Posted 20 hours ago

DIVE a totally gripping, breathlessly twisty crime mystery

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Working with an editor wasn’t as painful as it could have been though, and I put that down to working with script editors in the past. They were well-rounded and nuanced, and didn’t easily fall into the stereotypical ‘cop’ characters that often populate this kind of fiction. This fourth blog examines harsh realities, the difficult and endlessly frustrating process of bringing the book to publication, and why the publishing deal is no longer in force.

It was incredibly exciting to have a story to tell that (to the best of my knowledge) has never been viewed through the lens of a police diver. It was longlisted for the Bruntwood Prize, and reached the top 26% for BBC Drama Room submissions, which saw nearly 4,718 applications. I graduated in 2011 when there were no jobs to be had thanks to the aftershock of the financial crisis. It’s true that the cost benefit of staying silent did not outweigh the novel’s inherent value, but of course, that was not the compass my collaborators were using.This is a really good tale that brings out the toughest jobs in the police service and makes the people real. As for the practices themselves, most were justified by jargon and industry speak, the language of which was alien to me when I first took tentative steps into the world of publishing.

Then a briefcase is discovered in the same stretch of water where the dead girls were found, and suddenly the higher-ups at CID, including Naomi’s rival, Detective Chief Inspector Shannon Baines, start showing an interest. Tension and suspense drives the narrative, so it’s much more reliant on the rhythms of set pieces and repeated jeopardy.However, in Jon Barton’s Dive, I found myself surprised continually throughout the book at both the turns of the plot and the actions of the characters, and not a hint of cheese. I did speak to many commercial divers, and some of the old guard from the marine police consulted me informally. If you’d like to learn more, I took part in Diary of a Debut Novelist, run by the brilliant Emma Christie.

Another element I enjoyed was the way tension is built throughout, both through the use of a dual narrative and through plotting. His debut novel Dive(the first of a trilogy) is out on 14 January with independent publisher Joffe Books. But there were also definitely things I fought tooth and nail for and I honestly can’t say why, except the sense of having one shot to get the book right. What’s true is you can explore the characters mindset and psyche on the page, and it’s very liberating to do that. I sought a clear sense of the cover design six months in advance, the better to begin the thornier work of mentioning the book in other professional matters.This is a really good tale that brings out the toughest jobs in the police service and makes the people real. The series will follow Metropolitan Police diver David Cade as he uncovers the secrets of The River Thames. I’ve since spoken quietly to other authors about this to prove to myself I wasn’t acting out of turn. To put that into perspective, that’s the same as 13 months, or 416 days, or a serious tele binge, if you watched the entirety of Game of Thrones 145 times - all 70 hours and 14 minutes of it. The agreement was for Dive to be published in any format in the English language (as opposed to world-all rights, an important distinction I have since learned).

Serving police officers in the marine police were not always at liberty to dispense information as so much of their job is reactionary – they were often asked to look for evidence pertinent to cases in progress. Dive is a novel inextricably tied to mental health in men, seen through the eyes of the male character. His plays have toured the UK and played at London venues including Almeida and Old Vic, and his TV credits include episodes of Holby City. I’m under no illusion, that the problems I encountered are indicative of wider problems in the publishing industry. The dead girls all have the same nightclub stamp on the backs of their hands — the same one David's daughter had the day she disappeared.Jon works freelance as a reader and editor for TLC, BFI, and independent production companies with a focus on genre-led storytelling. So the first and last questions I ask are: what kind of experience do you want both sets of readers to have? If you’d like to know more, I took part in Diary of a Debut Novelist, run by the brilliant Emma Christie.

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