First Novels

In 2010 we launched our new debut fiction list To Hell with First Novels with Lucy Owen at the helm. It sprung from our desire to support debut fiction at a time when the commercial marketplace is at its most competitive. We hope to kick-start the careers of writers who are capable of creating quality fiction and our list reflects our own eclectic and free-spirited reading habits. To Hell with Publishing has always been independent and diverse and our aim is to publish writing that stays true to our nature.

Our first title, The Cuckoo Boy by Grant Gillespie, charts the quiet destruction a suburban childhood might sometimes, unexpectedly, wreak: Armed with the wrong set of circumstances, is there anything a child isn’t capable of?

James has landed in the wrong nest.  Adopted by well-meaning parents who are anxious to conform, he enters a family where any wrong can be righted by a half-hearted trip to church, cake, vacuuming or, if all else fails, denial. Stifled by shepherd’s pie and scones, James’ imagination comes to the rescue in the form of David, an invisible friend, conspirator and agitator. Then James meets a real life David whose gentle spirit soothes the turbulent and unsettling effects of his make-believe world. But as James becomes more sociable he also becomes more vulnerable.

Once hurt, his revenge leads to an act which shocks his community and breaks the hearts of his parents.

Grant Gillespie’s beautifully observed and disturbing parable shows just how destructive normal can be.

Watch Grant talk to To Hell with Publishing founder Laurence Johns about writing The Cuckoo Boy:

We publish one novel and one novel only by each author. All authors  are on the same contract and the books marketed to highlight this unity. Our hope is that we will be a publishing starting block, taking great pride when our authors find new homes for their subsequent books, and respecting our friendships with the larger publishing houses, who can whisk our writers off to higher heights.

This has the potential to be a great publishing adventure and one that we hope will benefit writers, authors and other publishing houses alike.

Think you have the next great unpublished novel?
Read about our submissions policy here.