How a Book gets Published

3rd Historical Crime novel by Ian Parson

Novel available on Amazon.co.uk

The Grind – HOW A BOOK GETS PUBLISHED

Ian Parson

By 2016 I’d had two novels published, and my American publisher was keen for a third. They wanted it to be set in Victorian London’s East End.

I was happy to oblige.

‘The readers of Crime Fiction like detail in the sex and violence scenes’ I was told.

They research this type of thing, they should know, 

Ok’ I replied.

I find it fairly easy to delve into the history of the East End and come up with a subject for a story, I’ve already covered Jack the Ripper, The Blitz, the birth of the Music Halls, The Krays, Steinie Morrison, The Siege of Sidney Street.

I started ‘The Grind’ whilst the Fruit and Wool Exchange building in Spitalfields was being gutted and gentrified. Meaning the lane behind it that used to be Dorset Street would be closed off once and for all.

This time I was drawn towards Dorset Street for subject matter.

Dorset Street gone forever? I was going to miss it.

There always had been and always will be places like it in London. Dark, dangerous thrilling locations that look as though they should be film sets.

When a kid is stabbed in such streets we shouldn’t tar every occupant as being somehow implicit, yet we do. In Victorian London attitudes were no different.

However most people who end up living in such places are decent folk just trying to get by. People with absolutely no connection to crime of any sort.

‘The Grind ‘ started of as a story about them, the forgotten people.

Slowly it morphed into a story about two female residents and what they become accustomed to over time, why they eventually tolerate the intolerable.

Written at a time with street gangs fighting over postcodes, when knife crime in London was on the rise, some of those incidents seeped into my work.

Dorset Street first hit the World’s headlines when Mary Kelly’s remains were found there in 1888. She was the last in Jack the Ripper’s canonical five victims.

Trying to distance itself from this horror, Dorset Street’s name was changed to Duval Street, but nothing else changed.

In the 60s a Krays associate was killed there during a brawl in the Pen Club. A nightclub frequented by gangsters and named the Pen Club because its launch was allegedly financed by a robbery on the Parker Pen wages van.

Now in 2016 it was finally about to disappear, this undoubtedly influenced my decision to set the story there.

A year or so later I had completed the manuscript.

I felt it was a modern day version of an old  style Penny Dreadful, Mickey Spillane type novel. The ones that used to be so popular back in the day.

I submitted it to America and waited.

Shortly a contract arrived which I signed and returned, then I waited some more.

Eighteen months later I was still waiting. This I decided was a lucky escape. ‘The Grind’ I had convinced myself was too violent. Knife crime was still blighting London and I didn’t want to face accusations of glamourising the epidemic.

I put the writing of it down to ‘good practise’. Besides in the intervening year and a half I had completed another book. A modern day romantic comedy which I’d started touting around the publishers. I got lucky.

Next Chapter Publishing, based in Ruislip, were keen to publish and willing to offer a contract.

I accepted and the ball started rolling.

‘What else are you working on?’ they asked.

So I told them about my Thriller set in the World of Computer Hackers, at the end of which I mentioned ‘The Grind’.

‘We’d like to see that’ They said.

Before I knew it the romantic comedy was on the back burner and they wanted to publish ‘The Grind’ first.

Partly because it was set in the Victorian East End, a subject I was already known for writing about.

The public could wait for me to change genres.

I agreed, I always agree, these people know more than I do about marketing and book buyers.

However this meant that suddenly the Rom-Com I had just completed and the Thriller I’m currently working on had to be put out of mind. People wanted to know about ‘The Grind’. A story i’d pretty much put down to experience and forgotten about.

Anyway it became obvious fairly quickly that I needed to re-read it. Oddly the prospect made me a bit nervous.

I enjoyed it more than I’d expected to. I feel I have definitely improved as a storyteller over the years. It is a bit gratuitous perhaps but glamourising knife crime? Never!

 ‘The Grind’ has been available for a month now. People have read it and so far reports are favourable.

If you want to offer your support  ‘The Grind’ is available in paperback form on amazon.co.uk Or as a special offer on Kindle downloads.

Ian Parson, December 2019

Southbank Centre from the Embankment

London at night never gets tiring. Just walk and see whats out there!

Ian Parson, Borough High Street, London 2019

High above Southwark, Ian Parson in London’s Victorian Operating Theatre.

RIP to all those who died too soon on the streets of London

London has given up too many to knife crime this year, as she did last year. As she will until hope is restored.

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