Genial: The Love Song of Simon and Julie

I’m hopeless at this marketing thing. Self-publishing is a good way to get the books out there, but unless you also enjoy doing all that marketing malarkey you’re never going to sell your books. It was bad enough sending out chapters to agents and then checking on which agents had what and who had sent me rejections — the kind of bureaucratic nonsense that eats up valuable writing time. I’ve got this blog and I forget about it from day-to-day, despite it being essentially the only vehicle I have for marketing myself. And even then, I’m pretty sure nobody reads it…

Still, on we go.

In July I published the latest in the Dereham Nodes, Genial: The Love Song of Simon and Julie. This is Node 4.5. Now, you might wonder, why Node 4.5? Well, there is a reason, naturellement. This node is more a novella than a novel, as it is only about 50 thousand words. It also centres around a story that is, genre-wise, quite different to the other novels. It is a love story, as the subtitle indicates. It doesn’t really involve spies, UFOs, the paranormal, crazy people, or any of that stuff. It does involve friendship, which, I realise, is quite a theme of the later novels in this series. It also takes place in the background to everything that is happening in Raven of Dispersion (Node 4), and Simon becomes one of the major characters in The Ethical Hitman (Node 5). So, to me, it felt like a novel that was in the same network, but slightly off the main routes.

So, what is Genial about? It’s about the summer of 1976 — the dazzling summer, the long hot summer, the summer when the sun shone always, and would shine always and forever — and young old friends Simon and Julie drift through the glorious lazy holiday that stretches before them, wondering what they should do about the loves they somehow left behind, before the sun came out. As they share time together under the blue skies, in the sultry heat, with their friends — the friend who loves his car, the friend who loves fixing cars, the friend whose boyfriend loves his drink, the friend who loves all the boys, the friend who loves somebody else’s girlfriend — they wonder who it is they should love. Out on the hills, out in the fields, and riding in cars with the wind in their hair, Simon and Julie become languorously entangled. Can this entanglement last longer than sunshine? Or is it only a creation of this magical summer? Their story is episodic, picaresque, sentimental, romantic. And most genial.

Various characters from other novels appear, and Simon and Julie themselves re-appear in later novels in the series. The novel also holds another secret or ludic notion, a notion at which the blurb on the back of the book hints.

I had a break from writing after finishing Genial. It’s been a pretty intense 15 years of writing and editing (especially when you consider that my day-to-day job is technical  writing!), including five novels and three non-fiction books. However, this year will see me get back into the groove as I work with sometime co-author Kevin on Node 0, and start writing Node 6. And I will be chasing a publisher/agent again. Never give up…

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