And here it is… the cover of The Wildcard:
The art and design is by US-based Ioanny Dimov, who’s done an amazing job. Here’s a link to more info on the publisher’s site: https://ifwgaustralia.com/2020/12/23/cover-reveal-the-wildcard-by-kathryn-home/
To be released in April 2021… pre-orders will open soon!
The announcement is out folks – I’ve signed a book contract with IFWG Publishing Australia to publish my novel, The Wildcard.
Quick, go here to see the full announcement! 😀
I began writing The Wildcard in 2013, while I was studying, working and having babies all at once (so never let anyone tell you there’s no time to write, my friends). I based it on a concept I’d come up with twenty years earlier and had written a 10k short on at the time, but done nothing with since. It’d sat gathering dust on a succession of hard drives until I stumbled over it two decades later.
That original 10k piece, as poorly written and undergraduate as it was, was about a gathering of card players on a city-building rooftop, and what they played for was not money.
Every word in that early piece had to be ditched, of course – my writing was pretty awful when I was 20 years old, so you won’t find any of it in the novel when it’s published. But the concept snagged my attention when I found it again in 2013. Something in it was… interesting. So I started rewriting that rooftop scene, just to see where it would go.
And so The Wildcard was born. 😍🤩
You’ll be hearing plenty more about it as the journey to publication goes on, folks, because you can be sure I’ll be banging on about it loud and often. But until then, here’s a hint of what it’s about:
Jem doesn’t do risk. He doesn’t play games with chance. At least not until his ex-girlfriend shows up on his doorstop in tears and tricks him into signing for an impossible debt.
Thrust into an underworld of card players who bet anything they can think of – favours, information, secrets, even coffee – Jem has to figure his way out of a debt he doesn’t understand, in a world where the rules are twisting, complex and never explained. Relying only on a woman who plays life like she plays a game of poker, and drawn to a young man who offers temptations Jem’s not sure he can trust, there is only one thing he is clear on: the consequences of losing in this crowd. Because the last guy to owe a debt like his was just found floating face down in the ocean, and if Jem doesn’t sort this out fast, he could be next.
When I was a small child, maybe seven or eight, maybe ten – I don’t know, it was a long time ago, all right? – and I was asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I had two definite answers:
I wanted to have children and I wanted to write books. Real, published books.
Those were my dreams when I was a child and they remained my dreams into adult hood. Only then something happened when I hit my thirties.
Firstly I was diagnosed with general infertility – that is, I couldn’t get knocked up but nobody really knew why. It just wasn’t happening.
And secondly, I couldn’t finish a book. Writing one, I mean. I’d written zillions of words and a billion novels (no that’s not hyperbole, thank you – you haven’t seen all the files on my hard drive), but I couldn’t complete them. I could put together a lovely sentence. I could write a beautiful page of prose. I knew how to deliver an excellent scene. But a whole book with closure and an actual finish? Unless some reader wanted to meander through 600k words with no ending in sight, it wasn’t happening.
So I did two things. I enrolled in a creative writing course – Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT – to learn my writing craft properly, and I started on the long, bizarre, expensive road of IVF.
I’ve documented my experiences with IVF on my blog Fun With IVF, so you can read all about that there. It was a wild ride, especially that time when my beautiful IVF son Luke was about two and I started feeling nauseous to the point where I didn’t even feel like drinking coffee anymore and… Oh. Yes. Nature had surprises in store because apparently I could get preggo naturally despite it all, and along came child #2, my delightful, very wanted, unexpected but happy surprise, Charlotte.
It took many years, many invasive tests, many many many needles and so many dollars you don’t want to ask, but I had my kids.
The whole investigation into IVF thing kicked off sometime around 2009. Also sometime around 2009, I also started submitting short stories to anthologies and magazines. Not because I enjoyed writing short stories, short is really not my forte (did I mention the 600k thing before?), but because I had a plan to get published. To write novels and have them out there in the world. And I figured the best way to do that was to build a publishing history with short stories first.
So that’s what I did. For ten years I’ve been sending out short stories – a format I admire, but is totally not my natural home – and getting at least a couple of them published a year, all with the view that one day I want to publish novels. But while I believe in chasing dreams and working hard and persisting, I’m also a pragmatist and I know sometimes it’s just all out of your control. One of my oldest friends also dreamed of having children, but for her it never happened.
You will never achieve anything if you don’t put in the hard work and persist despite failure and rejection – especially in writing, where rejection is just part of the job.
But sometimes, no matter how hard you work, luck is also against you.
Anyway, I know that. I’ve always known that. But writing is my passion and I do it anyway and I’ve made my peace with that.
Except. Well. Something happened last weekend. Something I can’t tell you massive amounts about yet, the details will all be forthcoming I swear. But until then, let me just say:
Reader, I signed a book contract.
So I attended Continuum 15 in fine old Melbourne Town last weekend. For three days I watched, listened, pitched, panelled, talked, laughed, admired, caught up with old friends, made new ones, met a huge number of very lovely people, and drank way too much wine.
I went with a certain agenda – to pitch my manuscript, to make the acquaintance of a couple of people I wanted to meet, to appear on a panel, and to have a grand time. I came away from the Con having pitched multiple times (with corresponding invitations to submit), with a manuscript assessment spot on in excellent feedback, and having met an amazing number of people, all of whom were wonderful. And I definitely had a grand time.
Here’s a few pics, including from the panel I was on, “Fictional Librarians and Archivists” with the wonderful Sean McMullen and Gillian Polack, both writers I admire very much, so I had a great time on the panel with them.
One of the first panels I attended – “We do this job so you can write about it” – featuring the ever awesome Aiki Flinthart, Sophie Yorkson, Kat Clay and Justin Bennett:
Guests of Honour for the convention were Kate Elliot and Ken Liu, who were both wonderful and engaging speakers. Here’s Kate’s session on narrative structure and working with audience expectations:
What Con would be complete without wine? What about wine in a tin? Yes, we had it. Yes, it is bizarre. And totally classy, I swear. I had about three sips from the can, then had to pour it into a glass, just to feel somewhat normal.
I attended Aiki Flinthart‘s amazing workshop on ‘Writing Fight Scenes for Female Characters’. She presented an huge amount of information, all exceptionally well researched, ranging from the psychological to the physical aspects of fight scenes. I’d recommend it for anyone who ever has the chance to attend.
And lastly, a couple more pics of the panel I was on – Fictional Librarians and Archivists. Because if you’ve glanced at the landing page of this site, you’ll know that’s what I do when I’m not writing: work in information management, records, archives and libraries.
Right, that about covers it. A bunch of us also agreed that WorldCon next year in New Zealand was an absolute must, so looks like there’ll be some travelling in 2020…