Monthly Archives: June 2014

Cover me, I’m goin’ in…

Drum-roll, maestro…

Today the front cover for Shiver the Whole Night Through is officially revealed – and here it is:shiver cover

I love it. It’s spooky, evocative, Romantic with a capital r…and captures the essence of the book perfectly. Part mystery, part romance, with a little bit of horror and a chilly, wintry kind of vibe.

And yes, all the elements are relevant. It always bugs me when book covers have some totally unconnected image – a car driving into a forest, say, when there’s no mention of a forest in the text. Shiver does have a forest, though! And a girl, and a cabin…which, as you will see, plays a central role…

Anyway. You like? Feel free to let me know what you think: email darraghmcmanusATyahooDOTcom or tweet me at @McManusDarragh. I might even gather the best responses and throw them up here…

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Shiver the Whole Night Through: status report

About a month ago I wrote here of how my debut Young Adult novel, Shiver the Whole Night Through, will be published by Hot Key Books in November. Figured it was about time for a status report, so…here it is.

First, the manuscript (actually a typescript nowadays, but that word doesn’t sound half so good) is finished. My editor, Naomi Colthurst, had some suggested changes from my original draft of the novel – all of which made it a better book, though of course as an egotistical writer, I didn’t want to hear this! (Also, I’m a lazy man. Work = bad.)

Anyway, I did the major rewrite earlier this year, and over the last few weeks Naomi and me have been making a few final tweaks…now we’re more-or-less done. The MS will be copy-edited as well, of course, then the laid-out book proofread a few times…ah yes, it’s all glamour, this writing game!

But the whole thing is getting quite exciting now, because we can see the completed book in sight. Already the Hot Key design people have been beavering away on a cover – from rough proofs I’ve seen, it’ll be great. Very cool and evocative; captures the mood of the book bang-on. And most importantly I guess, really leaps out at the reader from a book-shelf.

We’re also (almost) at the point of adding in acknowledgments and so on. I’ll write up a brief bio of myself – always nice to introduce yourself and your work to new readers – but I’m not a huge fan of lengthy ‘thank you’ lists in books, for a number of reasons I won’t bore you with here. It’s a mixture of personal experience and point of principle.

My last two published novels had very brief acknowledgments: Even Flow just read, ‘For Majella’ (my wife), and The Polka Dot Girl read, ‘For women everywhere.’ Simple as that. I’ll probably stick to something similar with Shiver the Whole Night Through, and hold off on the extended greetings and salutations* until I win the Oscar.

I’ve also been doing up a Spotify playlist to accompany the book – a sort of soundtrack to it. Music that inspired the book, that I listened to while writing it, that complements the story or expresses something inexpressible about the characters and themes. It’s been massively enjoyable, listening to great music for work, and a little head-wrecking too. But in a nice way. We’ll link directly to this in the e-book, and have a web address in the print edition. The music isn’t strictly necessary to enjoy Shiver, but it’s a cool little add-on, an aural embellishment.

So that’s where we stand. All I gotta do now is kick back, get slowly drunk for about four months, then rouse myself sometime in October and prep for publication. Hurray!

 

*That’s a quote from Heathers. If you haven’t seen it yet, rectify this immediately. The best movie ever made about teenagers. It’s 18-cert, by the way, so if you’re not yet an adult…eh, don’t let your parents catch you. I think a 15-cert would have been fine anyway, it ain’t Texas Chainsaw Massacre.


From fest to worst

‘Tis the season for music festivals, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-laaah…

Unless you’re me, that is. Because I don’t go to festivals. In fact, I’ve never been to one.

Literally, not once. And that’s including the likes of Slane, which hardly counts as it’s one day. Somehow, I’ve managed to avoid attending a single festival my entire life.

This probably seems weird to you. That’s fair enough: it is weird.

Like, I’m not a hermit. I’m not in prison or incarcerated in a mental asylum – say, one of them ones off the telly where the guards are sadists and don’t let you out in the sunlight. I’m not too skint to afford a ticket. I’ve only lived abroad for four months.

And – most pertinently – I like music. I like hearing it live. I like having fun. I like meeting other human beings. I like drinking eighteen cans a day for a weekend until my brain goes into shut-down and I run around wearing a single boot, cowboy hat and maniacal grin last seen on Jack Nicholson as he smashes that door with an axe in The Shining.

Ah, good times.

All of this would suggest that festivals are ideal for me. (I don’t like camping, admittedly, but you can avoid that.) Yet I’ve never actually made it to one, and I’m not sure why.

My refusenik tendencies stretch back to the 1990s and the original “big” festival, Feile. That was also called the Trip to Tipp, which makes it even more pathetic that I didn’t attend, because I lived in Tipp. I mean, goddamn, it was just up the road.

My older siblings and some friends were rocking over to Thurles one of the days – an hour away – and tried to cajole me to come. I didn’t bother, despite the fact that a pile of my favourite bands were playing.

Instead, I flopped out on the couch, staring dully at whatever drivel was on TV and smoking fags (you were allowed smoke indoors in those days) and basically doing nothing. I presume this was the main lure of staying at home: I got to do nothing, one of my favourite things to do (or not).

Is that lazy or what? That is laaazeeee. That’s the sort of laziness you’d almost be proud of, if it weren’t so shameful.

Electric Picnic is probably the festival I most regret not attending, if only because it seems tailor-made for a pretentious media tosser like me: hip bands, vegan food, herds of poseurs, build-your-own-yurt demos, and so on.

Kraftwerk played in 2005, as did LCD Soundsystem, Goldfrapp, De La Soul. I knew they were all appearing. And I didn’t bother going.

No, scratch that: my greatest festival regret is Slane 2003. Check this out for a line-up: PJ Harvey, Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Someone remind me again: why did I not go to this concert? I’d have given my right arm to see any or all of them play live. (Or your right arm, at the very least). But, as is the constant refrain of my existence…I couldn’t be bovvered.

The worst thing is, I’m now getting a bit old for festivals anyway. I know, in theory music events are for everyone, regardless of age, sex, race, creed, weight, hair colour or views on European fiscal unity vis-à-vis corporate taxation and budgetary surplus.

In reality, though, I sometimes think it looks kind of depressing, seeing some bloke shuffling around with a mob of people a decade younger than him. At best, you come across as a sad and lonely man whose kids have kicked him out of the house and he’s nowhere else to go; at worst, you could be mistaken for a leering pervert.

This is grand if you really are a leering pervert, not so good otherwise.

So remember me, when you’re boogying to The One Directionals or Paulie Nutella or whoever this summer. I’ll be at home, attending  The Festival of Tears. Acts: me. Audience: me.