Readersforum's Blog

November 10, 2012

Finding the sweet taste of writing freedom

 By Sean O’Toole
South African-based author Sarah Lotz was scraping by before a British publishing house offered her a six-figure deal.

In June this year, Hodder & Stoughton, the British publisher of John le Carré and Jodi Picoult, posted a benign notice on its company Facebook page. It stated that Anne C Perry, co-editor of Pornokitsch, a “geek culture” blog site founded in 2008, had been appointed to the position of assistant editor at Hodder. Her brief was to expand the company’s activities and acquisitions in the field of ­science fiction, fantasy and horror publishing.

The announcement, which generated 36 “likes”, ultimately led to Noordhoek-based author Sarah Lotz receiving a six-figure pre-emptive offer for world rights on The Three, a work in progress, and one other novel. Perry, who earlier this year co-edited Pandemonium: Stories of the Smoke, a Pornokitsch volume of Dickens-inspired short stories featuring a contribution by Lotz, was key to initiating the book deal.

It was Perry who contacted ­Oliver Munson, Lotz’s representative at the London literary agency Blake Friedmann, to find out what her old Pornokitsch pal was currently ­working on. The short answer: ­collaborations.

After debuting in 2008 with the loosely autobiographical novel Pompidou Posse, Lotz segued into the lucrative genre-fiction market, publishing two pulpy novels about a down-at-heel Cape Town lawyer, George Allen.

Exhibit A (2009) received an enthusiastic endorsement from Mike Nicol, her former creative writing lecturer at the University of Cape Town (UCT), but the sequel, Tooth and Nailed (2010), received middling notices. “It’s not quite Raymond Chandler,” offered one reviewer.

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