Author copies!

IMG_0234 Let me share a little happiness; my author copies of Saxon’s Bane have arrived from the wonderful people at Solaris. It is almost exactly six years since I stepped off a corporate ladder and went freelance, specifically to release time to write. Six years from ‘I’m going to do this’ to publication, and I tell you this moment feels better than any business deal I ever landed. My thanks to those who’ve helped along the way, many of whom will find their names inside the cover. It seemed appropriate to record the moment in the arbour, where much of Saxon’s Bane was written.

Saxon’s Bane will be released in the USA on 27th August and in the UK on 12th September.

Saxon’s Bane Acquired by Solaris Books

I’m delighted to announce that Saxon’s Bane has been acquired by Solaris Books, an imprint of Rebellion, and will be released in September 2013.  Solaris Books’ press release, excluding the blurb and bio that is already posted on this site, is:

Acquisition announcement:

Debut author finds Saxon treasure beneath 21st Century England 

COMING IN SEPTEMBER 2013: Saxon’s Bane by Geoffrey Gudgion

Solaris is proud to announce a 2013 debut novel that brings the Dark Ages crashing into the 21st Century.

Geoffrey Gudgion’s historical supernatural thriller, Saxon’s Bane, will be published in September 2013.

A contemporary novel with a thrilling historical heart, Gudgion’s first novel is set in the 21st century but grounded in the Dark Ages, with a Saxon legend at its heart.

The past invades the present in this beautiful, lyrical and frightening tale, inspired by Gudgion’s love of ancient, ethereal places, and his eye for signs of the distant past in the English landscape of today.

“It’s a rare occasion when a submission comes in that I have to read right the way through in one go,” said Jonathan Oliver, editor-in-chief of Solaris. “Saxon’s Bane was such a book. Discovering a new writer is always a thrill, and Geoffrey’s novel is of such a high calibre that I can’t wait for people to read it.”

For all press enquires please contact Michael Molcher

on +44 (0)1865 792 201 or

The first five years are the hardest…

Five years.  That’s how long it is, this month, since I stepped off the corporate ladder and became a freelance consultant or interim, specifically to free up time for writing.  I had a book in my head that was fighting to land on the page.  There had been false starts and scribblings before, but this time I’d do it properly.

There will be other posts to follow but here, in writer-speak, is the back story.  Because it’s the back story it will probably be of most interest to fellow writers, so savour, skip, or share at will.

It took:

  • Two years to write, polish, and submit that original novel, before the wall of rejections made me realise that it was a turkey which would never fly.  That was a hard lesson.
  • Well over a year to write Saxon’s Bane to the point where I was satisfied enough to start submitting.
  • And another year of rejections, polishing and rewrites before a literary agent (Ian Drury of Sheil Land Associates) was satisfied enough to take me on.
  • At which point it became Ian’s job to sell the novel and mine to write the next one.  He managed my expectations to a longish sales cycle; it’s a brutally tough market for a debut novelist, unless you’re a celebrity, particularly of the overtly curvaceous variety, or writing ‘romance’.  I don’t qualify on either count.

Five years.  And if I’d have known at the beginning what I know now, it probably wouldn’t have taken much less.  There are some lessons you can only learn through the cycle of composition, submission, and rejection, such as:

That first book vented some autobiographical baggage, but the world ain’t interested in baggage unless you’re writing a misery memoir.  It’s interested in characters with tension and plots with jeopardy.

Every aspiring author rails at the agent system until they ‘bag’ one, but agents seem to reject for just 3 reasons.  Either their list is full, or they don’t work in your genre, or the novel/submission isn’t of publishable quality.  Research will filter out the first two, but finding out why it isn’t ready can be hard.  Very few rejections come with feedback.  I had three crucial sources of help that told me why:

  • Litopia, ( and other friends who offered objective critiques.
  • The Verulam Writers’ Circle.  Feedback, writerly company, and libations.
  • And most significantly the writing consultant Debi Alper, via the Writers’ Workshop, whose professional advice was invaluable.

Finally, I had to learn to balance the hubris of self belief with a willingness to accept that my baby was ugly.

But it grew to be beautiful, I think.  With a lot of help from my friends.

And years of polishing.