British author and French resident Peter May
has won France's biggest readers' prize - the 2011 CEZAM Prix Litteraire Inter-CE
- for his book, "The Blackhouse"... a book that nearly
Finally it drops onto the doormat one morning, the familiar publishers
logo loud on the dun coloured envelope.
With a rush of adrenalin, you grab it, take it to the kitchen
just stare at it for a beat. With rising anticipation
you tear the envelope open and then
even as you unfold the
letter, you realise with a plunging, heart sinking sensation,
that there aren't enough words to spell success. You've failed
and the scant two lines are stark proof that, again, you are being
thanked for submitting your cherished manuscript, but, "on
this occasion" an option would not be taken to publish.
Dreams of fame and fortune dashed.
It takes weeks to get over the feeling of failure and you cannot
bear to even touch the, now despised, manuscript to try to figure
out why your much crafted, much slaved over, much loved story
would not, after all stare down at the smug you, from the Best
Seller shelves of WH Smith.
Everyone (except perhaps Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling), who has
ever believed that old maxim that "everyone has at least
one book in them" and has acted upon it, probably knows that
feeling of rejection. It is part of the rights of passage of becoming
a published writer. At least, that is what established writers
Except, perhaps, Peter May.
An established writer of no small fame, (The China Thrillers,
The Enzo Series), the last thing he expected when submitting his
latest manuscript, was for it to be rejected.
May was devastated and dumped his seemingly despised never to
be published book in a drawer, where it languished (not forgotten
- oh no) for five long years, whilst he forced himself to concentrate
on other work for his American and French publishers.
"I knew, deep down inside, that it was the best book
I had ever written
I was devestated"
It was only because of a throwaway remark to his French publisher,
about how "the best book I had ever written" had been
rejected by UK publishers and his US agent, that led to him dusting
off his manuscript for her to read.
His astute French publishers snapped up the world rights to the
a highly unusual scenario, of
a book written in English, being first published in French!
The rest, as they say, is history, with the 'British Publisher
of the Year', Quercus (The Millenium Trilogy, Stigg Larsson),
encouraging May to take the theme and run with it, turning it
too, into a trilogy.
So next time you try and fail to get your book published, don't
After all, rejection can and does happen to the best as well.
The Blackhouse, Peter May
- 1st Book in the Lewis Trilogy -
click the image to view a synopsis
"The Blackhouse" entered the UK hardback top twenty
at the beginning of 2011 and on publication as a paperback in
September, it immediately entered the UK paperback charts, where
it remains as we go to press. The second in the trilogy, "The
Lewis Man" is now published in hardback: The
Lewis Man (Part 2 of the Lewis Trilogy)
Peter May has won France's biggest readers' prize for his book,
"The Blackhouse" (published as: L'Ile des Chasseurs
d'Oiseaux, in France)
In a decision taken by 3551 jurors from all walks of life all
over France, the Scotsman beat off competition from a shortlist
of ten European authors to lift the French national book award,
the 2011 CEZAM Prix Litteraire Inter-CE
1st in Trilogy
2nd in Trilogy
Order your copy - click the image above
Order your copy -
click the image above
"400 pages of pitch-perfect dialogue and creepy,