Map of Blue Book Balloon

20 March 2017

Guest Post - A Presence of Absence

Today I'm joining the blogtour for A Presence of Absence, a new indie thriller written by Sarah Surgey and Emma Vestrheim. Sarah writes about the journey to publishing, and how the choice to self-publish made her and and Emma stronger.

A Presence of Absence is the first book in The Odense Series. Although this is a solid crime novel, it also begins and ends with grief for many of the characters, personal demons and life decisions.

A gritty murder case gets in the way of the characters’ everyday lives and sends the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish city of Odense, into a panic.

British detective Simon Weller escapes the fallout from the recent suicide of his Danish wife, Vibeke and heads out to her home city of Odense. But once there he is paired up with a local detective, Jonas, who is also about to hit rock bottom in his home life, and they must overcome their differences and personal problems to try and catch one of the worst serial killers Odense has ever seen. The case takes them back into past decades as history starts catching up with some of the local inhabitants. When Simon realises that his wife's suicide may not be all it seems and her name appears in the case, his integrity within the case is compromised, how far will he go to find out the truth of Vibeke's past and hide it from his already troubled police partner?

Back home in London Simon's family are struggling with their own web of lies and deceit and the family is falling apart.

With one family hiding a dark secret, the whole case is just about to reach breaking point...

You can buy the paperback here and the e-book here as well, of course as at

or on Goodreads

Find out more on Instagram at

Now, over to Sarah!

Self-publishing has made us stronger.
By Sarah Surgey

When Emma and I sat down to write our first novel we had no idea what type of journey we would be venturing on.

The actual book writing we had planned to the best of our abilities. We knew that as a writing duo and living in different countries, we would be producing a lot of solo writing and then blending together, we would be going back and forth with ideas but on a whole we had a strong storyline from the start.

What took us slightly by surprise was the road to publishing afterwards.

You need a literary agent, we were told! Yes, this is so very true, publishing houses won't look at your manuscript in the UK without one. Oh ok, we thought, let’s get one of those..... but, they only accept the smallest percentage of submissions that flood through their inboxes every second of the day.

So, the road suddenly seemed longer and we needed to get tougher. Not with the agents who were giving us great reviews but weren't quite prepared to take us on but, with ourselves. And we did......

Emma is the founder and editor of her own magazine Cinema Scandinavia and I'm a freelance writer and mum to 4 daughters, this we had to take our strength from (outside of our crime writing fears) and move forwards in our quest to publish our book.

Self-publishing gets you thinking. What are you offering the reader? A stand-alone book or a series? Why should they even look at a self-published book? How credible are you? All these questions were going through our minds and in the end helped us to mould out a much better "package" for want of a better word.

We knew that we would now need to sell not only a book we whole heartdley stood behind, but a series and ourselves!

And once all this was in place if an agent was interested we knew that we had produced the absolute foundation of The Odense Series.

Self-publishing is not just about writing a good book, it doesn't matter how good it is, it will just sit there unless you get it and you "out there" We did just this and got our series onto social media, Goodreads & Amazon, found an amazing artist Mike Godwin who has given us two great covers (Yes, we have a second book planned)! and did what we read was nearly impossible for a self-published author, organised a massive blog tour with 30 book bloggers on board!

So, we are out there and whilst congratulations is in order, we don't have time! We are promoting, engaging and writing (of course).

It's been a longer journey than we had anticipated but, we have done this and for that we are proud if not slightly bedraggled!

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