The next few weeks are going to be massive for Tom Cain and the whole Accident Man project. Last Monday I delivered the draft manuscript of the next Samuel Carver novel. In the UK paperback (see below) it's plugged as 'The House of War', but it looks like it's gonna be called 'The Sole Survivor' instead. It's pretty wild stuff ... once you get over the fact that the hero spends the first 100 pages in a hospital bed! This monday see the publication of the UK paperback of Accident Man. They've printed 103,000 of the little f*ckers, and they're piled high in every supermarket, bookstore and - soon, perhaps - recycling dump in the land. February 4 Accident Man launches in the US. It's had some great coverage from the trade press, now just got to see if the public agree. There's an Accident Man blog just started. I'm not supposed to be posting much on it before the book comes out, but there are already plenty of links to various sites, with many more to come, and you can get it at ... (There's a proper link elsewhere on this page) And for late-night conspiracy freaks, I'll talking about the crash that killed Diana and other famous 'accidents' on Coast to Coast AM, on Premiere Radio Network, starting at 11.00pm, Pacific Time, on Saturday 9 February.

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Comment by Tom Cain on March 14, 2008 at 6:25pm
Thanks for the reply ... and the offer of assistance! I'll certainly bear it in mind. Something tells me that Samuel Carver's going to be having quite a lot to do with the new Russia, over the next few years and books ...
Comment by Max Vainshtein on March 12, 2008 at 8:57pm
You're an early bird! It's only 7am in the UK. :-) Thank you for your swift reply. I never happened to have an insight on how writers pick up names. And you're right, it's an interesting and pretty important subject.
Yes, Sasha is the regular diminutive for Alexandra. But you were right to call her Alix. Many Russians who are Alexanders and Alexandras call themselves "Alex" while abroad.
Well, and Russia, IS a country with plenty of nationalities. My surname is Vainshtein (or Weinstein), for example, for the simple reason that I'm Jewish.

I'm going to order your book from, so I hope the "mess" with the titles will not be a problem.

In the meantime if you ever need to pick up a proper Russian name or do some research, please let me know. I'll be glad to assist.
Comment by Tom Cain on March 12, 2008 at 8:16pm
Thanks for your kind remarks about the book, and your interesting comments on the names ... You're quite right that they're incorrect ... I was actually thinking of the battle of Kursk (July 1943) when I named that character, because it seemed appropriate to him and I wanted something tough-sounding and simple, that would not confuse the average English or American reader, who might have a hard time with more complicated names. Similarly, Sasha would be the regular diminutive for Alexandra - no? - but I called my heroine Alix because it sounded cool, and Sasha has unfortunately become perceived as a downmarket girl's name in the UK. Dimitrov, I think, I took from the credits of the Sergei Bondarchuk film version of War and Peace ... I literally went through all the names on there, mixing them up to find good character names. So I guess there may have been a Bulgarian working on the crew, but equally, might you not have someone of Bulgarian descent in a Russian gang? Maybe his parents emigrated to Russia, or he just got involved with that gang through connections in Bulgaria, who knows.

There's a similar case with the Norwegian character Thor Larsson. Originally he was Swedish, then I changed that to Norwegian. Now, in Norway, he would normally be called Larsen, instead of Larsson. But because the two countries are neighbours, and were linked for hundreds of years, there are lots of people in Norway with Swedish names ... so I kept it the same.

How a writer picks names is a really interesting subject, actually ... maybe I should to a separate post about that!

Thanks for saying you'll buy the next book! It's now going to have different titles in different countries, because various publishers couldn't agree on what they wanted ... Maybe I should do a blog-post about that, too!
Comment by Max Vainshtein on March 12, 2008 at 7:41pm
Dear Mr. Cain,
I am now reading the Accident man. Pretty interesting. I think you managed to make a good story based on a very tragic event tactfully. Will certainly buy your next Carver novel. At least to find out how you coped with the task way too more difficult - a sequel. I wish you success with this new one. In the meantime I could not help but comment on one issue. The issue which is quite common for many non-Russian writers: Russian names. Many people in Russia now read foreign books both in original language and translated. When they come across the Russian names in such books the least they do is smile, the worst - they would not buy the next book because they would think the author doesn't know what he writes about generally if he didn't bother to use plausible names.
Kursk is not a name, it's a city. Dimitrov is a Bulgarian name, not Russian. Russian equivalent would be Dmitriev.
Of course it is always difficult to write about a foregin country. That's why I do not in any way critisize your descriptions of Russia in the book. For example Alix's story which, by the way, is very plausible. But the names lie on the surface...
Anyway, thanks for an interesting book. Looking forward to the end of the working day, when I will be able to fininsh it. And for The Sole Survivor
Yours sincerely,

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