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Archive for March, 2016

Jeanette Heiwtt

Since the recent publication of Jeanette’s book ‘Exclusion Zone’  many things have happened and I asked Jeanette to come back and tell you all about it, and here she is…

On February 14th – Saint Valentine’s Day – my debut crime fiction novel was released into the world on Kindle. I knew that this time around it would be very different to my previous two published novels. I was much more active on social media for a start, and I had spent the last couple of years building a network of support in readers, bloggers and other writers. But when I sat down to look at the book on Amazon (yes, narcissistic but I done it), I wasn’t prepared to see that it was at number 156 in the International Crime and Mystery category. I done a little push on Twitter and FaceBook to see if there was any way I could get it into the top 100 and lo and behold, when I awoke the following morning it was at number 50! It’s a huge thrill to be able to say that Exclusion Zone was in the bestselling 100 books in Crime and Mystery. Because of the Chernobyl setting it also got in the top 100 in Military and also in the History section.

jeanette hewitt~Exclusion Zone cover

In the two weeks that Exclusion Zone has been released I’ve been lucky enough to take part in some blogs just like this one, the readers of which might otherwise miss out on hearing about my crime novel. Word really does spread on social media and though a lot of it is actively pursuing people and groups, sometimes bloggers and authors hear about the work and make an offer for me to appear on their blogs with an interview or a Q&A session. And that’s one of the things I love most about this game, the total and utter support given. I’m sure it’s got to be one of the friendliest professions that I’ve come across. Of course, it’s not good etiquette to just ‘take’, and I’ve always tried to pay it forward in supporting, sharing and retweeting writers and bloggers and readers if I come across something I’ve really enjoyed or has touched me. I built a Facebook page and with sponsorship and support from my very technologically minded and creative partner, Darren, we managed to reach far and wide to draw people in. The page is a place where I can play, and right now I’ve having a lot of fun posting some Chernobyl facts accompanied by photos. People seem to enjoy them, which is great to hear because I enjoy the educational side of this important piece of history too.

On Saturday just gone I was lucky enough to get a slot to pitch to an agent at the Curtis Brown / Conville Walsh Discovery Day, held at Foyles in London. Hundreds of aspiring writers had congregated there, and once again, I met some lovely people. Julie Stock, Elaina James and a fantastically friendly lady who had flown in from France among others. I wasn’t nervous, mainly because three years ago I had a similar shot at stardom when I was shortlisted for the Inspire and Mentor Award and got to meet the legend that is JoJo Moyes. And said legend asked me which authors I like to read and my brain suddenly emptied itself, and the only name I could recall was Jackie Collins. So no, I wasn’t nervous about the most recent event, having had my worst mind freeze a few years back, and luckily this time my brain stayed lovely and full and I managed to read out my pitch without looking at my notes and answer the agent’s questions without stuttering or forgetting anything!

It’s all about putting yourself out there, which can be hard as it’s not natural (to me, anyway) to ‘big yourself up’. Writing is rather solitary, so it’s a strange dynamic to spend six months alone with your characters and then be thrust out into the world to talk about them. I had some good practice last year when I was on a panel with fellow crime writers SJI Holliday and Jane Isaac at the Felixstowe Book Festival. This year I’ll be appearing again, but this time I’ll be on my own. I’m very much looking forward to being part of the East Anglian Festival of Culture (Eafoc) as that will be relaxed and chatty, something I can do!

The paperback of Exclusion Zone is now on sale too and on 26th April I’ll be having a launch at Stillwater Books in Felixstowe. There will be some talk, some drinks, some freebies and some fun and I’ll be using that opportunity to put my public talking into rehearsal!

Updates on the launch will be posted on my Facebook page – www.facebook.com/j.mhewittauthor – and also on my website – www.jmhewitt.com – so if anyone does fancy coming along do keep an eye on my pages.

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