Dominic Cookman’s first novel picked up by international publisher, second to be based in Canberra

Max O'Driscoll 18 October 2021
Dominic Cookman

Canberra author Dominic Cookman is releasing his new novel, Villains in the Night, in November 2021. Photo: Supplied.

Canberra solicitor and author Dominic Cookman is releasing his novel, Villains in the Night, in November 2021 through UK publishing company Book Guild. However, earlier this year the prospect of publishing the book appeared bleak.

“I finished the novel in about August last year and then sent it to every publisher I could think of in Australia,” he says.

“I didn’t have much luck so I thought I might as well try overseas with America and the UK. Then I’d actually given up on finding a publisher and was just going to put it out on my Substack [online platform].

“Then out of the blue in January I got an email from UK-based publisher Book Guild and they said they really liked the book and were hoping to publish it.

“It was pretty surreal.”

Cover of book 'Villains in the Night'

Villains in the Night will be released on 28 November. Image: Book Guild.

Based in London, Villains in the Night takes readers along the journey of a group of Russian mercenaries wanting to steal money and information from a Saudi Arabian prince.

Dominic describes the novel as an easy, contemporary read which people from all walks of life can enjoy.

With his role in the publishing of Villains of the Night mostly complete, Dominic has now shifted his attention to writing book number two. It will centre around the Australian National University, where Cookman once attended, telling the story of an international student who mysteriously goes missing.

“It’s going to be enjoyable to see what I can incorporate, and obviously I’ll try to get as much of Canberra in as possible,” he says.


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“The characters will have an office in Civic, and some of the action will take place near Lake Burley Griffin, and a lot of it will be centred around the Australian National University.

“I’m having a lot of fun writing it and incorporating local elements from growing up in Canberra and going to ANU. It’s really fun to place those local familiar elements into the story, and hopefully it’ll bring some attention to Canberra for people who wouldn’t know it.”

Villains in the Night will be released on 28 November on Book Depository, but the first three chapters can be read now on Substack.


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