It’s just over a week until Child Taken is released. I should be getting excited but I’ve not ordered the alcohol yet for the post-launch party and I’m also trying to work out how many glasses of bubbly you can squeeze from one bottle, so I don’t end up ordering too many.

Excitement will have to wait.

But it’s also a time for reflection. Last post was about the journey and the potential points along the way when I almost stopped the bus and got off. Thank goodness I didn’t. A few days is a long time in the literary world.

Two things have happened in the last few days. Both have made the whole experience so much more real and, thankfully, so much more worthwhile.

Firstly, the actual book turned up. The printing run was finished and Red Door sent me my own copy, in all its glory. I’d seen the pictures and I thought I knew what it would look like because the cover design was such a big part of the process that I’ve lived with it for a few months now and it’s adorning everything from my Facebook page to business cards. Next up, a matching duvet cover and pillows (£29.99 from Amazon, not really).

But nothing could prepare me for the real thing. It’s actually a thing of real beauty (thank you, Clare Shepherd) and an absolute stunner. You never quite know what the final book will be like and my hope was that, if it was on a shelf in Waterstones, it wouldn’t look out of place. And it wouldn’t; in fact, it would jump out at any potential buyer.

To think that I didn’t agree with the darkness of the cover at first. But that’s the beauty of having experts like Heather, Clare and Anna at Red Door. They soon pull you in line and the further I was removed from the decision, the better it was. These guys know what they’re doing after all and I don’t and I’d be the first to say they were spot on.

The second thing was reviews as the book embarked on it’s blog tour. I’m going to include that in a separate post next week but here are a few things that the reviewers are saying about Child Taken….

“As debuts go, this is pretty spectacular; it must be one of the best debuts I’ve ever read”


“This is a stunning debut novel which is not afraid of tackling a difficult subject. It’s exceptionally plotted out”


“A tense and beautifully addictive thriller. A really excellent read”


“It has quickly become one of my favourite books of the year. Is as close to unputdownable as books come.”


“OK, I’m going to say it; this is the best thriller I’ve ever read. Full stop. Darren Young has a flawless way with words”

I haven’t cherry picked the best ones either. The above quotes came in successive reviews since the weekend. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to get this reaction. This is the book that agents said “wasn’t quite right”, remember.

I reminisced as I stood reading this morning’s review, that said a lot of really incredible things as well as it being the ‘best thriller the reviewer had read’. Can I trademark that BTW?

I thought about what I set out to do in late 2014, and recalled a quote (can’t remember who by) in a newspaper supplement I hung onto although it must be battered beyond belief now in a cupboard somewhere. It was advice from established writers and it said ‘write so that the reader turns to the next page, and then the one after’.

I’d tried to do that more than anything else.

The question that is also the title of this post was ‘are we nearly there yet?’ and the answer is, of course, no. It isn’t even publication day yet (although we are nearly there) and the hard work of getting people (AKA readers who are prepared to shell out money) to read Child Taken starts now.

But I’m a lot closer than I was I 2014.

And these reviewers kept turning the page until the very end so I’ve obviously done something right.


Next Time: Week Eleven – The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (or What A Publisher Does) – Part 1


Darren Young’s debut novel, Child Taken, is available to order at Amazon. It is released by Red Door Publishing on 18 May 2017

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