Anneke and Bill: beta readers extraordinaire

So as we get close to The Pericles Commission finally going on sale, this is the end of a long, long journey not only for me, but for everyone who's helped me.

These two shifty-looking characters lurking in a dark corner have held the secret of who killed Ephialtes since 2007. That's when they first read the manuscript and gave me advice and asked the tough questions that had to be answered.

Anneke Klein is Dutch. English is her second language, which doesn't stop her from being the most amazing beta reader. I tell her she should be doing manuscript assessment for a living, she's that good. Anneke asks all the tough plot, theme and character questions that I really wish no one had noticed. To this day I have not published or sold a word of fiction that she did not see first. Which means yes, she's already been through The Ionia Sanction and she asked all the tough questions that made me rewrite parts. She also has one astonishing talent: if Anneke likes a story, it sells; if she doesn't like it, it doesn't sell. I've never known her to be wrong, and I have unsold short stories lying about to prove it. These days Anneke runs the flash fiction site Rammenas. Her own first fiction publication will be a short story in an upcoming anthology.

Bill Kirton is a master of craft. His critiques are always so depressingly right, and so crystal clear that you'd almost think he taught writing as a profession. Which, actually, he did. Bill taught creative writing and French literature at Aberdeen University. He's also been an actor, a playwright, and a BBC scriptwriter. His novels are The Figurehead (an historical mystery!), The Darkness, Material Evidence and Rough Justice. The last three are police procedurals starring DCI Jack Carston. (I was dead sure I had Material Evidence solved. I was wrong.)

Thanks guys. It wouldn't be a book without you.


scaryazeri said...

Two fantastic people and both of them I met via your blog! Thank you!

Gary Corby said...

Hi Scary! You also live right in between them. If you three haven't all met up some time, you should!

Kerrie said...

I'd like to be able to get this on my Kindle Gary

Gary Corby said...

Hi Kerrie,

There's a kindle edition. It's at Amazon's kindle page for Pericles Commission.

Enough people have asked me the same question that I'll put it up as a separate entry in the buy list. Thanks for the idea.

Kerrie said...

Thanks Gary - I guess it won't be available for that until after publication date

Gary Corby said...

Woops, I should have mentioned that minor detail. Yes, it will work better if the book is actually released.

And in passing I'll mention for other readers...Kerrie runs the blog Mysteries in Paradise. I think Kerrie might be Australia's most prolific mystery book blogger.

Anneke said...

Thank you Gary! Reading your work has always been a pleasure.
One of my favourite writer's quotes is from the Dutch writer Jan Brokken: the art of writing is for 90% the will and the ability to rewrite.
You are very good at using these tough questions in the right way.

Looking forward to reading the manuscript of book 3!

Bill Kirton said...

Thanks for the character reference, Gary. As your followers will guess, it was far from a chore reading Pericles and its success is a tribute to your talent and professionalism as a writer. Your openness to suggestions was very refreshing and I'm flattered that you took any notice of anything I said. Anneke, on the other hand, is everything you've said about her - a highly perceptive reader (and critic in the most positive sense of the word), with the ability to articulate precisely what she does and doesn't like about a piece of writing.
I'm nearly as excited as you are that Pericles will eventually be on the shelves. Lots of luck with it and with the rest of the series.

Gary Corby said...

Thanks Anneke. I totally agree on the comment about rewriting.

Book 3...oh yeah...I'm way behind schedule on that. I hope you're not doing much in early December.

Gary Corby said...

Thanks Bill, always happy to do a character reference. I could have said you're incredibly good and devious at killing people, but somehow it wouldn't have been the same.

(And I notice in passing, even your blog comments are beautifully written.)