About Jo Calman
I became a writer in March 2020 on the M6 in Cheshire. I had just been to a mediation seminar in Preston on what was to become the eve of Lockdown 1. Boris decreed the pubs must shut, and the curry shops and the hotels: Preston complied, and I left. Heading south the next day I listened to the radio news and knew that face-to-face mediation was dead, as was consultancy and anything else that I dabbled with to pass the time. So, somewhere near Lymm Services the decision was made.
I drafted ‘A Transfer of Power’ and tried it out on an unsuspecting audience in Sussex. The reception was overwhelmingly good, even though the first draft had some way to go. The ‘Kelso, Dunn and Ferdinand’ series had begun. Since then, there have been two more novels in the series, and more will follow.
At the same time, I have been working on an interesting collaboration: a novel based on a true story. This has been a very different kind of project, and the result is a very different kind of book. More to follow.
Coming to the literary life somewhat late has been both an amazing joy and a frustration. Conventional routes to the mainstream bookshops is closed to most authors, unless they happen to have the essential literary qualification of being on daytime TV quite a lot. Last September over 700 titles were published simultaneously for the Christmas buying period. Half of these were scheduled for publication in time for the summer holidays, which as we know didn’t happen. It was heart-breaking to hear authors who had been lucky enough to find a publisher for their debut novel only to have to wait two years to see it sink into oblivion. Of the 700 published maybe 10% get high-profile reviews, and only 20% will get any shelf space in the shops. That’s why I decided to take my chances with the Kelso, Dunn and Ferdinand series alongside all the others on purely on-line or e-book sales. I haven’t been disappointed, but more will always be nice.
Anyone thinking of taking up writing really should do it, but I urge you to hang on to your day job, at least for a while.
Jo Calman, May 2021