Book One/Two Episode 6: Distress TV Signals (See What I Did There?)

Does anyone have a time machine? I’m after one with a pause button, because Distress Signals comes out in 7 days and I am in no way prepared for it.

Nor am I prepared for my university exams, which start in 6 days and are ruining all my fun.

(Well, not all of it. But still. Boo.)


Quick recap paragraph: This all started back in October 2014 when I signed with my agent, Jane Gregory. (It actually goes back even further than that but, hey, we only have a paragraph.) Then in March 2015 I got a book deal, although I couldn’t tell people about it until last May. Then we had various milestones along the way: Proper Author headshot, cover reveal, proof copies arriving and a preview in The Bookseller. Before all that fun stuff I wrote several drafts and suffered through being on submission. In the last episode, I gazed adoringly at the finished book and revealed that later this year, Distress Signals will be published in the U.S. You can catch up with all Book One/Two posts here.

So what do I have today, besides fear, anxiety and at times, abject terror? Well, I have some news…


The big news is that… Distress Signals has been optioned for TV by Jet Stone Media! They’re hoping to make it into a mini-series. One of the 50 TV and film projects they’ve already backed just happens to be my favourite TV show so far this year whose finale airs tonight (so excited for that), Line of Duty Series 3. You can read more about this on The Bookseller.

This is an area of the business that’s completely new to me, and it turns out it’s a lot more complicated than a straightforward book contract. What does ‘optioned’ even mean? Technically Jet Stone now have the exclusive rights to develop the book for TV and a set amount of time in which they can do that. The author gets paid one sum for the option and then another sum if and when the project gets made.

I’ll keep you posted.

(Also, this actually happened last November. Aren’t you proud of me for sitting on this news until now?!)


University exams start and the book comes out next week, I’m having two launch parties (greedy, I know), I’m booked for a few festivals over the summer and there’s my second book to work on, so these last two or three weeks have kind of been the calm before the storm. After flying to London to attend the Atlantic author party the night before London Book Fair began, I decided to sneak away for a few days to my favourite place, Paris.


I thought Paris was the ideal place to go to take a breath and try to take this all in, because it’s a city essentially designed to please coffee-drinkers and book-lovers, and you can follow Hemingway around. (He knew all the best places). It’s also a place of personal importance to me – I feel like it recharges my soul.


Back in my early twenties I was feeling a bit lost, knowing I wasn’t where I wanted to be but also having no clue how to get where I hoped to go. In a particularly raw moment, I convinced my family to let me tag along on their week’s holiday to Paris and I subsequently spent a spectacularly sunny August day strolling around the city by myself. Early in the morning I started at the Arc de Triomphe end of the Champs-Élysées and walked towards the Louvre. When I emerged onto Place du la Concorde – which I don’t think I’d seen before – I had a little ‘moment’. It was so beautiful, and I felt so happy, and for some reason, I also suddenly knew that everything was going to be okay. That, somehow, I was going to end up where I wanted to go. That same holiday is where I got the idea to apply to be a campsite courier, which I did soon after I got home. They offered me a better job in the Netherlands, and that led me to working in Walt Disney World, which led to Mousetrapped, which – insert numerous other links in this chain of events – led to Distress Signals being out next week. Basically, I have Paris to thank for all this.

I also found the steps where Owen Wilson waits in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, but tragically no one came to drive me back to the 1920s to talk books with Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Zelda.

I also found the steps where Owen Wilson waits in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, but tragically no one came to drive me back to the 1920s to talk books with Ernest, Scott and Zelda.


When I got home, my author copies were waiting for me. I emptied a bookshelf of boring college books and started playing with them.




I was warned by friends of mine who’ve been published recently that after the months and months of doing nothing much but waiting, waiting, waiting, things would suddenly kick off in the weeks before launch and it’d be all go. So, so true. There is suddenly SO much to do: guest posts, Q&As, interviews, features for newspapers and magazines and photos for them too, launches to prepare for (I’ve to make a speech and I’ve no clue what I’m going to say), hair to get done (I’ve been blonde-ed as of this morning) and industrial-strength shapewear to test (because I don’t want to faint from compression in the middle of the aforementioned speech). And four exams to prep for. And a second book to finish.

But this is what I wanted, so I’m trying to calm down, slow down and enjoy it while I can.


I am so, so nervous about the book coming out. This is what I’ve wanted to do since I was eight years old, and I’d love to keep doing it for as long as possible. So what will I do if people don’t buy the book, or buy it but don’t like it enough to ever want to read me again? Everyone’s like, “Oh, it’ll be fine!” but how do they know? They don’t! We’re all just hoping it will go well, because we don’t really know what the typical reader will think of Distress Signals yet.

Which is why I was stunned, delighted, thrilled and (a little bit!) reassured to read my first three reviews, from Crime Fiction Lover, A Crime Reader’s Blog and Cleopatra Loves Books. They were all so lovely, and so on point re: what I was trying to do with this book and what I hope it is for the reader. (And everyone wants to know what the last two words in Distress Signals are now… I love it!) So thank you so much, lovely reviewers.

And: phew!

Distress Signals is out a week from today. (Have I mentioned that…?) You can start reading it now.

Bloggers: if you responded to Can you help me launch Distress Signals? and replied to my follow up email, you should’ve received your content from me by now. If you haven’t, you can email info[at] Thank you!

11 thoughts on “Book One/Two Episode 6: Distress TV Signals (See What I Did There?)

  1. Mary says:

    Congratulations! X100. Your book optioned for TV, magnificant. And by the same company that backed Line of Duty, a great show, I’m looking forward to the last episode myself.

    I can only imagine how exicted you feel with all this success. May it continue and grow. 🙂 Fingers crossed for next week.

  2. MarinaSofia says:

    I’ve pre-ordered it and am nearly as excited about it as you are. I can’t believe that it’s finally out, after reading all your self-flagellating posts about procrastination and not getting enough writing done and all that! Good luck with your exams too – could hardly have been worse timing!

  3. hilarycustancegreen says:

    I’m thrilled to pieces for you over the TV option, I hope it comes off. And wow, I though I had my work cut out with, in my case, also two launch parties, two versions of the same book (one published and one unabridged and privately printed) and some terrifying talks lined up… but University exams as well?

  4. Sarah Potter Writes says:

    That’s fantastic about the film option. This is one of my owns dreams, so it’s an inspiration to know it happens. Wow, you are a busy person with doing your Uni exams at the same time as a book launch, and have time to get your hair blonded. Good luck with it all.

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