Monday, December 21, 2009

Article for Writers and Artists website

Here's an article I had published a little while ago on the Writers and Artists website.

From blog to book deal
October 26, 2009 by Writers, Artists and Insiders

Back in 2007 I had been practising as a barrister for some nine years when I started writing a blog about a fictional young trainee barrister who I called BabyBarista, a play on words based on his first impression being that his coffee-making skills were probably as important to that year as any forensic legal abilities he may have.
One of the most satisfying things I found about blogging was the immediacy of the publishing process. You think it up, type it out on your keyboard and then publish. It also allows the writer in many ways to busk or play around with ideas and see how they work.

It’s a strange thing to say but I discovered that this bold, irreverent and mischievous voice along with a collection of colourful characters had simply jumped into my head and the words started pouring on to the page. I was hopeful it might raise a few smiles, but in my wildest dreams I hadn’t imagined quite the extraordinary set of circumstances which then unfolded.

First it received a glowing comment in a legal magazine and off the back of that I emailed a few publishers and started getting interest as well as taking on a literary agent who had approached me direct. In the meantime, The Times kindly offered to host the blog and finally, I was offered a book deal with Bloomsbury – all within the space of less than three months.

Since that hectic start, it’s been a long haul. I took a break from practising as a barrister and moved to North Devon, where not only have I been able to go surfing a little more frequently but I also finished the book. It finally came out in August and does seem to have been well received with broadcaster Jeremy Vine describing it as “a wonderful, racing read – well drawn, smartly plotted and laugh-out-loud”.

The book is called BabyBarista and the Art of War and centres around BabyB’s first year in chambers where he is fighting his fellow pupils for the coveted prize of a permanent tenancy. It’s a fictional caricature of life at the Bar and includes characters that probably exist in most workplaces. Alongside the pupillage race is an altogether different battle with BabyB’s corrupt pupilmaster whose dishonest fiddling of chambers’ records all starts to unravel and threatens to embroil BabyB’s entire career.

With the first book finished, I’m now working on book two in the series and very much enjoying life down here by the sea.

What can (and can’t) a blog do for a writer? “Blogging is definitely one tool which might help some writers. The need to keep it up-to-date can provide discipline and the diary format gives an immediate structure, particularly for first person narratives.” Read more in our full interview with Tim Kevan.

Tim Kevan is a barrister and writer and the author of ‘BabyBarista and The Art of War’ published by Bloomsbury.

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