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Hal Spacejock History - Part Four

The Hal Spacejock series has done pretty well for itself over the years, after eventually landing with a trade publisher. One title become a national bestseller, another made the shortlist for Australia's top spec fic awards (both the Aurealis and the Ditmar), and yet another went through three printings. However, it wasn't always sunshine and roses, and I've typed up this history to give you some idea of the frustration and heartbreak involved in writing an ongoing series ... and trying to get it published in the first place!


This is Part Four. Read the previous part here)

I was writing Hal Spacejock 4 when Fremantle Press offered me a contract for the first three books. So, I set Hal 4 aside to rewrite the others. From 2004 to 2007 I did little more than edit the first three books ... apart from doing two lots of NanoWrimo, that is. I also had two jobs at the time.

In April 2007, not long after the release of Hal Spacejock Just Desserts, I got the go-ahead for Hal 4. At that stage I had 80,000 words of disjointed scenes featuring assorted ideas, characters and locations. So, I sat down to write a plot outline out of the mess, and two weeks later sent it to my editor.

After some back-and-forth I had a workable outline ... but it was nothing like the book I'd already written. So, I pretty much started from scratch, and in September 2007 I handed in the 102,000 word first draft.

Hal4Drafts.jpg
Relax, that's at least nine drafts. The one I handed in has the red tabs.


Feedback was swift, and I worked through September and the beginning of October to address my editor's concerns and also to strip the book back to approx 90,000 words. Then I sent it to a dozen first readers, who came back with more suggestions and feedback. Finally, mid-October, I sent the finished version to my editor.

Hal Spacejock No Free Lunch covers

Fremantle Press commissioned this cover from Dion Hamill. I had some input, but unfortunately not in time to submit my request for a digital readout on the laser-guided shovel ... Hal4Facp_160.jpg

A temporary image for the Bowman Press ebook release:

Hal Spacejock No Free Lunch
An updated temporary image for the Bowman Press ebook release:

Hal Spacejock No Free Lunch

Next up, part five