Today I am delighted to be joining the blog tour for Maxim Jakubowski’s The Louisiana Republic. Definitely a departure for me and my little blog but I have a guest post from the author which I know you’ll all find fascinating. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to join in the blog tour. Let’s see what the book is all about.
About the Book
New York, and the world, have been transformed by an unexplained global catastrophe now known as ‘the Dark.
Once a modest researcher, has now become an involuntary detective. He is recruited by her elder sister to find the missing daughter of a local gangster in a city in chaos where anarchy and violence are just a step away. He soon discovers the case is anything but straightforward and compellingly close to home.
Compromising photographs and the ambiguous assistance of a young woman with ties to the criminal gangs lead him to New Orleans, which has seceded from the rest of America in the wake of the Dark. A perilous journey down the Mississippi river, murderous hit women and sidekicks, and the magic and dangerous glamour of the French Quarter become a perilous road to nowhere and to madness in his quest for the amoral daughter, his own lost love and his sanity. Will he find the missing women or lose himself?
HOW I WAS A WOMAN AND BECAME A MAN AGAIN
Ever since I began writing and publishing, one of the main criticisms my novels and stories attracted from readers and editors was the fact they contained much in the way of sex. Now, for me, this was normal. I mostly write (whether it was science fiction and fantasy in the early days of my writing career or, later, crime thrillers) about people, about things going wrong, the way men and women never appear to be quite on the same wavelength, the deep mysteries of love and attraction, and how can you not treat such important, nay vital subjects, without sex rearing its lovely head?
And the more the subject was raised, the less I was tempted to change what I had written, censor myself and to hell with the often bad reviews.
Then a few years back, a certain book about Shades of Grey loomed on the horizon and created a publishing frenzy long before it was issued, with almost every London publisher bidding for the rights.
Within days of E.L. James’s infamous books selling to Random House (and I can categorically state here that I found them unreadable crap; writing that gave sex a bad name, regardless of their mega sales…), several of the editors who had lost out on the auction began contacting my literary agent, with suggestions that they might have actually been wrong to criticise me in the past for my sex scenes and would I maybe be interested in writing a full-fledged erotic novel (or series) for them. Unbeknown to them, a few years before, I had actually succumbed to the temptation and written a few novels in which I had almost erased the thriller element and just left the sex, ‘The State of Montana’ (which attracted the attention and the dollars of Nicole Kidman – but will not now ever be filmed for reasons that cannot be mentioned here…) and ‘Kiss Me Sadly’, both of which appeared with small independent publisher so never made huge headlines, although sales were good as were foreign editions.
As a full-time author, money talks and although the idea of creating a competitor for Fifty Shades was tempting, I quickly realised that I wouldn’t be able to take it seriously and might along the way be tempted to take the mickey, so decided to collaborate with a good friend who, like me, had some involvement with the field of literary erotica,, so we could respectively keep each other on the straight and narrow.
After salvaging an idea of hers that she’d hoped to write as a short story but was worthy of many more pages, we came up with the opening 10 thousand words and an outline for a two volume series.
Which my agent promptly despatched to half a dozen publishers, with a fortnight for them to decide whether they wished to make an offer. Within 48 hours we had a floor, which was higher than any advance I’d ever had for a novel before! The auction was curtailed and soon came down to two houses, with the final offer offering a six figure sum BUT for 3 novels, which the publisher who had the floor then matched, not without grumbling. There are some opportunities in life you just can’t turn down and we accepted the deal, on the condition the third instalment was left open as we had no idea whatsoever at the time what to feature in it, as the plot we had devised was for two books only.
To cut a long story short, we laughed all the way to the bank and were then confronted with having to write three novels of about 100,000 words in under 6 months, which we of course managed as the utter professionals we are. Although my collaborator ended up with RSI in her wrist!
Within 3 weeks of delivery the first book was in the shops and supermarkets and reached number 8 in the Sunday Times paperback bestseller list. Later volumes went even higher, and before we had even completed the third volume in the series, we were offered another 3 book deal.
However, not only did we have to change our title so the books were seen as counterparts to Fifty Shades (think numbers and colours….) but the buyers for the chains and leading supermarkets where the books for some time were selling like hot cakes made it a condition of stocking them in sizeable quantities that they should appear under a woman’s name. We cowardly accepted, needless to say (my collaborator is a woman but unable to use her real name, as her family background is intensely religious and no one there had an inkling she even wrote erotica…).
So, for the last 4 years, I have been masquerading as a woman!
Eleven books later, the demand for erotic romances has now abated and it was time to write again as myself, albeit with no financial pressure thanks to the several million books the series sold (and spread to 31 countries), so it was finally time to write a book purely for myself. Which is ‘The Louisiana Republic’, appearing now. It falls between so many stalls: it’s a private eye tale with a strong nod to Raymond Chandler, it’s a desperate love story, it’s a dystopia set in a near future world where a major catastrophe has destroyed the fabric of society, it’s a road movie (or more precisely a river one, as there is a long chase down the Mississippi), it veers at times into the supernatural and, needless to say, it’s infused with sex. How could it not be?
I hope you like it.
Well … who’d a thunk it huh? Just goes to show you never can tell. Thank Maxim. Hope you have a really great tour. If you are intrigued to find out more about The Louisiana Republic then you can find a copy at the following retailers:
About the Author
Maxim Jukubowski worked for many years in book publishing as an editor (including titles by William Golding, Peter Ackroyd, Oliver Stone, Michael Moorcock, Peter Ustinov, Jim Thompson, David Goodis, Paul Ableman, Sophie Grigson, Marc Behm, Cornell Woolrich etc) and launched the Murdor One Bookshop, which he owned and ran for over 20 years.
He now writes, edits and translates full-time in London.
He was born in London and educated in France, and his books have been translated into many languages. From an early age, he was always fascinated by popular culture and his writing and editing has criss-crossed all areas, from science fiction & fantasy to thrillers and, inevitably, erotica.
He conceived one of the genre’s first major contemporary anthologies The Mammoth Book of Erotica which has since been followed by a further 20 volumes, and four books devoted to erotic photography. In addition to over 90 collections in other genres, he has also edited the Sex in the City series, ad runs the Eros Plus and Neon lists, alongside crime imprints Black Box Thrillers, Blue Murder and Maxcrime.
He has been a columnist for Time Out and the Guardian, and contributed to most major newspapers and magazines, and is a regular arts commentator on British TV and radio. He also ran London’s annual crime film and literary festival Crime Scene and is a consultant for several overseas film festivals.
He has won the Anthony and Karen awards for his contributions to, respectively, crime fiction and SF & fantasy.
He also writes a monthly book review column for lovereading.co.uk
He is Vice Chairman of the Crime Writer’s Association.
For the past three years he has been busy writing , under a pseudonym, a series of Sunday Times bestselling novels which has now reached ten volumes.
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