Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Island of Lost Souls author Martyn Bedford talks about his first teenage novel ...

Martyn Bedford is the author of five novels for adults - Acts of Revision (Bantam Press 1996); Exit, Orange & Red (Bantam Press 1997); The Houdini Girl (Penguin 1999); Black Cat (Penguin 2001) and The Island of Lost Souls (Bloomsbury 2006). Between them they have been translated into 12 languages. Flip, his first novel for teenagers and young adults, will be published in spring 2011. Martyn is a senior lecturer in creative writing at Leeds Trinity University College and lives in West Yorkshire with his wife and two daughters.

I have a former editor to thank for my first novel for teenagers . . . I wrote it because he advised me not to. Back in 2005, he took me out to lunch to celebrate the deal to publish The Island of Lost Souls, my fifth novel. We went to Pizza Express in Leeds. Towards the end of the meal he asked what I planned to write next. Up to then all my novels had been for adults, straddling the border between mainstream literary fiction and psychological thriller. But I’d had an idea for a story more suited to a teenage and young-adult audience. When I mentioned this, the editor shook his head.

‘You don’t want to write one of those.’

Read the full article in the April issue of Words with JAM

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Mr Perry Iles has a Blog

We've had a lot of emails from fans of Perry Iles and his regular column Feeble Excuses, Procrastination and Displacement Activities. So we've launched him his very own blog space which he will be regularly visiting for the occasional rant and the usual avoidance of writing books ...

You can visit him in his new home at


Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Opening Lines Competition

Here at WWJ we pride ourselves on filling every corner of each issue with useful, enlightening content. However, for some reason this month we found ourselves with a little bit of unused space, just here. Rather than let it go to waste we’ve decided to run a small competition. Who knows, we might even make it a regular feature. We could call it Competition Corner, or something equally clever. The Quiz Quadrant, maybe. Actually, since it’s not actually a quiz I think we’ll stick with Competition Corner.
Anyway, for this first one, we’re concentrating on opening lines. We’re often told that the opening lines of any story are amongst the most important things we write, and that book deals can be won and lost on the strength of them. Whether that’s true or not I don’t know, but let’s pretend it is for the moment.
For the purposes of this competition we’re not looking for clever, deep, or portentous openings - that would be far too serious. No, what we want is funny ones. They may be from an existing piece of work or you might want to make something up just for this. Who knows, it might even provide the spark you need for that next mid-list classic you have brewing.
There is no actual prize for this one of course, but the ten funniest entries will be printed in the next issue, along with any weblinks the authors might wish us to include. Think of it as free advertising - which is quite a good prize, come to think of it.

The rules - pretty loose, really. Preferably no more than a couple of sentences. Definitely no more than 30 (ish) words.
Here are a couple of examples of the sort of thing we mean:

  • The first thing I noticed was her long, black, curly teeth.
  • I make a point of never drinking before eight o’clock. To be fair, I’m rarely up that early.
  • The instant I saw her she cast a spell on me. Bloody witch.

You get the idea. Multiple entries are welcomed, and all should be emailed to before, let’s say, the 5th of March.
Please put WWJ Opening Lines in the subject line of your email and include your entries in the body of the email itself. Attachments will be deleted unopened to reduce the risk of luncheon meat.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

60 Seconds with Tracy Chevalier

Tracy Chevalier, author of The Girl with a Pearl Earing and Remarkable Creatures, takes up the 60 Second Challenge for our April issue of Words with JAM.

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