Mark Hodkinson's work in progress
My first novel, now called The Last Mad Surge of Youth, will be published by Pomona in June. It's been a long slog. Some of the writing dates back 15 years but I've spent the last year or so tightening it, revising and making it flow. It obviously draws on my own experiences of being in bands and growing up in the north but is very much a work of fiction. I hoped originally it would be picked up by a larger publishing house but, well, I've waited too long now and though several have shown real interest in it, its time has come.
I have two other books almost ready, too. These will follow-on from The Last Mad Surge of Youth pretty quickly, probably on Pomona. I have been, until now, reluctant to publish my own work but can't afford to wait for the world to face me any longer. It's bad for the soul. We have a wonderful collection of writers and books on Pomona and I'm proud to be among them. Obviously this means I have to accept the limitations of being independently-published but this is better than not being published at all, being condemned to a creative vacuum or - probably worse - compromising to suit a major publisher's agenda. Hey, let '09 be the year of waving the flag. High.
Believe in the Sign has made the long-list for this year's William Hill 'Sports Book of the Year' award. I wasn't aware they actually had such a list but am pleased to be on there all the same. I'm in the final 15 from an original 110 books. They later whittle it down to six (18th October) and announce the overall winner on 26th November. Ursula at Pomona has prepared a press release, available from her on firstname.lastname@example.org.
More good news with Believe in the Sign. I was contacted a few weeks ago by the playwright/screenwriter Alan Plater. We met up at his house and got on famously and he is currently working on a screenplay which he will shop around to various producers and film people later in the year. These things invariably take ages and get whacked about a lot but still, encouraging.
Finally, I have recently changed agents, leaving (extraordinarily amicably)
Robert Kirby at PFD to join David Godwin at David Godwin Associates. He is
contactable on: David@DavidGodwinAssociates.co.uk.
I've spent the first couple of months of 2007 promoting Believe in the Sign. It's the best book I've written and I want to see it given every chance to do well. Since it is published on Pomona, for the first time I can oversee how it is presented to the media and public. This is daunting but I'd rather have it this way than trust something I care about passionately to someone else (control freak alert: too right). I have generally been served well by others who have published my books but I know that no one will care as much as this earnest zealot.
Afterwards I intend to divide my time between two projects. The first is to complete a final edit of my novel The End of Music. I have already spent nearly four years on this, which included a year-long revision, ouch.
The novel is about a former rock star, now in his dotage and an alcoholic, reflecting with his best buddy (an ex-member of his band and, hence, the one he left behind) from a hospital bed. It is a platform for my musing on celebrity, addiction, friendship, punk rock, lost and gained love, the lot of it. I know, outlines of novels always sound rubbish when condensed, don't they?
Believe me, it's pretty good. If all goes well with the edit and I decide I'm finally, truly, totally happy with it I'll probably publish it on Pomona next Autumn.
The other project is an edit of a biography of JD Salinger. I commissioned the book for Pomona after finding a wonderful American website dedicated to the great man. To my surprise and glee a 250,000 word top-notch, thoroughly researched manuscript arrived just before Christmas. A book of such length (imagine three average sized novels) will be a very labour-intensive job. I will work on it between my own writing this year and imagine it will be published early in 2008.
Once more I have tentative plans to have a bash at updating and revising
substantially my biography of Marianne Faithfull, As
Tears Go By. I have spoken to a researcher and he has agreed to help
gather new material. Much will depend on how much time and enthusiasm I can
muster. I don't like revisiting old work particularly but want the opportunity
to improve upon the original, which won't be difficult.