Friday, 13 November 2015

In My Bottom Drawer (5) - Gillian Hamer

In My Bottom Drawer (5)

With a budding career as a new 'Queen of Crime', we put crime author, Gillian E Hamer, under the spotlight and demand she comes clean about the early manuscripts gathering dust under her bed.

With three paranormal thrillers under her belt - The Charter, Closure and Complicit - plus her latest crime novels, False Lights and Crimson Shore : The Gold Detectives I & II - she has already experienced the highs and lows that indie-publishing offers. Also, she has had a total of three literary agents in the past ten years, and so even in her early work, there must have been something that drew the eye to her writing.

But like all authors, she has novels that she would rather see hit the shredder than hit the headlines.


Many many years ago, when I was a fledgling author (and I use that term in the very loosest sense) I decided I wanted to be a writer of erotica. After years of secretly reading my nan's Mills & Boon and Jackie Collins novels, I felt I was perfectly placed to unleash my new-found sexual powers on an unsuspecting world.

At the time I was dating a chef called James, who looking back I realise had one or two odd deviances, role play among the mildest. He also fancied himself as a budding Tolkien, so we decided to pool our 'talents' in a novel called The Stranger.

The premise was that we would write one chapter at a time, discussing only the vaguest of plots beforehand (two strangers meet, begin a journey together that would end who knew where... ) and wherever chapter one left off, the other writer would take on the baton and write chapter two, ending on a cliff-hanger for the other to take over in chapter three and so on.

Clearly, James had a different end goal to mine, and the novel soon bordered on illegal. I've no idea whether it remains gathering dust in some cyber-space email trash bin, but you can rest assured that's the best place for it.


I'll remain a little reticent about slating this novel, because it does have something, just not enough of anything specific. It was the first novel I wrote that I thought was professional enough to pitch to publishers (I don't think I knew literary agents existed back then) so I bought a 1999 Writers & Artists Handbook and sent the ms out to a long list of publishers - and unsurprisingly received a long list of rejection letters in reply.

One though caught my eye, it was the most encouraging input I could have hoped for and gave me a shred of belief in my writing. It was from a fiction editor at Hodder & Stoughton (as was) whose name I remembered many years later when I began to submit The Charter. She had moved to a literary agency by then, but remembered me as I'd remembered her. She became my first agent and helped bring on my writing in leaps and bounds.

So, although MMS remains buried in an old laptop somewhere, I reckon I may dig it out one day and see if I can shape it into something resembling a crime novel."

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