BLOG Tuesday 25 August

Shooting for the big prizes -- an ambitious soccer novel by Chris Calder

Harry Stoller has been sacked as manager of a Berkshire football team, his wife is threatening to leave him and he has no prospect of another job in England. To his surprise, a friend arranges for him to apply for a team manager's job in Songola, West Africa. Is this the dream of a lifetime or an instant nightmare? Meet Harry in the extract from Over the Moon 'Arry, below.

Latest Extract
Over the Moon 'Arry ~ Chris Calder ~ France

On an upper floor they were let into the thickly carpeted lobby of the suite occupied by the Songolese party. The door was opened to them by a short, middle-aged, barrel-chested man wearing smart casual trousers and a leather jacket. The man smiled and inclined his head. “Come in, come in,” he said, stepping to one side. Eddie entered, followed by Harry. The man said, “I’m Henry Kotoru, the minister’s deputy. Call me Henry.”

“Eddie Talbot,” Eddie replied, taking the deputy minister’s extended hand.

Kotoru looked up at Harry. “You must be the famous Mr Stoller.”

Harry shook his hand. “It’s Harry. Nice to meet you, but I’m not so sure I’m all that famous.”

“Nonsense, everybody in Songola knows about you, Harry. Come, they’re waiting for us.”

The Mentor’s Critique
Over the Moon 'Arry ~ Chris Calder

Chris, in my recollection, this is the first time I’ve assessed a work of fiction based on a sport. I have, however, worked with many sports biographies, and I believe the must-haves in a good book of this kind, whether fiction or non-fiction, are similar. As a reader, first you want a story that keeps you turning the pages; then characters you want to spend time with. Another essential: the reader has to feel that he or she is getting personal insight into that particular sport, and learning something not to be found elsewhere.

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What can FLM do for you?
In a fresh phase of my long career as both publisher and
published novelist, I turned to writing full-time in 2014. 
And I found that I missed assessing brand-new fiction.
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