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Old 22nd April 2007, 09:14 PM   #151 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

I would aswell be very interested to hear of your association with Gemmell. Were you his agent?

And is that not Gemmell himself in your avatar Daniel?
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Old 23rd April 2007, 08:01 AM   #152 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

No, I published him when I ran the SF and Fantasy imprint at Random House in London in the early-mid 1990s. And we both lived in Hastings, so we saw each other quite often...
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Old 23rd April 2007, 05:31 PM   #153 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

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I would aswell be very interested to hear of your association with Gemmell. Were you his agent?

And is that not Gemmell himself in your avatar Daniel?
Yes, it is. That's the pic I remember from the "old" days, when Legend was the only work I knew of his.
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Old 25th April 2007, 10:31 AM   #154 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

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Hi again, John.

I’d like to hear anything you’d care to share about Gemmell. I was saddened when he died, for I had hoped to keep reading him for another 20 years, and to meet him someday. What was he like? Were you friends, or simply professional associates?

Thanks,
Daniel
I first met David at an Easter SF convention - must have been around 1990. At that time I was running the Orbit imprint - which is now part of Little Brown publishers - and David was published by Legend, the SF and Fantasy imprint at Random House UK. We chatted at the bar, as writers and publishers do, and got on well. In January 1992 I was headhunted to take over Legend, after the previous editor left, and became David's editor. Since we both lived in Hastings, it gave us the chance to meet socially on a regular basis, as well as talking business. David loved computer games and we both played on his Amstrad whilst having a drink. We shot down many enemy aircraft over the English Channel and killed more villains than you could shake a stick at in Castle Wolfenstein. He passed that Amstrad on to me when he bought his first PC!

David was a great fan of Westerns - films and novels. He loved the writing of Louis L'amour. Since I'm a film buff myself, we chatted long into the night about the best Western ever filmed (THE SEARCHERS with John Wayne, as any fule kno). He had Western rigs in his study, with Colt .45s - as well as a wonderful axe, as used by Druss the Legend, which a fan had created for him.

David took his writing very seriously and was also very good to new writers - many who have since been published would attest to that. He didn't suffer fools gladly. He felt, quite rightly, that if he was acting professionally, so should those with whom he worked.

He's greatly missed by many of us...those who knew him personally, and those who read his novels...
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Old 25th April 2007, 11:31 PM   #155 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

Thanks, John.
Sounds like a kindred spirit.

I have heard online that his wife is doing all the work to get his last 2 books release, true? If you still speak with her, please let her know how much Gemmell meant to us, and gave many of us the courage to write.

Daniel
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Old 26th April 2007, 07:54 AM   #156 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

I understand that the final Troy book is now with the publishers...I only met Stella once, but I'm sure she's receiving great support from David's readers.
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Old 28th April 2007, 05:11 AM   #157 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

Gemmell will definitely be missed. I've always felt that he was the Louis L'amour of fantasy (I love "To Tame a Land"), and that he possessed a subtle depth that many readers (and critics) missed. At his best, there was an Aesopian element to his stories and I own nearly every novel he's written (with the exception of the Troy series which I'll remedy shortly). I have a feeling that some of his works will make the transition to the screen--his style, concise and vivid, is perfect for it. I know I'd like to see the Jerusalem Man novels portrayed (with a little tweak to the ending of the first). The Sword in the Storm begs for cinematic treatment as well.
Above all, it seems as if he was a good man to many people. I hope that part of him lives on and I wish his wife well in her rather daunting task of finishing the final two Troy novels.
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Old 30th April 2007, 07:32 AM   #158 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

John, this might be something silly, but how about short stories and agents?

When I read the guidelines of some agents, I often notice : no short stories. It makes me think: 'if some don't, then others do'. Are they talking about short story anthologies or can one actually take an agent just for 'single' short stories?
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Old 30th April 2007, 10:05 AM   #159 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

Two levels to this. Firstly, in commerical terms, individual short stories don't make agents enough money. Secondly, in the UK, there is no way any mainstream publisher wants a short story collection from an author unless they have several novels in print that have sold very well. Collections sell around one-fifth of the copies that author's novels sell.

So, I am an agent of novelists; if they also want me to sell short fiction I am happy to do so. But I wouldn't take on an author who only writes short fiction. My basic reply to those who ask is: 'Come back when you've written a complete novel.'
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Old 1st May 2007, 06:46 PM   #160 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

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Two levels to this. Firstly, in commerical terms, individual short stories don't make agents enough money. Secondly, in the UK, there is no way any mainstream publisher wants a short story collection from an author unless they have several novels in print that have sold very well. Collections sell around one-fifth of the copies that author's novels sell.

So, I am an agent of novelists; if they also want me to sell short fiction I am happy to do so. But I wouldn't take on an author who only writes short fiction. My basic reply to those who ask is: 'Come back when you've written a complete novel.'

Could you define what is 'short'? My current project is ~80K words... ?
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Old 2nd May 2007, 09:53 AM   #161 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

Sorry, by short fiction I mean short stories, novelettes and novellas. But in general terms in the UK, it's pretty impossible to sell a novel in the SF market (or most others) under 100,000 words long. Most are 120,000 on up. And epic fantasy has to be epic, of course, so 150,000 words and longer is quite usual. I understand that 80,000 word novels can be okay in the US market.
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Old 2nd May 2007, 06:57 PM   #162 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

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Sorry, by short fiction I mean short stories, novelettes and novellas. But in general terms in the UK, it's pretty impossible to sell a novel in the SF market (or most others) under 100,000 words long. Most are 120,000 on up. And epic fantasy has to be epic, of course, so 150,000 words and longer is quite usual. I understand that 80,000 word novels can be okay in the US market.

That's odd... What about cases like Moorcock? Weren't several Elric books under that mark? And I thought Gemmell's Stones of Power series was also short (but I'm not at home to verify it). So, was this a change over the past 10-15 years?
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Old 2nd May 2007, 08:25 PM   #163 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

Exactly. You're talking about books published years ago - the market changes. As a new writer you need to be aware of what sells in 2007 - new writers are compared by publishers with authors who have come to the fore in the last five years or so, not long-term novelists - in the UK.

My favourite SF novel is THE STARS MY DESTINATION by Alfred Bester, first published in the 1950s. It's about 60,000 words long. If it was presented to publishers today, the first thing the author would be told is that it had to be twice as long...that's the market in 2007.
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Old 2nd May 2007, 08:44 PM   #164 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

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Exactly. You're talking about books published years ago - the market changes. As a new writer you need to be aware of what sells in 2007 - new writers are compared by publishers with authors who have come to the fore in the last five years or so, not long-term novelists - in the UK.

My favourite SF novel is THE STARS MY DESTINATION by Alfred Bester, first published in the 1950s. It's about 60,000 words long. If it was presented to publishers today, the first thing the author would be told is that it had to be twice as long...that's the market in 2007.

That's disappointing. I was aiming for a lean novel. So, the minimum you would accept is 100k?

Thanks.
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Old 2nd May 2007, 10:04 PM   #165 (permalink)
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Re: "Personal" question(s) to John Jarrold

100,000 to 120,000 is the low end. Here are the fantasy debuts published in the UK in 2006:

GOLLANCZ

THE BLADE ITSELF - JOE ABERCROMBIE. Dark and witty with a background reminiscent of the recent fantasy bestsellers from Steven Erikson. Featuring cowardly officers, cynical but fascinating torturers and a magi who may be a fake.

THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA Ė SCOTT LYNCH. Set in an analogue of Italy around the fifteenth century, with a protagonist who might be called a mixture of the Artful Dodger and Oliver Twist, times 100. Wonderful background and characters, and deeply funny.

THR STORMCALLER - TOM LLOYD. Young outcast 'white-eye' is called to replace the charismatic Lord Bahl, as prophecies wind around him. Very dark. Good sense of place.



TOR UK/MACMILLAN

SCAR NIGHT - ALAN CAMPBELL. Real tour-de-force, compared to Mervyn Peake and China Mieville, but more central to the commercial fantasy genre, featuring swords and witches, for instance. But the city and land in which it's set is all-important, and wonderfully conjured. Campbell has designed the GRAND THEFT AUTO computer games.



ORBIT

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW - MIKE CAREY. First UK author to join Orbit's burgeoning 'supernatural thriller' stable (which includes Laurell K Hamilton and Kelley Armstrong). Sleazy, down-at-heel and witty. Carey wrote the graphic novels HELLBLAZER and LUCIFER, and has written for Marvel and DC over a number of years.

WINTERBIRTH - BRIAN RUCKLEY. Fantasy series being compared by the publisher with Robert Jordan and David Gemmell. Human clans, ancient races, gritty realism and wars that range across continents.


HARPERCOLLINS VOYAGER

TEMERAIRE - NAOMI NOVIK. Horatio Hornblower meets Anne McCaffrey's dragons in a fantastical Napoleonic War. Good characters, interesting plot-lines, already selling very well both sides of the Atlantic, and first in a series.

The fifth major fantasy publisher in the UK, Bantam/Corgi, didnít publish any debuts in 2006.

They're all well over 120,000 words long - mostly over 150,000 words.
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