Tell us about life before Bluemoose. What did you do?
I had been involved in sales and marketing for about twenty years with four publishing companies prior to setting up Bluemoose. The publishers were commercial fiction, academic/business and non-fiction.
I won a national writing competition and was whisked down to London to be wined and dined by the publishing director of Macmillan and an agent from Curtis Brown. It didn’t go well. They didn’t like my book. A year later I saw in The Bookseller that all the big advances were going to Irish writers so I changed my name to Colm O’Driscoll and sent off the first three chapters and a synopsis to top agent Darley Anderson (Lee Child, Martina Cole). He liked my writing and when I finished the book, he offered me a contract. The books was ANTHILLS AND STARS, a humorous look at hippies moving into a northern mill town at the end of the 1960’s. It got rave reviews from all the editors from the big 6 but the commercial directors didn’t think it would sell 20,000 copies, so I didn’t get a publishing deal. So, fuelled by anger and bile, together with my wife Hetha, we re-mortgaged our house and started Bluemoose books, publishing my novel and The Bridge Between by Canadian writer Nathan Vanek.
We started Bluemoose because we weren’t seeing the books we liked to read on the shelves anymore. The world had apparently decided to read books by orange headed celebrities and we thought that readers might want to read great stories beautifully told that engage and inspire. We made enough money from these two books to continue publishing and we’ve published a further 20 books, none of which are mine.