Wednesday, 31 July 2013

K is for the ‘K’ in Afrika

My original title for the book was The Afrika Reich with a K. However, when I came to submit it to publishers, and experience teaching me they are a conservative bunch, I decided to change to the anglicised spelling – Africa Reich – for fear of putting them off at the very first page.

I’ve written elsewhere about the travails of finding a publisher for the book. You can read a fuller account here (complete with dodgy photo!), but to summarise: My agent submitted the book on a wave of enthusiasm; he felt sure we would find a publisher quickly. However, no sooner had it been submitted than the rejections started coming in. The general gist was that although editors liked the book, they didn’t think it would have much commercial appeal. The marketing departments scratched their heads at how they would sell it. The fact that Fatherland had sold several million copies failed to persuade them.

In total fifteen publishers rejected Afrika Reich, leaving me waiting on the last two. I could see no reason why their response would be different, so I resigned myself to the fact that the book would not get commissioned.

Then, within forty-eight hours, those final two publishers said yes and the book went to auction! Hodder & Stoughton eventually won and after the contracts had been signed, one of the first things my editor asked was whether we could change the title. I assumed he’d opt for something like SS-Africa, but actually all he wanted was a minor tweak. Would I consider changing the C to a K?

I knew I had found the right publisher.

K is also for Kepplar

Several readers have pointed out that in Chapter 37, when Hochburg’s helicopter takes off, there’s no sign of Kepplar’s pyre or body. They wonder if it’s a mistake. Some people have framed it with a question: is Kepplar actually dead? That’s perceptive, though you’ll have to wait till Book 2 to find out...