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Oh boy. I can already tell this is going to be one of those emails.

You know, the ones where I just leap out of the bushes to "quickly" tell you something important (something like "Headcase will be out on November 29, please preorder it") but then realise it's been so long since you last heard from me that I actually have quite a lot to cover, and next thing you know, I've written a novel in your inbox (and, because of that, I haven't written a novel in my publisher's inbox).

Did that make sense? No, don't read back over it. Let's just both assume that it did, and move on to Important Thing One:

Headcase will be out on November 29, please preorder it!


Your favourite cannibal (possibly the only one you know?) is back! This time, Timothy "Hangman" Blake has been dispatched by the CIA to investigate reports of an astronaut falling from of the sky and crash-landing in the middle of a NASA training facility. If you know anything about astrophysics, statistics or American intelligence bureaucracy, you'll know precisely none of that seems possible. Lucky there's a troubled genius on the case, and he'll get right to it, as soon as he's managed to get his grubby hands—well, hand—on the body.

The November 29 release date is for the print edition in Australia. Ebook and New Zealand editions will follow soon after. No confirmation yet of an audio or North American version—when I know, you'll know (but several months later, because apparently that's how long it takes me to get around to writing an email these days).

If you're planning to buy Headcase, please preorder it! (Preorder sales are more valuable than regular sales, for reasons I don't have time to get into and also don't completely understand.) I encourage you to do it via your local bookshop, but if you don't have one, you can also do it online.

If you're among the first 100 people to preorder it, I have a special treat for you! Reply to this email with a photo or screenshot of the receipt and I'll send you a digital bundle which includes some stuff you might have seen before (the Hideout card game, the Hideout activity book and the Timothy Blake story entitled Scrap) and also something you definitely haven't seen before (a short story adapted from a deleted scene in Headcase).

I don't usually share deleted scenes, because there's always a reason they got deleted. But in this case, the reason was "it seems more like a standalone short story than part of the book" so I figure it's OK. Give me about a week to send it through, though!

Onto Important Thing Two:

Great news for readers, bad news for husbands.

I've been cooking up something with my friends at Audible. It's called Kill Your Husband, and it's a sequel to my Ned Kelly shortlisted novel Kill Your Brother. Now, if you listened to read Kill Your Brother, you might be wondering how (and why) I would write a sequel, given that most of the characters have already died gruesome deaths. The short answer is "lots of new characters!" but it's too soon to tell you much more than that. It should be hitting your headphones some time mid next year.

And if you haven't listened to Kill Your Brother yet, there's no time like the present!

What else is happening?

So much! Here's a quick overview of the other stuff I'm working on:
  • 300 Minutes of Mystery
  • A young adult crime thriller
  • A middle grade spy series
  • A futuristic military thriller
  • And I'm sure I'm forgetting something. (Apologies, if you happen to be the publisher of the thing/s I've forgotten about.)

OK, that's the business part of the email done.

I've just been on an amazing tour for Children's Book Week. Over the last three months, I've been to Young, Tamworth, the Gold Coast, Mackay, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. You'll notice that three months is longer than a week, which may surprise some readers who think that book week is just a one-day costume parade. (Though technically, only the last four cities were part of my official book week tour—the point is I've been travelling a lot.) It was exhausting, but it was great. I didn't get COVID, I didn't get stranded anywhere, none of the events got cancelled, and before it starts sounding like I have a low bar for "great", let me add that it seemed like the kids all had lots of fun and left each session even more excited about reading and writing.

Actually, if you know one of those kids (or if you are one) can you send me an email to say so? The other day on Twitter I got in an argument with someone about whether book week was good for literacy or not. The answer seemed obvious to me, but when I said so, I was told that I was an arrogant and entitled white man. (That's how people talk on Twitter.) So if you've seen one of my presentations, no matter how many years ago, and it inspired you to pick up a book, please let me know. It would be nice to have some reassurance that sixteen years of touring hasn't been a total waste.

Having said that, I'm going to be doing much less touring next year (you saw the list of all the books I'm working on, right?) so I hope you don't mind meeting me in Canberra or over video chat. I'm trying to find a way to keep promoting literacy for children without missing out the lives of my own kids.

Oh yeah! Attention writers.

Westwords invited me to be their blogger-in-residence for the month of July, and I wrote fifteen posts for them about the writing life. Strangely, the less I thought about each post before I wrote it, the better it turned out to be. Some of my favourites are the ones where I just started typing with no idea what the post would eventually be about. If you're a writer, especially a young writer, and/or you're interested in my process, you can check out all my posts (for free) here.

OK, this email is now more than a thousand words long.

(But it only took me an hour! How come I can't do that with fiction?!) So it's probably time to let you get back to your day. Let me leave you with a short story I wrote this morning, in seven minutes, during a workshop at Radford College in Canberra:
OK, now I really have to go. Thanks for reading (in general, and also specifically). I'll be back "soon" with another "quick" email.
Copyright © 2022 Jack Heath, All rights reserved.

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