When I created the Bryant & May world, I hadn’t counted on what they call ‘the Springfield Effect’, wherein you start with a couple of characters and end up with a hundred. For Terry Pratchett, Alzheimer’s must be the worst disease in the world for a man who has created a galaxy of interconnected characters.
Bryant & May have been creeping into or around many of my other books for years, so much so that I had forgotten all about some of their appearance, until someone on Twitter today mentioned he liked the Arthur Bryant cameo in my comedy-thriller ‘Plastic’.
I really hadn’t intended to put him in there, but at a certain point I needed an elderly man to interact with a young streetsmart teenager, and I it seemed natural to put him in – although I don’t think he’s given a name in the book.
The desire to connect worlds is very strong. As a child, all my stories had crossover characters. Comics have always built worlds in this way, with both DC and Marvel crossfeeding their heroes into other books.
What didn’t work, though, was turning Bryant & May into a graphic novel, because comics readers aren’t crime fans, and vice versa. The book was hard to find, certainly (a problem with the publisher) but it was a different market, and many people said they did not want to see my characters defined so clearly. They preferred them to exist in their heads.
Lesson learned, then – I’ll hopefully Â do another graphic novel with Keith Page, but adapting an earlier book, probably ‘Calabash’.