty palms*, figure out that the name of the trilogy is the Black Jewels trilogy and that it has never been published in the UK. You cannot imagine the excitement, well, perhaps you can, but it was BIG excitement either way. I downloaded all three immediately (internet connection is slightly better here ;)), reread them in almost one sitting again (I wasn’t very effective at work for the next few days), and then hesitantly approached Jo with the idea. Who, luckily, is awesome and very supportive and who said, ‘You know, that sounds like a good idea’. I did some research on the sales numbers (the Black Jewels trilogy also won the William L. Crawford award) and put it to the members of the acquisition meeting.
A quick jig and a very long hop later after some serious contract wrangling, we had the trilogy. I am practically bursting out of my skin in excitement. Also nervousness. Also excitement. Also nervouseness. Excitement. Nervouseness . . . you get the point.
We have some fantastic new covers for them and the first, Daughter of the Blood, is out in March, the second, Heir to the Shadows, in May, and the third, Queen of the Darkness, in July. They are out in PB. You can check out Anne Bishop’s website here: www.annebishop.com for more info. If any reviewers out there fancy checking it out, just Tweet us @jofletcherbooks or DM us, it’ll get to the right people (namely Andrew, he’s the man behind the Twitter account, he’s also our publicist – handy).
Finally, if this blog hasn’t reiterated enough, I heartily recommend this book; it subverts the usual fantasy tropes, contains romance that does not result in a loss of world-building and explores difficult subjects and then the healing to come, all contained in a gripping, fast-paced read. Why not give it a go for yourselves and decide what you think?