My second novel The Half-Child is probably my personal favourite of my books, so it’s always a particular source of delight when it rates a mention on the internet and/or in real life. The book was published in 2010, making this particular ‘baby’ an unbelievable eight years old. Despite receiving good reviews at the time and being shortlisted for the 2011 Ned Kelly Award for Best Fiction, The Half-Child did not sell as well as my other novels, due largely to the timing: 2010 was the year the book was declared ‘dead’ and, with it, publishing as we know it. Although reports of these deaths turned out to have been greatly exaggerated (to paraphrase a misquoted Mark Twain), a general slump in the sale of books (and rights) in 2010 affected many titles released that year, The Half-Child just one of them.
So I was rapt to see The Half-Child mentioned in a recent blog post, Expat Crime Fiction in Bangkok: Recommended Reads, on the Expat Focus website — especially to have it mentioned alongside John Burdett’s Bangkok 8 and Timothy Hallinan’s The Queen of Patpong, two novels I greatly admire. In addition to the Expat Focus site, Margot Kinberg also referred to The Half-Child in a recent post about kinship in crime fiction on her wonderful blog, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist (I’m always grateful for Margot’s periodic mentions of my novels). And last weekend, I had the great pleasure of being a guest at the Batlow Book Festival, where one of the organisers, award winning author and dear friend Sulari Gentill, paid me the great compliment of describing The Half-Child as one of her favourite books. In public. In front of a crowd. (In the above photo, The Half-Child comprises the roof of a house, part of the brilliant decorations illustrating the Batlow Book Festival theme, ‘Doors to Other Worlds’).
I’m grateful to all involved in re-birthing The Half-Child.