BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Difficult Third Book: A Guest Post by Steve McHugh

Today I am welcoming back urban fantasy author Steve McHugh. His next book in the Hellequin Chronicle series, "With Silent Screams", releases tomorrow, the 18th. The Hellequin books are a blend of urban fantasy, mythology (and not just Greco-Roman or British Isles), and mystery. So far, I've read one book and one short story and I really enjoyed them. 

Steve’s been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up ‘One boy and his frog’ was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn’t for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel that was publishable, the results of which was the action-packed Urban Fantasy, Crimes Against Magic.

Steve McHugh lives in Southampton on the south coast of England with his wife and three young daughters. When not writing or spending time with his kids, he enjoys watching movies, reading books and comics, and playing video games.



The Difficult Third Book

There’s an idea that it’s the second book which is the most difficult. Much like the difficult second album, the second book is meant to be the one that solidifies you as someone to watch. Someone who is going to grow and get better throughout their career. You’re meant to be nervous about its publication.

I wasn’t nervous, or concerned or anything other than wanting to get the book out. You see I self-published Crimes Against Magic back in April 2012 and it did okay. It didn’t set the world alight, but then I never assumed it would. As a first time, self-pubbed author, I was unknown and unproven and thus incredibly happy with the results.

Book 2, Born of Hatred, came out in Dec 2012. Once again I wasn’t really nervous or concerned that it wouldn’t be liked, I wrote the story I wanted to tell and people would like it or they wouldn’t. Then something weird happened. It did really, really well. So well, in fact, that I got an offer for a 3 book deal from 47North in Feb 2013.

47North re-launched books 1 and 2 in September 2013 and they both did very well once again. I hit the number 1 spot in 4 genres in several countries and managed to get in the top 100 best selling books in UK, Canada and USA. I was, and still am, a happy man.

By the time the books had been re-released I’d finished book 3 and was quite content with it. But as the launch date of 18th Feb edged ever closer something dawned on me: what if people don’t like it?

It was a feeling I had when publishing both books 1 and 2, but for book 1 there were no expectations and book 2 was written so quickly after book 1 that there wasn’t time to really consider the idea that people might be waiting for it with their own expectations. Now I’ve had time to think about it, time to stew the idea that people have gained a measure of enjoyment from the previous books and expect the same, if not more, from book 3. People have told me that they’re looking forward to reading it, that they are, in some cases, exceptionally excited about the possibility of reading the insane ramblings in my head.

This was all new territory for me. People have e-mailed me in the past and said they liked my work, but the books were already out by then and book 3’s launch felt such a long way off. Now it’s happened. The book is out there, being read.

Fortunately, after talking to a few writer friends of mine, I came to the conclusion that all you can do is write what makes you happy. If you’re happy with the book, the chances are others will be too.

I’m still nervous about book 3. For one thing it’s the first book where I have a publisher to impress, as well as readers. But instead of worrying about how it’s be received, I’ve decided to get on with book 4. Because if there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to keep you busy, it’s writing another book. That way I have a whole new story to worry myself about.


His name is Nathan Garrett, but he’s also known as Hellequin. And murdering one of his friends and trying to blow him up is a good way to get this centuries-old sorcerer’s full attention…

An old friend’s dead body, a cryptic note, and an explosion that almost costs him his own life propel Nate headfirst into a mystery involving a new threat from an old foe. Now he must piece together the connections between a grisly series of tattooed murder victims, an imprisoned madman, a mysterious alchemist, and a deranged plot to usurp the throne of the hidden realm of Shadow Falls, rival to the power of Avalon.

Can Nate avert the coming slaughter, or will he become the latest to fall in this clandestine war?

With the story careening between modern-day New York and Ontario and 1977 Maine, With Silent Screams continues the gritty and action-packed mix of urban fantasy and ancient mythology that mark Steve McHugh’s popular Hellequin Chronicles.

Publisher: 47North
Format: ebook, papaerback, audio
Series: Hellequin Chronicles #3
Release Date: February 18, 2014
Buying Link: Amazon*
* affiliate link; the blog receives a small commission for each purchase made through this link


  1. Thanks very much for letting me steal your blog for the day!

  2. Good luck to you, Steve! I think books three and four will do just fine.


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