Welcome to Debut Diaries - One Year On, where you can share your highs (hopefully lots of these) and lows (hopefully fewer of these) of your life after debut. This month, Tizzie Frankish welcomes Eugene Lambert, author of sci-fi novel The Sign of One, to join her for afternoon tea. 

After a whirlwind post-debut year, it’s a chance for Eugene to put his feet up and share his insights over a cuppa and some carefully chosen sweet treats that reflect the mood of the months following life after debut. 

My debut sci-fi novel, The Sign of One, was published in April 2016 by Egmont UK. Now, more than a year on from that heady day, it’s time for me to stagger from my hot laptop, plump the cushions and reflect on that year that followed over afternoon tea with W&P readers…

April 2016: Coffee & Walnut Cake (My favourite!)

Debut highs of my book launch at the wonderful Forbidden Planet in Bristol and seeing my book in a bookshop for the first time.

May 2016: Hard Tack

Reality bites back. Time to continue working on the second book in the trilogy, working title Under the Doom Moon.  

I had completed the first draft in February (the good news), but it weighed in at a ludicrous word count of over 160k. Yup, you read that right. And Egmont are looking for 90k ideally. Gulp. But then again, how do you write a 90k-word book? As far as I can see, you write the book first and then edit the heck out of it until it’s as close to the desired word count as possible. So I get stuck in, and start carving… 

July 2016: Tiramisu (another personal favourite!)

Off down to London to take part in YALC 2016, thanks to Egmont’s PR department. I’m on a panel discussing science fiction, my fellow panellists are Malorie Blackman and James Smythe, and I confess I’m a bit nervous. But both James and Malorie couldn’t be nicer, and I enjoy myself thoroughly. I also sell out all the copies of The Sign of One that Egmont brought. Hah. Being on that stage and looking out at so many engaged and interested young (and old) faces was a blast. Sitting at my signing table afterwards made sure to keep my ego in check though. Malorie was at the table next to me. Her queue of excited book-clutchers stretches to Venus and back. Mine? Not so far!

August 2016: A whole packet of dark chocolate digestives (Too greedy?) 

By now I’m closing in on the final edits of book two, which is now a more publisher-palatable 90k words. Yes, 70k poor words now lie cut and dead on the editing floor. Doesn’t beat thinking about, does it? And now I know all about second-book syndrome, i.e. so much time to write the first, so little time to write the second. Combine that with middle-book syndrome and that spells S-T-R-E-S-S!  

Eugene, Patrice, Sue, Olivia, Kathryn

But then, out of the blue, another debut author and SCBI contact called Olivia Levez contacts me. She’s putting together a debut-author book tour and I’m invited. Together with Kathryn Evans, Patrice Lawrence and Sue Wallman, our #LostAndFound tour will visit bookshops (and a couple of schools) the length and breadth of the UK with a view to having fun, sharing our debut author stories, selling some books and raising our profile. Our first gig is at Waterstones, Birmingham in October 2016, our last in Waterstones, Glasgow in March 2017, and we make some great friends along the way (you know who you are!). By the way, what company I found myself in! Check out their awards, achievements and – most importantly – their books. It was a privilege to spend time with them. 

April 2017

And now, suddenly, I’m no longer a debut author. Into the No Zone is published! Where did that year go???

Note from the Editor: Rumours of Eugene's being an identical twin are true.


A refugee from the worlds of science and engineering, Eugene Lambert is a graduate of Bath Spa University's MA in Writing for Young People. When not scribbling away in his cabin, he flies gliders and goes for long walks.

Eugene’s debut SF thriller, The Sign of One, was shortlisted for the Bath Novel Award 2014 and is published by Egmont UK. The sequel, Into the No-Zone, will be published in 2017. He is represented by Ben Illis ( 

By day, Tizzie Frankish is a mum to two boisterous boys and a part-time university tutor; by night, she's an agented writer who is plagued by her characters. She writes better in her dreams than she does in the cold light of day (thank goodness for edits!) and she’s currently working on a number of Young Fiction stories. Her works are often humorous and more often than not include animals, even if she starts out thinking they won’t.

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