Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Guest Blog by Jonathan Wood - What I Learned Writing The Hero Series

Please welcome Jonathan Wood to The Qwillery. Broken Hero, the 4th Hero novel, is published today by Titan Books. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Jonathan a Happy Publication Day!

What I Learned Writing The Hero Series

So Broken Hero is out today. It’s the fourth book in the Hero series, and for the forseeable future the last one I’ll be writing. Which, actually isn’t something I’ve talked about anywhere else. (See, one thing I’ve learned is that having a web site doesn’t seem to help me much, so I’ve let that whole thing slide.) So yes, it’s looking like this is the last ride for Arthur Wallace and the crew at MI37. World exclusive. You read it here first.

But this post isn’t about that. Or… it isn’t yet. Because what Sally actually asked me to write about was what I learned while I writing the whole series. And the first lesson I wanted to impart is that writing, and being a published author is completely bonkers.



No Hero (the first book in the series) was a book I never meant to publish. It was supposed to be a practice novel. Except it got picked up for a 2-book series. Except then my publisher went belly up, with only one book out there. So then I self-published the second. Except that was only for a hot second, because my agent (through, I assume, black magic and human sacrifice) managed to sell both books plus a third to another publisher, Titan Books. And then they bought a fourth. Hence me being here, wittering on. And I’m pretty sure most of that shouldn’t have happened. And there’s possibly a lesson in there about plugging away at what you love, and keeping your head down and just writing, but.. bonkers. Utterly bonkers. That’s what I’m taking away.

Also - speaking of Titan Books, that’s something else I’ve learned. The people that work there are awesome. If you ever see them at a con, or at a reading, or as you stalk them across the moonlit streets of London, please feel free to remind them of this fact.

Speaking of awesome people, and bonkers things… fan mail. True story: the first two pieces of fan mail I got were actually angry tirades from people unable to get the books, for reasons utterly outside my control. And while it’s a little odd to be hit with such fiery invective, it’s also kind of awesome to know something I wrote inspired such a passion. Though, I have to say, my favorite fan mail has come in the form of letters from people who discovered the books during times of serious personal hardship and managed to gain some comfort from them. Considering the books consist largely of explosions and penis jokes, I’m kind of quietly amazed and terribly, terribly proud of that. Those letters, honestly have made the whole endeavor feel pretty worthwhile. So… I guess learning a little bit about why I’m writing in the first place was a decent lesson too.

And talking about fans, and audience, brings me back to the fact that this is the last book in the series. I swear I brought that up for a reason. So why am I stopping writing them? Honestly, it’s because I have other stories to tell. That’s something else I’ve come to learn. I’ve lived with Arthur, and Clyde, and Kayla, and Tabitha, and Felicity chatting away in my head for five years, and it’s time to give the other voices a turn.

So the good news (at least for the people who enjoy my writing) is that I also have another book coming out this year. This summer in fact. It’s an epic fantasy, and I am super excited about it. However, there is a twist. It’s coming out under a pseudonym, which… so as not to defeat the purpose of a pseudonym, I shall not be giving away. (That said, I’m also not terribly subtle, so if anyone follows me on facebook, I suspect figuring it out won’t be that hard.)

So, there’s that.

And now, I feel that this should all build to something. That there should the sort of grand lesson that comes at the end of a long journey. Some monomythic wisdom for me to share. But really, I think all I’ve got is the same thing my wife says to me, when I get phone calls from kind strangers trying to return to me all the things I manage to lose as I stumble through life (my keys and the flash drive containing the sole draft of my next novel, for example…) – I am the luckiest man alive.

I feel incredibly grateful, and privileged that the audience has allowed this series to go on this long, and that they’re still interested in finding out what idiotic thing Arthur is going to do next. And the reason I am such a tremendously lucky man is, really. because of the people who have bothered to read to the end of this post. It’s because of people like Sally who has been kind enough to host this blather, and to support the books all the way to the end. It’s because of you, reading right now. You are bloody brilliant, and I have learned—you have taught me—to be constantly grateful.

Thank you so much.

Broken Hero
Hero 4
Titan Books, January 26, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

How’s a secret agent meant to catch a break? If it’s not a demi-god going through puberty, it’s a renegade Nazi clockwork army going senile. Or a death cult in Nepal. Or a battery-chewing wizard’s relationship problems. Arthur Wallace, agent of MI37—Britain’s agency for dealing with the supernatural, the extraterrestrial, and the generally odd—has to pull everything together, and he has to do it before a magical bomb tears reality apart…


No Hero
Hero 1
Titan Books, March 11, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
Previously published by Night Shade Books

"What would Kurt Russell do?" Oxford police detective Arthur Wallace asks himself that question a lot. Because Arthur is no hero. He's a good cop, but prefers that action and heroics remain on the screen, safely performed by professionals. But then, secretive government agency MI37 comes calling, hoping to recruit Arthur in their struggle against the tentacled horrors from another dimension known as the Progeny. But Arthur is NO HERO! Can an everyman stand against sanity-ripping cosmic horrors?

Review here.

Yesterday's Hero
Hero 2
Titan Books, November 24, 2015
Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Trade Paperback and eBook, September 9, 2014

Another day. Another zombie T-Rex to put down. All part of the routine for Arthur Wallace and MI37—the government department devoted to battling threats magical, supernatural, extra-terrestrial, and generally odd. Except a zombie T-Rex is only the first of his problems... Before Arthur can say, “But didn’t I save the world yesterday?” a new co-director at MI37 is threatening his job, middle-aged Russian cyborg wizards are threatening his life, and his co-workers are threatening his sanity.

Review here.

Hero 3
Titan Books, June 28, 2016
Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
Trade Paperback and eBook, March 10, 2015

When it rains it pours… monster machines. That attack during a funeral and ruin everyone’s day. MI317—the government department devoted to defending Britain from cosmic horrors—is under siege, so Arthur Wallace and his team must travel to Area 51, ably—and oddly—assisted by Agent Gran. But their travels don’t end there, not when there’s an Arctic town populated entirely by spore zombies and the 2.0 version of Clyde has some funny ideas about how to save the world.

Review here.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Wood is an Englishman in New York. There’s a story in there involving falling in love and flunking out of med school, but in the end it all worked out all right, and, quite frankly, the medical community is far better off without him, so we won’t go into it here. His debut novel, No Hero was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “a funny, dark, rip-roaring adventure with a lot of heart, highly recommended for urban fantasy and light science fiction readers alike.” Barnesandnoble.com listed it has one of the 20 best paranormal fantasies of the past decade, and Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels described it as, “so funny I laughed out loud.” His short fiction has appeared in Weird Tales, Chizine, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, as well as anthologies such as The Book of Cthulhu 2 and The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Year One.

Twitter @thexmedic  ~  Facebook


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