Novelist signs three-book deal for gold sovereign

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In 1833, Captain Marryat, author of Children of the New Forest, Mr Midshipman Easy and many others, a contemporary of Charles Dickens, vowed he would keep the first gold sovereign he earned from the book he was writing.

Now, his great-great-great-grandson, Jeff Richards, writing as Jo Marryat, has signed a three-book deal with TicketyBoo Press for an advance of one gold sovereign, to commemorate the event.

Marryat’s father Joseph was MP for Horsham from 1808-1812.

Gary Compton of TicketyBoo Press said: “As a small press, we’re not yet able to offer big advances, but we make up for that by giving above industry-standard commissions for ebooks and paperbacks.

“I’d heard the story of Captain Marryat’s sovereign from Jeff’s wife, and was delighted to surprise him by signing the three-book Heartfire series for a 2014 gold sovereign advance.”

Indigo Heartfire, the first in Jeff’s series, is a whimsical love story, which gives humorous glimpses into the difficulties of starting over. An easy-to-read romantic fantasy, it covers the difficulties of grieving with a sympathetic but light touch.

Jeff Richards grew up in Burgess Hill, winning a county scholarship to Christ’s Hospital, and he has lived and worked in West Sussex all his life.

He first wrote Indigo Heartfire in 1991, as a feature-length film script, and it was later optioned by a Bafta-nominated film producer, as well as an independent film company, undergoing five years of development in all. But, in the best traditions of storytelling, it was consigned to a drawer when all the avenues had been exhausted, and languished there for 15 years, before surfacing as a novel.

Writers often say ‘write what you know about’, so setting it in an alternative medicine clinic was easy, as Jeff has been an Osteopath in Crawley since 1985. His passion for writing kept him busy and he even managed to complete an MA in Creative and Critical Writing at Sussex University in 2011. This is his first novel.

Indigo Heartfire is available now on Amazon as an ebook, and directly from the Publisher’s website. Emerald Heartfire, the second in the series will be available in March 2015, and the final book in the series will appear in Autumn 2015.