Pete Adams is the author of an 8 book trilogy called Kind Hearts and Martinets, and after self publishing books 1 and 2, he signed with Urbane who published book 3, A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza last year.
Q: So Pete, you have a day job as an Architect, how many hours do you try to write per day or per week. Are you writing continuously or take a break between novels?
A: My day job and my writing are almost synonymous, and into that you have to insert reading. In other words when my day job demands I have to answer; reading and writing share the spoils after that, but generally I don’t separate. I have a passion for both writing and architecture, reading, music, and, politics, and it would be fair to say that the Bankers, and the recent Coalition Government, and now the Tories, devastated the British construction industry sufficiently to provide me with sufficient time to write 8 full length novels, the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, and 3 books that I also illustrated, for children and grownups who have not grown up, called Whopping Tales.
I rarely take a break and there are at any one time, at least 3 ideas on my computer desktop that can be extended into books; currently I am into my next book, ‘Larkin’s Barkin’ – where’s me chutzpah’ a gangster thriller.
Q: What first attracted you to write Crime novels, do you plan to move out of the Crime genre at any time?
A: Now that is a very interesting question – I drifted into it primarily as I had this notion of a ‘polite’ police station. I get riled at police TV programmes when they are so bad mannered, ‘You, my office, now!’ and ‘Shut it’, you know the stuff, and my family get fed-up with me responding to the telly saying “Please” or ”What’s the magic word then”.
And then I had this fanciful notion of a Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice police station, ‘Good morning, your family, they are well?’ and it built from there, my central character DCI Jack (nicknamed Jane) Austin. The funny thing is that I heard from a Leeds CID officer, and another retired officer, saying that I had the atmosphere of the police station about right – so, how about that?
I do write my Whopping Tales that I find a great restorative interlude between books, but I believe my novels will always gravitate to crime genre.
Q: Do you keep track of things like word count or page count per writing session?
A: Never per session, that’s irrelevant to me so long as I feel satisfied with what I have done. With regard to total length of a book, since signing with a Publisher, and after the first draft, I aim at circa 90K words. However, my first two books, which I self published, are each 120K words and my Publisher is now going to re-issue these in a few months time and will maintain the word count; I argued that the first two books set up the premise for the 8 book series, which is now written. I do not believe in restricting myself, and I am not talking about writing dressed in loose clothing, I write and then I edit, often quite severely; I frighten myself sometimes.
Q: Do you have times when you get stuck, how do you deal with writer’s block?
A: I don’t, because I adopt the attitude that if I don’t feel like writing or it’s not coming, I do something else. I like to be way in front of my Publisher and so should I feel ‘stuck’ on the current book, I go back to previous books, re-read, edit and rewrite as may be necessary. This means that my book 7, for instance, is on Edit J, or I switch to a Whopping Tale if I need a full break. What I never do is worry about it.
Q: You have experience in Traditional Publishing as well as Self Publishing? What would you say creates the biggest workload on you time or the biggest headaches, after your manuscript is written?
A: Yes – as I mention above I self published my first two books, it was on the advice of an agent who liked my books but said comedy is difficult to place – Naive mistake number one by me, never describe your books as comedy, comedy rarely sells.
My publisher picked me up from my self-published work and said he liked my crime thrillers, they made him laugh – and there you have it.
Obviously, naive mistake number 2 was not having a clue about marketing, promotion, contacts, networking, getting reviews in, and so on – I carried on writing waiting for things to happen – I had written the first three books before I sent any work out; I was loving doing it and did not need to hear, ‘Don’t give up the day job.’
Q: Congratulations on your 5 Star review from an Amazon Top 500 Reviewer. Did you approach this reviewer yourself, or could you advise the best way to approach a Top Reviewer? How would you recommend new writers tackle the problem of getting people to upload reviews with Amazon?
A: Oh, I didn’t know this, and so I haven’t a clue other than my Publisher pushes my books out on Net Galley and so on, book bloggers, all of whom I have enormous respect for. How to get readers to post reviews is the hardest thing of all and it is just about getting yourself out there, and then making sure you let them know how important it is to post a review.
I did have really good reviews in Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus in the USA and I am starting to get a small following over there – I would like to see my Publisher push that market when book 4 comes out, parallel to the reissue of books 1 and 2 as this will mean I have four books published by a mainstream publisher; this seems to matter to book distributors.
Q: Do you have any input on things like Cover design, pricing strategy, release dates, or do you have an Agent to deal with this?
A: I don’t have an agent; I was approached directly by the Publisher. I do have a say in cover design and I like the cover of my first book with this Publisher and they intend to use the same ‘theme or style or branding’ for all eight books of the trilogy; I am waiting now for the proposed covers for books 1 and 2, Cause and effect and Irony in the Soul, and then book 4, Ghost and Ragman Roll. I have no say on pricing but a little on release dates.
Q: Have you used Launch Team or Street Teams for you book publications, do you see value in them?
A: No, but I intend to as I think these can be enormously helpful. I am involved in helping other authors in their book launches by reading and reviewing and I hope to get reciprocal assistance. I enjoy reading and reviewing and if I can do this for a debut author, and I like the synopsis, I will. My Publisher often asks me to read and preview some books as well.
Q: What would you say are the advantages of having a Literary Agent?
A: Funnily enough, although I found my Publisher quite by chance, and it was luck, I have been recommended to a Publisher for my Whopping Tales by an agent and if that is accepted then I will obviously work with her, but I cannot offer a comment on what it is like, yet.
I am told by other authors with an agent and publisher is that an agent will chase royalties for you and assist creatively in PR work; they have a vested interest in boosting an author’s income.
Q: What is the best piece of advice that you have been given regarding your writing, or what one piece of advice would you give to someone starting out on their writing career?
A: I was never given any advice that I felt like taking. Had I ignored the advice I had been given when I expressed a desire to write, I would have started sooner. Would I advise new or prospective writers, probably not, unless they asked me a direct and specific question; otherwise, just do it. Having said that, there are collectives of authors, readers etc on Facebook, as you know, and they have exceptional advice – and I am learning so much from that, but it is generally take what you like and leave the rest.
Pete Adams is now making arrangements for a country wide book tour and has also offered to share the platform with a local author of an area if they can assist in setting up a venue and chasing up an audience – so far there is interest from Liverpool, Nottingham, Peterborough (possible author), Oxford, London, Maidstone (possible Urbane Road show), Eastbourne (with an author), Brighton (possible author) and finishing in Portsmouth, as the book is set in Pete’s adopted home city, for the formal launch at Waterstones.
Pete is throwing this invitation out to authors, especially in the Facebook groups Fiction Authors’ Resource Group and One Stop Fiction web site, the only condition being that you must have a printed form of your book to sell on the evening, even if self published, and there will be the opportunity to pitch your books to Urbane and partake in an Urbane Roadshow with other authors from that stable at certain events.
This sounds like a great opportunity, if you are interested, message Pete on Facebook or by Twitter, he’ll always reply.