A Message From Our Sponsor (i.e. Me)

Books

TBOFA HB

In case you think I’ve been taking too much time off to write about tea, let me assure you that I’ve been busy planning the next tranche of books to come your way.

First up, on October 5th ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’ launches in the UK. Once there were popular novels almost everyone owned. Mum had Georgette Heyer, Dad had Eric Ambler, kids had Billy Bunter and the Borrowers. They were the books that shaped imaginations and became touchstones in our lives. They were often hugely successful, but at some point many of their authors vanished from family bookshelves. What happened to them? If these books were any good at all, why were these authors forgotten?

Every book lover has a favourite forgotten author. For every Agatha Christie, there was another great mystery writer. For every Sherlock Holmes, there was another great detective. I decided to investigate further and uncovered a wealth of stories. Sometimes brilliant writers were too shy to attend their own launch parties. The forgotten authors wrote books you’ve heard of but can’t quite remember, ones that get passed down through families and end up in second-hand shops.

The project of unearthing these writers became a labour of love that made me new friends around the world, as I tracked them down and heard their stories. I tracked some writers to their homes, where they told me the truth about what had happened to them. But I also look at the novels they wrote, and show why they’re worth seeking out.

My ten-year mission to collect them produced over 450 missing authors. My editor Rich Arcus and I selected 99 of the best, together with a dozen essays about others. ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’, tells the stories of the authors who deserve to be rediscovered by book lovers everywhere. The selection is designed to inspire, to offer new reading ideas and let you take another look at authors you only thought you knew.

It will be followed by a national tour of readings and signings, and I’ve just finished recording the audiobook.

After this comes ‘Bryant & May: Hall of Mirrors’, which goes back to 1969, an extraordinary time that saw a man walk on the moon and the Charles Manson murders. This book showcases the detectives as much younger men, seen through the fractured prism of Bryant’s faulty memory as they causes havoc in London and in the countryside. We also have a wonderful new artist for the covers.

The book will be followed by a new present-day Bryant & May adventure, and a second book of missing cases called ‘England’s Finest’.

One of the most exciting projects for the entire Bryant & May series is the long-awaited repackaging of the books, ironing out the different styles to make them into one collectable, desirably geeky set of editions. I’m supervising the new editions, and as I’m embarrassingly geeky myself you can be assured that they’ll be the bee’s knees.

Little Boy Found

Good news also on the LK Fox front; ‘Little Boy Found’ is doing really well as an e-book (at the time of writing it’s part of a special Kobo Bank Holiday promotion, priced at just 99p, and there’ll be a different promotion in early September) and then it will appear in paperback.

It will be followed by a new LK Fox suspense thriller about two women who are lifelong friends. Also on the horizon is ‘The Foot On The Crown’, a historical fantasy which I’ve finished and am now taking advice on. Various other irons in the fire, too – but I think that’s enough for now!

19 comments on “A Message From Our Sponsor (i.e. Me)”

  1. Chris Webb says:

    On the subject of Bryant and May, there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you for ages. On p71 of The Soho Devil Janice’s bio has been mixed up with Colin Bimsley’s. Any chance of posting the correct one somewhere?

    In Hall of Mirrors are we finally going to get to the bottom of The Mystery in the Basement?

  2. Martin Tolley says:

    Forgotten Authors available for pre-order on Amazon today.

  3. Jo W says:

    All that tea drinking is paying off then Chris,what a busy lad you are. I bet you’re rolling in it and don’t need to work again for a fortnight! 😉
    Looking forward to reading Forgotten Authors. Invisible Ink was great and gave me a long list of authors to hunt out at the library and second hand book shops. I expect to be doing the same again. Well,it keeps me off the streets. 🙂

  4. David says:

    The first book I read for pleasure was E Blyton’s The Island of Adventure, I joined the library when I discovered that there were more in the series. At the library I found Bruce Carter’s Target Island, a wonderful book for disaffected children, then came John Putney and his stories for boys, then paperback copies of Ian Fleming which had for the time very racy covers, which caused a few problems on the home front.

  5. Matt says:

    Some cynical people might think a repackage of the B&M series is a deliberate attempt to part a fool with his money. You have all the books in First Edition hard back and they don’t all look alike, so what? I would much rather have them as they are and I am a bit of a “geek” where B&M are concerned. I guess you might appeal to those that haven’t yet come across the books and like J.K.R did with the Harry Potter series, a box set all looking the same, looks good on the shelf I suppose.

  6. admin says:

    1. Chris – It’s another reason I was disappointed with PSPublishing – they never showed me proofs or I would have spotted it. ‘London’s Glory’ has short bios in it, and ‘England’s Finest’ will have longer ones.
    2. Jo – don’t think I can’t spot a Hancock quote. Some days the table wine flows like water.
    3. Matt – I didn’t know that the originals were going to turn into a series, so there are multiple styles, artists and sizes, including the notorious ‘Simpsons’ cover of The Water Room. I’ve been itching to put them right for years!

  7. Helen Martin says:

    “Put them right” They are what they are, including the Simpsons cover. For people starting on the series now, I’m sure it will be lovely. For the rest of us we’ll live with what we have and chuckle when we hear people talk about the rare editions with John and Arthur mis-drawn, the yellow people cover and so on. The black spined jackets we are getting these days are very elegant on the shelf. Just saying.

  8. Mimi says:

    Forgotten authors isn’t available on Amazon-US yet even for pre-order 🙁

  9. Steveb says:

    Will Soho Black Disturbia and Rune be included in the uniform efitions? Hope so…

  10. admin says:

    Mimi – the US publication comes at a later date to the UK publication.

    Steven – no, because they aren’t part of the Bryant & May work, any more than ‘Nyctophobia’ or ‘Plastic’ are…

  11. Peter Tromans says:

    Dear Chris,

    I’m very much looking forward to more Bryant and May. Last week, I read “Strange Tide.” For reasons of space -our house is full of books- we buy paperbacks rather than hardcovers and try to resist reading the latest B&M until there’s a prospect of the next paperback. If only you could write them as fast as I can read them!

    I think “Strange Tide” is a brilliant piece of work, a great story beautifully recounted, and quite probably the best in the series so far. However, there was something that irritated me: the repeated use of the word “engineer” for two individuals who were a mechanic and an electrician. And, if that wasn’t enough, we have “You sound like a sanitary engineer sprinkling Harpic around a lavatory bowl.” I realise that the speaker is arrogant and unpleasant, and I’m sure that, off screen, Arthur corrected him, probably with a reference to Bazalgette, even if it’s not in your text.

    We engineers are a distinguished group with a lot to be proud of: Nigel Gresley, who designed those great engines like the Mallard and the Flying Scotsman that steamed out of your own King’s Cross; Alec Issigonis, who created Mr Bryant’s long-serving Mini; Frank Whittle, who gave the world the jet engines that make flying to Barcelona relatively quick and comfortable. Engineers, especially the likes of Bazalgette and those whose work has given us iron bedsteads and cotton underwear, have lifted us out of the dirt and given us our modern life expectancy.

    Engineers don’t feature much in literature or film. Neville Shute is an exception. Another was Clint Eastwood with “Space Cowboys” (though many call them “pilots”). The latter has the additional appeal of old guys coming back to save the situation. The great Stanley Hooker wasn’t Clint Eastwood or Arthur Bryant, but he and other veteran engineers came out of retirement to save Rolls-Royce after the bankruptcy following RB211.

    A final word on the topic: would you call a nurse a surgeon? I may have laboured the point, but you are my favourite living author.

    While I have my anorak out: towards the end of “Strange Tide” Fraternity is “watching sound waves on the surface of water.” Watching sound is, in general, quite difficult. Moreover, if they are on the surface of water, they are not sound, but surface waves or simply ripples.

    Now, I promise that I’ll burn the anorak. Or I would do if I owned one.

    Very best wishes,

    Peter

  12. Tamsin says:

    The ‘forgotten authors’ book sounds fascinating and very worthwhile. Have just come across your Bryant and May series which I am very much enjoying. One query- in the Bantam Books paperback version of The Victoria Vanishes, p 75, Bryant is carrying a full bowl of ‘porridge’ and spills ‘oat flakes.’ Isn’t porridge the cooked version of oats (or other grain etc) so that no flakes would remain? or is the implication that he can’t even cook porridge? I’m intrigued.

  13. Chris Webb says:

    I have all the UK Bryant and May books and I had never really noticed the inconsistenies in cover design. They are all broadly similar so I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. I am not too keen on the American covers, they make them look like children’s books, especially the pseudo-copperplate.

    I hadn’t noticed the Water Room jaundice until now. It’s obviously meant to be the colour thrown out by the lamps in the background but I think the artist overdid it a bit. Having said that, there’s no guarantee the printed version matches the original colours at all closely.

    Sir Joseph Bazalgette’s great great grandson runs the company which makes Big Brother. To quote Stephen Fry “Joseph Bazalgette pumped 5h1t out of our homes and his great great grandson pumps it back in.”

  14. brooke says:

    @Peter T. In urban-speak, a sanitary engineer is another name (used ironically) for our local waste pick-up/disposal or our plumber. With the reference to Harpic, I assume Mr. Fowler was referring to the latter.

    In my copy of “Strange Tide,” the sentence reads that Fraternity is sitting under a tree, watching the RAIN as it creates sound waves…I live near a river and walk along the banks when it rains. There is a haunting sound that comes in waves as the rain and wind move the water. For me, this line was very touching, as Fraternity makes his decision to leave the PCU.

    I agree–“Strange Tide” is a brilliant piece of writing.

  15. Matt says:

    Thank you Admin. for pointing out your reasoning for the repackaging. I have a confession to make, I will obviously be buying into the whole thing as I won’t be able to resist. However I will not let go of any of my other B&M books especially the dynamic first book showing John May smoking Arthur’s Pipe.To be honest I have notice the first three don’t really fit in with the others. However I do really like them as they are.

    Oh and I did like ‘Little Boy Found’ it really felt like you had approached it from another persons perspective. Did you wear a special hat to make you feel like you were someone else while writing it?

  16. Peter Tromans says:

    Chris W and Brooke, thank you for the info and explanation. I also found the scene with Fraternity moving and appreciate your explanation. Still, ‘…sound waves on the water’ reads strangely to me. It may be because I spend so much of my time with ocean surface waves that the terms have become very specific in my mind.

    Chris W mentioned the bios in the “Soho Devil” sketch gallery. The pictures also made an interesting mix: a match the face to the person competition (with most of the solution to be found on page 2).

  17. admin says:

    Some interesting Qs here. Sorry for using ‘engineer’ as a catch-all. I think it’s probably a bit like using ‘creative’ to cover a multitude of job skills.
    ‘Sound waves on water’ was meant more as a metaphor than an actual scientific analogy.
    The LK Fox books are going to develop in this very different style so, yes, I have to use a different headspace for them – little humour, simpler but more tense situations, everyday settings rather than anything too exotic. The next one will take the idea of the female-driven suspense novel to a new level, hopefully.

  18. Peter Tromans says:

    Chris – please consider yourself absolutely forgiven! And I apologise for being pernickety.

  19. Helen Martin says:

    Peter T – the universities here give degrees in mechanical engineering (which seems to be what you are referencing), civil engineering, electrical engineering, and mining engineering. Sanitary engineering was a euphemism for caretaker, custodian, or janitor.Those who wear the iron ring are entitled to a little sniffiness.

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