Route to Publication by Danny Kemp – the self-published London taxi driver with a film deal
Today I’m handing over my blog to Danny Kemp, a self-published author who came to writing almost by chance. Over to you Danny…
I wrote my first book when I was in my late fifties, it was never published. My second came at the age of sixty-two, it is being made into a film.
Could that be an answer to that question; money, fame, adulation? Not for me, they were not my driving force, but if they are yours then read on, and see if you can do it. If I can, then there is no reason that you cannot!
Let me introduce myself. I’m two years on from that age of first awareness into the intricacies of the publishing world and still pushing onwards and upwards, prising open closed doors as I go. I am, by vocation, a Licensed London Taxi Driver, driving the iconic ‘black cab’ around the congested streets of our capital city, but I have been many things in my life. I was a Policeman, then a Licensee of three English pubs, in one of which I was arrested for attempted murder whilst standing up to what I believed was right. I got away with it, but I haven’t tried it since in case the ‘do-gooders’ in this world think more of the perpetuators of crime than the innocents. That incident was thirty odd years ago when sanity still had a voice in the world. I’m not sure what would happen today if I repeated it.
Before writing I had a steady life, one where I knew more or less my income and expenditure on a weekly basis. My wife and I could afford a modest to good standing of living, depending on how hard I wanted to work That was until fate hit me hard where it hurt the most; in my pocket.
In November 2006 a van, driven irresponsibly, crashed into me and effectively put me out of paid work for almost four years. If you’ve got to this point in the story, and now are thinking…“are yes, he must have been paid thousands of pounds and stayed in the comfort of his home writing,” then you’re sadly wrong. I never received anywhere near what I lost, but I’m not going to bore you with details. That enforced time away from work was when I was drawn into writing, and its brought me to where I am today.
I sent a typed manuscript of that first book, along with the synopsis, to about a hundred or so agents, receiving only a few replies all of which were negative. To condense them, they suggested that I could not put two sentences together. I almost gave up hope. Then one night the telephone rang and it changed my life. On hearing an agent say that he was interested, I really did think I had made it.
How wrong can you be? That’s when the hard work started, and it’s still going on.
That agent sent it off to publishers who in turn ignored it. After telling me to write another novel, he gave me a choice. Go through the whole routine again, or self-publish with an established publisher who would do it all for me. At sixty-two, with no literary profile or knowledge of the written world, there was no choice as I saw it. If I wanted my work to be read then stuff the word ‘vanity’ and let’s get it done.
The Desolate Garden came out in March 2012 and has been likened, by reviewers, to The Thirty-Nine Steps, by the Film Producer to The Constant Gardener and North By North-West and my writing, by an events manager of Waterstones, the largest book retailer in the UK, to Graham Greene. It wasn’t based on knowledge or experience as is the usual advice given of ‘write of what you know about.’
The story is a spy, murder mystery with a heavy emphasis on romance, and although admitting to being on both the right, and wrong side of the law, I had no first hand experience of murder nor spying. Mystery perhaps, as life can often be that, as I am now finding out again.
It has had good reviews, and is selling above expectation, Because of this I was offered that prized traditional publishing agreement, with another novel published in November 2013. The title of this book is Why? I have two other works ongoing, but time is an enemy.
Your imagination is one of the greatest thing that God gave you, but it is a curse as well as a blessing. It is limited in scope, and can hold you back from taking that first step into the unknown.
Visualise yourself in a bookshop with your book staring back at you from a shelf, then move forward in time and see someone taking it away to read then paying for what your imagination crafted. Take that step and enter the world that I have the great fortune to have discovered. Travel along the way that I tread.
And how did Danny come to the attention of a film maker? It was hard work, luck and a case of ‘you know who I had in the back of my cab….’ Read the full story in Kent Online Thank you Danny for sharing your route to publication.