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That’s The Way To Do It!

June 8th, 2015

R.Belligerence-BlogOur kids dragged us to the Manchester Film and Comic Con last weekend. Well, I say dragged … I was more excited than them. It was a huge event, packed with dealers, big screen TVs, an auditorium for talks, and rows of desks where celeb’s were signing graphic novels, DVDs, original artwork, baseball caps, etc.

My ten year old son was after ‘retro’ games, and we soon found some. So while he hummed and hahed over Pokemon and Donkey Kong I had a look round. I noticed one particular table which was quite simple (by comic con standards.) On a plain black cloth, it held just a few piles of books, all copies of four paperbacks that were neatly laid out on display – all clearly part of a series. Behind the table was a woman in a striking outfit – part Tolkien’s Rivendell, part Mos Eisley spaceport.

“Are you the author?” I said.

“Yes,” she said

And that’s how I came to meet the inspirational C. G. Hatton.

C. G. Hatton is the pen-name of Gillie Hatton, a hard-working girl from the North East of England. The books on her stall were the first four volumes of her Thieves Guild series. She’s currently working on the fifth, but novels aside, her own story’s a cracker. With a PhD in Geology, a background in newspaper editing, and two young children, you’d have thought she’d achieved enough. But somehow she found the time to write her first book Residual Belligerence as well. When she tried to get it published though, as with so many of us, she was met with a series of rejections from agents and publishers.

Now, when this happened to me with my fantasy trilogy, I decided to lock myself in an attic and get the whole thing finished before even thinking about publication again. But that’s not how Gillie Hatton responded. Along with graphic designer Graeme Wilkinson she set up Sixth Element Publishing and, in 2011, brought the book out herself. All four of her novels are now available from Amazon and Waterstones as paperbacks or eBooks, whilst Sixth Element has gone on to provide self-publishing services for a raft of other writers. I found seventeen of their books at a website called Smashwords. They all look great, and the testimonials from the writers are glowing.

Last year, Gillie launched her third novel Harsh Realities at Sci-Fi Scarborough, and it was a great success. So this year, she’s taken tables at five conventions around the UK. She could have gone further, there are science fiction and comic conventions in Bangalore, Lagos, Nairobi, Melbourne, Pasig City, Pretoria, Mumbai … all over the place. But for now, she’s focusing on her home audience. And is it working? Well, it should be. We chatted for a good fifteen minutes, and though I found out loads about her and her writing, she didn’t try to sell me anything. Instead, she gave me a card with instructions on how to download an eBook of her first novel free. I’ve now got Residual Belligerence on my Kindle, and this wasn’t a special promotion for the Film and Comic Con either. You can get a copy too if you want, just click on this link for a free download. I’m halfway through it, and it’s good – romps along at a heck of a pace, with characters I care about, and a mystery I can’t work out for the life of me. When I’ve finished this blog I’m going to go and read some more. And when I’m done, do you think there’s a chance I’ll buy the next one?

Course I will – I’m a fan (and if I ever do get my trilogy finished, I know how I’m going to market it too.)

Keep on writing!phil-blog-sig

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