My Two-Book Deal With Thomas & Mercer

First let’s begin with this official announcement in Publishers Marketplace regarding my two-book deal with Thomas & Mercer:

announcement In case you can’t read that, it says:

Tony Healey’s HOPE’S PEAK, first in the Harper & Ida series, featuring a gutsy female detective who only trusts the facts and a survivor who gets psychic visions when she is near a serial killer’s victims, to Jacque Ben-Zekry at Thomas & Mercer, in a two-book deal, by Sharon Pelletier at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (World).

I am so excited to have Hope’s Peak picked up by Thomas & Mercer. Of all the publishers who could’ve took the book on, none of them are better placed to get it in front of customers. Self-publishing for years, as I have done, I’ve seen my fair share of projects that haven’t found readers. I know that with Thomas & Mercer – with the power of Amazon behind them – that won’t be a problem. Readers will find Hope’s Peak and Hope’s Peak with find readers.

But it’s not only their ability to sell a product. Amazon understands the new age of publishing in ways that the traditional publishers don’t. They know that readers want to read page-turners that are properly edited and formatted. They know that readers don’t want to pay over the hilt for them either – though, that being said, they also understand that readers of a series will happily pay $4/5 for the next book. They understand value for money and customer retention.

More importantly, Amazon know that digital publishing is something to be embraced, not feared, and that’s most important of all.

For writers out there who might be reading this, wondering how I got such a deal, let me lay it all out for you. Hopefully my transparency about the process will give you some insight – and a taste of what to expect should you attempt the same thing.

A few years ago I had an idea for a story about a woman whose psychic abilities manifest themselves upon contact. For one reason or another, I couldn’t quite get the story to work so I abandoned it.

I tend to write my ideas in a notebook and I’ll go through several a year – filling them up, regurgitating some of the same ideas over and over until they start to gel. One of those ideas was a female cop chasing a serial killer. I’ve long been a fan of Thomas Harris and his complex villain, Hannibal Lecter. But what sticks in my mind the most from “The Silence Of The Lambs” and “Hannibal”, is Clarice. She’s the wholesome hero. I’ve got nothing against multi-faceted heroes who are borderline anti-hero’s. But there’s something to be said about a character like Clarice – who is good all the way through. Incorruptible and pure. I knew that if I wrote a novel featuring a tough female cop, she’d have to have those same qualities. Sure, she might have a few skeletons in the closet, but “Bad Lieutenant” she ain’t.

I also knew that the villain would have to standout, too. Writing Hope’s Peak, I left all of the serial killer’s scenes until the end. Meaning I finished the book before bringing him to life. I did this because I really wanted him to have his own arc, his own plot, running concurrently to the novel itself. In that way, he wouldn’t feel shoehorned in, but just another character. The bogey man thing has been done to death. Serial killers are characters in their own right, and as a writer you have to treat them with the same respect that you would your heroes.

If you don’t, the whole thing falls apart.

So I had my cop, I had my villain, I had the setting of Hope’s Peak. There was a third element missing and that’s when I remembered the story I’d tried to write all that time before. A psychic who could tell a lot about people just by touching them. What if she could touch the victims of the serial killer and, in doing so, give the cop new insight into her case? As I began to explore that idea, jotting down different versions, I realised that the psychic character should be personally connected to the killer himself. Once that notion occured to me, all the pieces started to fall into place.

Director Nicholas Meyer says, “Art doesn’t just happen by accident. It is about pulling out new tricks and trying new things”. It took me a while to figure out how Hope’s Peak was going to work, but with some perseverence, work it did. I had it all outlined. And it was at that stage, looking at my outline of what would happen chapter by chapter, that I knew I should write the killer’s scenes last.

There are writers out there who don’t plot. Everyone has their own process of doing these things, and there’s no wrong or right answer. Personally I find plotting essential. You can’t put together a flatpack wardrobe without instructions. You can’t make a complicated cake without a recipe.

I begin with a spine. That spine has the acts of the story, the rise and fall of action, the turning points and reversals. It allows me to pace the story correctly. Where will that scene take place? How long after that will everything take a turn for the worst? How will I build tension in this scene, so that it pays off in the next? I look at how I can apply the timeless lessons of the Hero’s Journey. I incorporate the genius advice of McKeen. If you write books and you don’t own a copy of “STORY” I just don’t know what’s wrong with you.

I iron all of these pacing issues out before I work out how the chapters will play out. All of that comes next. So if the mechanics of the plot form the spine, then the chapters and story details are the ribs. The plot is made to conform to that initial spine, and while some may argue that is limiting for a writer, I say it is the opposite. Too much freedom and you end up with a Stephen King epic that could do with losing a few pounds. By having to hit the key points on that basic framework, you’re working on a budget. It makes you more creative, it makes you work harder to get everything to work. No writer should be given free licence to do as they please. The best art – the art that everyone remembers – was created with limitations. The Wrath of Khan wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as it is if they hadn’t been working with a limited budget.

It took me about two months to write the first draft of Hope’s Peak. I then spent a few weeks doing a rewrite, and a hard copy edit. Then I gave it to two friends to read – David K. Hulegaard and Sandie Slavin. Interestingly, they both came back with different issues with the plot. They were easy to address. Once I’d done that, I handed the book over to Bernard Schaffer, my mentor, for him to have a read and give me his thoughts. Bernard did more than that – he did a full edit of the entire manuscript, and helped iron out a lot of the wrinkles in both the plot and the characters personalities. Following that I had the novel proofread, and then it was ready to send to Sharon, my agent.

“Hold it!” I hear you saying. “How did you get an agent?”

Well let me rewind a little. Many months before, Bernard and I co-wrote a few things together (Confederation Reborn), and that we self-published with the assistance of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. Bernard went through Sharon, one of the agents there, and made the introduction between us. A while later, I asked Sharon if she might be interested in what I was working on. I described it, and she seemed excited to read it. Now fast forward a couple of months, and I have the book ready to read.

Our fourth daughter, Lola, was about to be born so I sent the manuscript off to Sharon and hoped for the best. I’m pretty pessimistic about everything.

I thought, “She won’t like it.”

She liked it.

I thought, “She won’t be able to find a home for it. No-one will want it.”

Well, you know the answer to that one.

Once she’d read Hope’s Peak, Sharon told me she’d like to take me on as her client and try to put the novel with a publisher. I said “Great!” and signed on the dotted line. Sharon did her own edits, little things here and there she’d noticed as she read the book through for the second time. Then she sent it out to a small group of publishers to gauge their reaction.

A few months went by, then word came back that they’d passed. A lot of them had positive things to say about the novel, and about my writing, but they weren’t taken by the story.

It’s natural to feel disappointed when this happens, but to be honest I wasn’t bothered. If there’s one thing that self-publishing does, it’s give you a thick skin. I didn’t take their reaction to the novel as a knock. Instead I looked at what they liked about it. Here’s some examples of the feedback we recieved:

“. . . let me say I liked the writing and I also enjoyed the small town setting.”

“The writing is nicely done and the plot is intriguing.”

“Clearly there is significant talent here. Healey is able to capture the Southern setting quite well.”

Sharon sent the book out again, this time to a second larger group of publishers. I knew that it would only take one publisher to take a liking to the book. Thomas & Mercer were the first to get back. I won’t divulge what the book deal means for me in terms of monetary value, but suffice to say that Sharon got me a very good advance for both Hope’s Peak and its sequel. It was only a matter of a few months waiting, from sending the novel to Sharon, to getting a book deal. But no matter how short the wait, it is agonising. You can’t help but email every now and then.

“Have we heard anything about the book?”

To Sharon’s credit, she’s very patient. She’s knows how to handle writers who are in limbo, and that’s part of what makes her a good agent, in my opinion. It doesn’t matter what question I fire her way, she’s always there with a response. That’s what you need when you’re biting your fingernails, waiting for something to happen – someone who will be honest with you, but understanding.

I’ve been very lucky. This is my first submission to an agent, and my first book on submission to publishers. I hit it on the first try, which is pretty good. But how many great novels bounce from one publisher to another, never finding any joy? How many J.K. Rowling’s are out there?

At the time of this writing, I have whatever edits are required on Hope’s Peak, and I have to write the sequel. I’ve got that plotted out already, and some of it written in bits and pieces. I have to deliver Book 2 by October, which is totally doable. To say I’m excited is an understatement. I can’t wait to get rolling with this series and just run with it. There are a lot of stories I want to tell with these two characters.

So, how can I help you get a book deal? Well, here are my tips. You can take them or leave them. They’re just what worked for me. As I think I’ve made pretty clear, there was a degree of luck in all of this. I think that’s true of anything in life. Without knowing Bernard, I wouldn’t have been introduced to Sharon. Without Sharon liking what I told her about the novel-in-progress, I wouldn’t be a client of Dystel & Goderich.

And remember, not all editors loved it. Jacque Ben-Zekry at Thomas & Mercer took a shine to the book and wanted to take it on – that’s one publisher out of many. There were many months of waiting, and asking, and wondering, before there was any kind of news.

I joined D&G as Sharon’s client in August 2015. I got my book deal in February 2016. So my first tip is:


  1. Be patient. That book deal isn’t going to happen over night. The best thing you can do, is leave your agent to work his or her magic, and keep on writing. It’s hard to put the fact you have a book out on submission to the back of your mind, but please try. In my case, I didn’t get a lot of writing done the latter half of last year, as we had our fourth child and my routine was thrown out of whack. That’s back to normal now, but I was thrown for a bit there leading up to Christmas. But my advice stands – sign that contract between yourself and your agent, and let them do their thing. Just check in every now and then to see how things are going.


  1. Let’s circle back. Before even sending your manuscript out, you need to ensure it’s been edited by another living being. Preferably proofed, too. That means another human being has read the book and picked up on any embarrassing errors. This book needs to be your best fucking work. I’m deadly serious. The best thing you’ve ever written. EVER. Pour your heart and soul into it. The prose needs to be tight, and flow, and above all it needs to be active. I can guarantee you that your passive-voiced, purple-prosed think piece is gonna get rejected straight away. Think of it like this – you’re selling your book to your agent, so that they can sell your book to a publisher, so that they can sell your book to a customer. If you don’t get that first sale, the game’s over. So you need to bring your A game. Eliminate weak words or turns of phrase. Cut back on the filtering. Get to the point and present the STORY, not your writing ability. That’s the key here. You’re selling your book, not YOU.


  1. Get into a solid routine with your writing. This means writing X amount of words a day, preferably 2,000. I do this five days a week, giving myself the weekends off. Do this for six weeks, you’ve got a 60,000 word novel. You need to be able to say to your agent, or a publisher, that you can get a project completed within a certain amount of time. The only way to do that is give yourself enough time to write each day. This is harder than it sounds – believe me, as the father of four little girls, I know this all too well – but you must do it anyway. And don’t be afraid to give yourself a break. Daydream. Lay in the bath and mull over the details of the plot. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been soaking in the tub and had that “Eureka!” moment. If you’re approaching an agent with your work, or thinking about it, then you’d better start treating your writing as a second job.


In short, GET SERIOUS about writing. PRESENT YOUR BEST WORK. Make that prose as solid as you can. Nobody is perfect, but there’s a lot you can do to make a good book even better, purely by tightening the prose. And BE PATIENT. This all takes time. Trust your agent to do what they do best, while you do what you do best – write.

An Update AND Free Books!

In case you missed it, my interview with STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS author ALAN DEAN FOSTER went live yesterday. Catch it HERE.

I have a number of free titles available this weekend. Have a browse through my catalog and see if any of them take your fancy. Find them at my Author Page.

Some of you are asking about Black Nova, still. It is coming. So is the sequel to Operation Chimera. So is the sequel to The Bloody North. So is the . . . you get my point. I am one man. I’m fast, but I ain’t THAT fast! Hahaha.

However, I’m doing my best. My latest novel, IN HER SKIN, is being read. I’m really pleased with it. No idea yet on what I’m doing with that one, so stay tuned.

Next up I am writing the first 6 parts of a new series, something a little different to Far From Home. It’s called COLONIAL WARS. I will have those 6 written by the end of August, and they will be out every couple of weeks over the summer. Here’s the cover to the first one:

Colonial Wars 1

To repeat, it is not connected to Far From Home in any way. Why am I writing these and not Black Nova? Because the story came alive for me, and I’ve learned that when that happens you have to go with the flow. I promise my readers will enjoy it. It’s a fresh spin on something I’ve been doing a little while. I wanted to tell the story of a war that was humanity v humanity, instead humans v aliens. I also wanted to follow several different characters, and have different plots intersecting with one another. That’s been really fun, and liberating. I do believe that the maximum I feel comfortable with (as a reader) is 3, so that’s what I’ve stuck with.

All 6 of these will be available on the Kindle for 99c, and will be FREE to Kindle to Amazon Prime users. At the end of the summer I will bring them all out in one package, so you have the choice of reading it as it develops, or waiting for the whole shebang.

I have projects tumbling from my ears right now, but I do intend on tackling my half of Operation Chimera 2 (that’s a working title, btw), and then writing the other 4 parts of Black Nova. As always, take care. I hope to do another update at the end of July, so you know where I am with Colonial Wars.

Trust me, you’re gonna like it.


Tony Healey’s Author Page

The Broken Stars Book 1 Cover Blank


This is not the first time that I’ve interviewed Mr. Foster. Click HERE to read one, and HERE to read the other. In those older interviews, Alan touches on not only his work in the Star Wars universe, but Star Trek too. We also discuss his experiences with the legendary Harlan Ellison.

Please be sure to Pre-Order your Kindle copy of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS by clicking HERE.

Well Alan, it’s been awhile since we last spoke. I understand you have a new Flinx & Pip novel called BY THE THROAT which will be released the year after next. How did that come about? Were there always plans to revisit such great characters?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: I wasn’t sure if I was going to let Flinx (and Pip) retire or not.  One problem was: what do you have your characters do after they’ve saved the galaxy?  Fans kept asking for more, and I didn’t quite know what to give them.  Then something occurred to me in re Flinx’s particular, peculiar abilities, and that combined with a method of communication that I love, and together they became the impetus for the new book.


For readers who maybe haven’t had a chance to read the Flinx & Pip books, what’s your suggested reading order?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: There is a chronology of the P&F books on my website The same chronology is also viewable within a chronology of all the Commonwealth books, so readers can see where the F&P books fit, time-wise, in relation to all the other Commonwealth novels and short stories.


I saw on your site they are all due to be released in ebook editions. Looking on Amazon, I noticed that some are available as ebooks and some aren’t. I assume this big re-release will finally see the entire series readily available as ebooks in its entirety?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: Yes.  That’s a major reason for the delay in publishing.  The intent is to release all the F&P books as ebooks over the course of one year, probably with several titles packaged together in a very affordable, uniform price, and to conclude the re-releasing with the new book.


I make sure to check your site the first of every month and have done for about twelve/thirteen years now. One of the things that always amazes me is how much you get about. You wrote an account of some of your travels, PREDATORS I HAVE KNOWN. Where have you got to recently?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: Due to progressive health issues, my wife can get out of the house only rarely.  I am her caregiver, so I haven’t been anywhere in a couple of years.  The last trip was to Dubai and Oman in 2013.


If you had access to unlimited funds, the means to go anywhere in the world, is there anywhere you’d like to visit that you might never get a chance to? I’m thinking locations that fall within the “I wish I could . . .” category.


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: Not anymore.  If you have the time, funds, and inclination, you can get anywhere on the surface of the planet, or under its waters.  Time and good health are more important than the funds.  If you’re not physically fit, spending a couple of weeks in a tent in the Amazon, for example, probably would not be a viable travel option.


Will you ever write another account of your travels? I’m sure your readers would love to learn more about your experiences across the globe. I would, at least. I’m sure you’ve found yourself in one or two amusing/alarming situations over the years . . .


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: A fan who read PREDATORS I HAVE KNOWN said, “Now you need to do the bunny edition”.  Meaning encounters with non-predators.  Or just a general travel book.  But there are so many of the latter, it’s hard to get inspired to do still another one.  On the other hand, there are tales of such things as eating barbecued cui in Peru, searching for birds-of-paradise in Papua New Guinea, getting ants out of a five-star hotel in Borneo, doing 140mph on the autobahn in a Ford station wagon, discussing Stalinist architecture in Russia…I suppose there is enough material.  It’s all a matter of organizing what are basically anecdotes into a book, and finding a publisher.


Do you manage to write much when you travel? Or do you treat it as much deserved downtime?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: A lot of it is being a sponge.  Soaking up material for future projects.  This includes everything from observing people to just noting your surroundings.  For example, I once wrote an entire travel article on the wrought iron work visible in St. Petersburg (Russia).  Not in any guidebooks.


There are several of your projects I’ve been following with great interest. One of those is MADRENGA. Will that be coming out in the near future?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: MADRENGA is still in search of a publisher.  But there are five other novels coming out.


I know you self-published your novella, BOX OF OXEN. Would you consider self-pubbing again?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER:  Sure.  It’s a great way to get out material (like BOX OF OXEN) that you as an author feel very strongly about, but that doesn’t fit comfortably into publishers’ niches.  Especially for material of an awkward length, like a short novella.


I’m excited to see another foray into original scifi with RELIQUARY, due in 2018. Can you tell us much about the novel, and what readers can expect?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER:  It’s about the (presumably) last human being in the galaxy, who has been raised by aliens.  More than that I’d rather not give away.


Open Road are publishing THE DEAVYS later this year – is it a departure from your other work, writing for a YA audience? Was that a conscious decision on your part, or did it just develop as YA fiction?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: It wasn’t a conscious decision.  The main characters just happened to be teens (and a cat).  Not like Flinx, who was always conceived as a teen.


The other project I am extremely pleased is going to make an appearance is OSHENERTH. Am I correct in saying it is a trilogy, with one of the volumes called Blue Magic? Or has that changed in the interim following your initial announcement?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: In the interim between writing and finding a publisher, another book with the title Blue Magic has appeared.  So that’s out as a title, even though I could use it.  At the moment, it’s just OSHENERTH.  It’s written as a stand-alone.  Right now, possible sequels/trilogy are only a glimmer on the water’s surface.


I know from reading your site that you have a busy life. Do you find much time for reading?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: For the past thirty years or so, my eyes have grown very bad for reading.  From a foot out, they’re fine, but close-in….  It’s very ironic, when you think of it.  Even reading with enlarged fonts and the correct prescription lenses gives me a headache after twenty minutes or so.  But I’ll rest, and then go back to the material I’m perusing.  I don’t have the time, either.  But I still delve into history and biography and science whenever I can manage it.


I remember some years ago you shared some shots of your writing space. How important is it that you have a stable environment in which to write? I know several writers who do the majority of their work in coffee shops. I could never do that. I’d be wondering if anyone was looking over my shoulder. Do you view writing as a solitary act?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: I’m always put in mind of the film THE FRONT PAGE, set in the world of ‘30’s newspaper work.  People writing amid the most incredible cacophony.  I could never do that.  I need quiet.  No music, no nothing. Sometimes I’ll put on heavy earphones to shut out every bit of surrounding noise.


Is there anything in the realm of writing fiction that you’ve not tried yet? Any genre or style you’d like to give a shot one day?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER:  I wrote a straightforward mystery, RAW ON THE ROW, set in my hometown of Prescott, AZ (no publisher yet).  It probably needs a do-over.  Other than that, I love writing articles on nature and (obviously) travel, but I don’t have the time to pursue the appropriate markets.  Or they’re not interested.  I have done a fair number of articles on scuba diving for assorted publications.  I also like writing poetry, but I’m not very good at it.


A writer friend of mine emailed the other day, and in the email he wondered if a writer can ever run out of ideas as he or she gets older. We were talking about projects, and he was saying how many different projects he has cooking at any one time. He sort of hoped that would always be the case. I’ve often pondered that notion myself. When you see writers hit their late seventies, early eighties, and they’re no longer putting out new work. Is that because they’re simply worn out, tired, ill . . . or do you think the well really does run dry one day?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: It depends entirely on the writer.  Look at Jack Williamson, still selling SF novels into his early 90’s.  Other writers get burned out early, and many just get tired of the time it takes out of what remains of their days.  It never gets easier.


Before we move on to the last part of this interview, I wouldn’t live with myself if I didn’t mention a pretty big project of yours out in December. That would be THE FORCE AWAKENS. I know you cannot say anything with regards to the story itself, but you’re in a uniquely privileged position in that you know the whole story. Have you seen any of the movie, or did you work from the screenplay alone in writing the novelisation?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: Just the screenplay, plus some concept art and production visuals.  I really wanted to have access to the latter so that if I describe something, or someone, in the book, it matches what actually appears on the screen.  You know how fans are.  If I give someone sideburns and in the film that character appears without them, it will give rise to 468 blog entries.


You adapted both Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness. I did hope you’d do the novelisation of THE FORCE AWAKENS, and was over the moon that that was the case. I understand Lucasfilm have AFTERMATH by Chuck Wendig coming out this winter, and that they’re really trying to ensure everything forms a cohesive whole in terms of canon. Did you have any contact with the Lucasfilm story group during the process of writing the novel?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: Yes.  I of course had to have some leeway, but the group certainly made their opinion(s) known.


It must seem a lifetime ago that you wrote STAR WARS and SPLINTER OF THE MIND’S EYE (I have a copy of both sitting on my shelf right now). How does it feel to be adapting Star Wars again? To quote a certain Dark Lord, is the circle now complete?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: Depending on one’s age, it was a lifetime ago.  And yet I can see the interior of the original Industrial Light & Magic warehouse, on Kester St. in Van Nuys, CA, with the Death Star run models out in the parking lot, as clearly as if it was yesterday. 

The circle will never be complete as long as fans continue to enjoy the Star Wars universe.


What is it, do you think, keeps people going back to Star Wars? Generation after generation, it seems to connect with people like no other property I can think of.


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: It reduces storytelling to enjoyable basics.  Good guys vs bad guys, with a few variants to keep things interesting.  Not unlike WWII tales.  You sit back and enjoy.  It’s cinematic/literary comfort food, like a good hamburger or grilled cheese sandwich.


When I think of the Star Wars universe, there’s infinite storytelling potential there. In my opinion the same could be said of your Commonwealth books. Would you welcome an adaptation of your stories? And I suppose the flip side of that question is, “Where do they begin?”


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: Commonwealth adaptations would have to begin with NOR CRYSTAL TEARS.  Which would be a story Hollywood has never really told; i.e., an entire film shot and told from the alien’s point-of-view.  As to the Flinx & Pip books, that’s a related matter, and those books have been under option for filming for several years now.


There is an art to novelisations, and I’ve read quite a few over the years. Some of those have been excellent. Some have been dire, just a word for word rehash of the screenplay. Yours are never like that. Whenever I read one of your novelisations, they seem to add to the original material. Often you find a new angle to scenes from the movie, and it really embellishes what is already there. In my opinion it’s what makes your work stand out. Is that a conscious choice on your part?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: My feeling is that if the reader doesn’t get a good deal of original material in a novelization, the publisher might as well print the screenplay and let it go at that.  When I do a novelization, I get to be the complete fan and do my own fuller version of the film; my own Director’s cut.  Every fan does that.


So to wrap this up, a little something I do from time to time. I am totally stealing from James Lipton here, so forgive me.

These are the classic ten questions from the French “Bouillon de Culture,” hosted by Bernard Pivot. I’d like you to answer with the first thing that comes to mind, as honestly as possible.

If you’d rather not answer a specific question, that’s fine too.


What is your favourite word?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: thersitical (In German, it’s “allgegenvartig”.  Eng. Translation: omnipresent)


What is your least favourite word?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: don’t have one.  They all work for me.


What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: great music, an unblemished night sky, drifting in clear water, the rainforest.


What turns you off?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: my tribe/nation is better than yours.  Bullies.  Brussels’ sprouts.


What is your favourite curse word?




What sound or noise do you love?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: waves on a beach.  Distant thunder.  My wife’s laugh.  Any bird.  Lions bellowing.  Cheetahs (or any cat) purring.  Pan pipes.  A grand orchestral crescendo.


What sound or noise do you hate?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: People in the film industry cursing because they think it makes them appear macho.  Any animal in distress.  Twelve country music songs in a row that all sound the same.


What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: Composer (classical).  Sculpture.  Travel guide (no, wait…I already do that).


What profession would you not like to do?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: Anything that requires sitting in a small office.


If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?


ALAN DEAN FOSTER: “Have you heard the one about the human race…?” or… “Sam Clemens was right.”

Everyone, you can find out more about Alan Dean Foster at his site, which is appropriately named Be sure to check there every month for updates, and have a look around. You’ll find pictures and video from his numerous trips around the world, and a wealth of other information concerning his many series and media tie-ins. Of all the authors I have had contact with over the years, Alan is by far the most gracious and humble. You can drop him a line via the message board on his site, by email, or tweet him at @thranx1


Tony Healey’s Author Page

The Broken Stars Book 1 Cover Blank

Age of Destiny + Operation Chimera are out tomorrow!

Both Age of Destiny and Operation Chimera are out tomorrow. Just a reminder that you can pre-order both of them for the bargain price of 99c!

So … what are you waiting for?

AND don’t forget the prize I’m offering to the first person who reads and reviews EITHER of those titles. I will edit that person’s work (upto 10,000 words) and make them a cover FOR FREE. For more information, see Friday’s post.


On Monday the 20th of October my YA Scifi novel Age of Destiny is OUT! But wait, there’s more. Operation Chimera, the novel I wrote with Matt Cox, published by Curiosity Quills Press, is also out! Both titles are available to pre-order for 99c each, so what are you waiting for?


Order Age of Destiny (The Broken Stars, Book 1)

The Broken Stars Book 1 Cover Blank

Order Operation Chimera (Far From Home)



Advice for Independent Authors: The Pros and Cons of Serializing

A while back I posted about the pros and cons of serializing. You can read that by clicking the link. If you’re an independent author, you should have a stab at a serial. They’re not only good fun to write, but a GREAT way of building an audience.


On Monday the 20th of October my YA Scifi novel Age of Destiny is OUT! But wait, there’s more. Operation Chimera, the novel I wrote with Matt Cox, published by Curiosity Quills Press, is also out! Both titles are available to pre-order for 99c each, so what are you waiting for?


Order Age of Destiny (The Broken Stars, Book 1)

The Broken Stars Book 1 Cover Blank

Order Operation Chimera (Far From Home)