Exciting times! I’ve now gone through all of the line edits from my copy editor for The Big Smoke, and I’m thrilled with his recommendations. I feel like he really ‘gets’ the novel and its characters, and his feedback has helped to iron out any minor issues and given me ideas where I can take scenes that little bit further. The writing is also more concise now, with almost 10,000 words culled from the total word count.
Thankfully, it seems he’s enjoyed the process as well, judging by the feedback I received from him:
I’ve edited and reviewed writing by many well-known Australian authors, and have also mentored a large number of emerging writers as they’ve worked toward publication. Working with you on The Big Smoke has certainly been among the most enjoyable of all these experiences.
What you achieve in this novel is significant. With authentic characters you take the reader through those momentous transitions young people make, from school to tertiary study and from country to city. Ceara and Seb are truly brought to life, each at the centre of a network of friends and family – and there’s just enough overlap in those networks to ensure that readers can keep their bearings with ease.
It’s a rare first novel that runs beyond 100,000 words and sustains interest throughout. That this is achieved reflects the strength of the central characters, and the immediacy they are given in your first person narrative strands. Capturing the ebb and flow of relationships is no easy thing, and you do this very well indeed through the skilful depiction of a whole spectrum of friends and acquaintances. You have a great ear for dialogue, and your evocation of an emotional landscape will resonate with many readers. The Big Smoke is a polished and memorable piece of writing.
Isn’t that awesome? Warm fuzzies!
By the end of this weekend, the content of The Big Smoke will be finished. Done. Like I said, exciting times!! This means that I’ll soon be able to give people Advanced Review Copies in e-book format. So, who’s keen to read a contemporary realistic novel of the new adult variety? You’re under no obligation to give the book a positive review (or any review at all) if you don’t enjoy it. If you do enjoy it, feel free to post a review on your blog, on Amazon, on Good Reads, on a billboard…
In case you’ve forgotten/don’t know what the book’s about, here’s the blurb:
Ceara’s desperate for love; Seb’s desperate to get laid. Ceara adores reading novels; Seb hasn’t finished a book in years. Two strangers, both moving from small country towns to Brisbane – the big smoke. As they prepare to attend the same university, their paths seem set to collide, but they keep missing each other. Maybe fate is keeping them apart, or maybe it’s just chance.
When the semester starts, things get complicated. Ceara’s best friend withdraws from her, Seb’s closest mate turns into a sleazebag, and the relentless demands of university make their stress levels soar. Before their first semester is over, both Seb and Ceara will be forced to question who they are and what they want from their lives. Will they have the courage to find the answers, or will they crumble under the pressure? And when they finally meet, will it be love at first sight or a collision of headstrong personalities?
The book will be available as an ARC in MOBI, Kindle and PDF formats, which means it will be readable on all e-reader devices (I think. Correct me if I’m wrong!).
So, what do you reckon?
Fancy giving The Big Smoke a bash? You can read the first two chapters if you’d like to get a taste of the book before deciding. If you’d like an ARC, leave a comment or drop me an email at callyjackson at gmail dot com. Feel free to spread the word…