Monday 26 December 2016

Debuts 2016 - Eugene Lambert

Happy Boxing Day! Day 2 of the Debuts of 2016. Today we welcome Eugene Lambert onto the blog. Eugene Lambert. Eugene debuted earlier this year with The Sign of One. 
Did your debut go according to plan? 
As a debut author, I don’t think I was aware of a plan as such; everything is so new and novel (if I can use that word ☺). One thing that definitely didn’t go to plan though was my book launch on April 9th at the wonderful Forbidden Planet bookshop in Bristol. In the run-up to this I’d been working very hard and came down with a very nasty flu (not just man flu). On the big day, I was hardly able to stand, and certainly couldn’t do a reading from my book, The Sign of One. Fortunately, my identical twin brother, Martin, stood in to do the reading and did a great job. Given that my book features identical twins – where only one is a ‘good’ human and the other an ‘evil’ monster – he was definitely the good twin. However, my gratitude was somewhat strained later when I spotted him signing some sale copies!!!

What was the reaction to your book cover when it was revealed?
Loved it as soon as I saw it. It’s simple, but striking and very effective. And I love the red little finger ... the tell-tale mark of the ‘ident.’ 

What was the highlight of your debut?
Ooh, tough question. Can I be naughty and choose two? One highlight has to be wandering into actual bookshops and seeing my actual book on an actual shelf. That’s still a ‘wow, I really did it!’ moment. But just topping that is hearing from readers who’ve enjoyed my book – because that’s what storytelling is all about. That’s why we put the long hours in and wear our fingers down to stumps on the keyboard …

How do you feel about publishing your sophomore book?
Great question! I feel quite fortunate compared to some of my debut writer friends, in that I secured a three-book deal with Egmont, The Sign of One being the first instalment in a planned trilogy. However, as every trilogy writer will tell you (including me now) the middle book can be challenging to write. For a start, it’s conflicted in a way. If readers liked book one, then they want more of the same … only different. Hmmm, tricky. And book two has to set up the final book as well, so there’s lots going on. Plus, I have less time to write because I’m expected to do PR stuff, like the odd literature festival, school visits, etc. 
But the key difference between my debut book and its successor, is the amount of time available to get it written. It took me almost two years to write The Sign Of One, but I’ve only had a year to write (and edit) the sequel, Into The No-Zone. Less really, if you take into account edits on the first book, PR commitments, etc. And let’s not even talk about book three. The pressure ratchets up. Deadlines loom …
In a nutshell, it’s not a game any more. It’s a business.

How did it feel to sign your first book? 
A-mazing. It was at my launch and I forget who I signed it for, but it was great feeling. However, I also had a brief moment of panic as I’d somehow given no thought to the actual mechanics of signing books. Should I just sign it ‘Eugene’ … or a more formal full signature … or do a witty little message? And where should I sign it? First page, second page? Worry, worry, worry. Anyway, I’m pretty sure I settled for ‘To X, All the best, Eugene.’ Pioneering. Not. Since then, I’ve seen fellow authors use lots of different signing techniques, from the simple scrawled signature to really fancy stuff. I’ve also managed to misspell a name, which felt … awful. But book signings are a pleasure now, not least because I get to have little chats with my readers.

What was the best quote about your book that you received? 
I think my favourite quote was from a reviewer on Goodreads called Lorna:
‘This book had me hooked from beginning to end. I felt the frustration of Kyle having no answers to his questions, I felt the bitterness of Sky being branded as evil and a scapegoat from when she was just a child. This novel not only tells a ripping good yarn but it delves into the much deeper issues of prejudice, superstition and scapegoating which is all too familiar both in the present climate and in the past. I literally could not put it down. This is the beginning of a trilogy that I would quite happily put into the category of books such as Never Let Me Go and Wool which make me feel differently towards sci-fi as a genre and makes me think that maybe I do like it after all.’
Apart from having The Sign Of One mentioned in the breath as Never Let Me Go … I just loved the ‘ripping good yarn’ bit and how she got some of the deeper issues I’d tried to explore. Deeply satisfying.
In the Barrenlands of Wrath, no one dies of old age. Kyle is used to its harsh laws, but the cold-blooded separation of identical twins and execution of the 'evil twists' at the Annual Peace Fair shocks him.
When Kyle himself is betrayed, he flees for his life with the reluctant help of Sky, a rebel pilot with a hidden agenda. As the hunt intensifies, Kyle soon realises that he is no ordinary runaway, although he has no idea why. Fighting to learn the hideous truth, their reluctant, conflicted partnership will either save them - or kill them
To find out more about Eugene Lambert:

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