Bank on Nothing by Russell Govan

by | Jun 7, 2021 | Author | 1 comment

I suspect that I might be the first contributor to Author’s Lounge to say I never particularly wanted to write my first novel, and that I’d rather not have got the motivation to finish it.

I was attending writing classes and the tutor asked each of us to provide three brief ideas for a book we might write. I found it quite easy to generate two that I was enthusiastic about, but struggled to cobble together a placeholder for the third. All the proposals were then circulated and class members were invited to vote for which one they might buy if it were ever published. I was astonished, and not a little disappointed, that my third choice suggestion gained considerable traction.

          Afterwards my tutor suggested strongly that, given its apparent commercial potential, I should try to write the story. I have huge respect for my tutor and agreed to give it a go. I struggled to make headway and after the best part of a year I was on the verge of abandoning the project. I was explaining how I felt to my adult son one evening during a phone call. He asked me to talk through the plot, and after a long discussion he told me that he thought I should persevere and finish the novel. Just a few weeks later he died very suddenly and unexpectedly. In my grief I remembered his advice and felt a compulsion to finish the novel as some kind of token of my love for him. And so I completed it, then stuck it away on a shelf.

          Freed from the burden of writing something I hadn’t particularly enjoyed, I embarked on writing something I was excited by. After about nine months I had finished what I considered to be a fairly decent time-slip romance, with a bit of edge and humour to it. I sent it to well over a hundred publishers and agents but, despite a number of expressions of interest and a few kind comments, no-one followed through on it.. I then decided to dust off the previous novel and test whether there might be any interest in it, given that the market for a thriller is massively bigger than that for the rather more niche time-slip romance. I sent it out to half a dozen publishers and was amazed when two of them came back within a matter of weeks saying that they were willing to take it.

          And so I signed a deal with Sharpe Books, and they published Bank on Nothing for me. It’s the story of a very ordinary man who becomes caught up in the most extraordinary situation. I set it in and around the City of London and the commuter dormitory of Ilford. I was familiar with both having worked and lived there some thirty years ago – write what you know, as I was taught in my classes. The book is available in electronic and paperback format via Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bank-Nothing-Russell-Govan-ebook/dp/B08FBH9FYK/ At 240 pages, it’s a pretty quick and easy read for anyone interested in the crime/thriller genre.

          Getting a book published has been quite educational for me – particularly in seeing the importance of social media in promoting it. I’m quite social media averse, although I do now have a twitter account: https://twitter.com/RussellGovan/status/1308318859330564097

My agreement with Sharpe Books requires me to produce a second thriller and I’m now quite a long way down the road to getting that written. With any luck that should be available later this year.

          I have one final piece of good news that I’d like to share. Although I’ve been pretty focused on bashing out my second thriller, I have also continued to selectively send out my time-slip romance to publishers I think might just be interested. This week, in fact on the same day that Author’s Lounge invited me to write this piece, I got word from a Toronto based publisher to say that they wanted to take the book! I hope that provides some inspiration to other authors out there – if you really believe in your book do keep plugging away (and I wish you the very best of luck).

1 Comment

  1. Matthew Cross

    Wow, Russell, that is indeed an odd path to authorship and publishing. I hope the second thriller is more fun to write. And I’m excited to hear about the eventual success of the Sci Fi time slip ms!
    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Be stellar!
    Matthew Cross

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