Bryant & May On Haitus
There may be a disruption in your normal service; I’ve suddenly developed severe PVD which has effectively blinded me in one eye. I’m hoping the effects are temporary because it’s a total drag on my writing speed.
It seems that whatever else I wrote, I would always come back to my elderly detectives Bryant & May. They were never away for long, cropping up in ‘Rune’ and in ‘Soho Black’ and elsewhere (I can’t honestly remember which books they’re in). I now realise that I was subconsciously test-driving them for something bigger, which turned out to be a series that now looks like running to twenty volumes. In that time we’ve burned through four or five cover artists, many type styles and formats, and there was Keith Page’s delightful graphic novel, ‘The Casebook of Bryant & May’…
I kept things fresh by throwing all sorts of changes at them and will continue to do so, but every couple of novels I have to take on a completely different project or I’d get locked-in syndrome. All the chopping and changing makes me a hard author to pin down. Publishers never know what to expect next. Working on ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors taught me that the writers who outlast the pack are the ones who stick to one label, so that readers can figure out who they are.
Fame is fleeting. I was at the BBC yesterday morning doing a radio show, and on the way in there was an Indian demonstration against misrepresentation on the BBC, all banners and megaphones and chants, and a huge crowd of young fans screaming for the arrival of a boy band. When I emerged from the studio an hour later both groups had gone, the street was empty and it was as if they were never there.
After a while you know it will happen to your books. And that’s okay; they’re not literary works for the ages, but passing entertainments from the mind of one person living in a city on the banks of the Thames.
Sadly, gaining longevity today takes a leap into another media, but television production moves with agonising decrepitude. So many spec B&M scripts have passed under the bridge, most of them poor or simply timid, that my film agent has suggested I write a pilot. I’m already overworked and as my eyes are suffering at the moment (I have to take an enforced break in a couple of weeks) I can’t do any more than I’m already doing. To lift Bryant & May into another media would require a script that reflects the freewheeling lunacy of the characters.
But to me the printed word comes first and most importantly in the storytelling ranks. I’ve always had eye problems, and had just started writing 2018’s ‘Bryant & May: The Lonely Hour’ when they recurred. I was raring to go, my head fairly bursting with ideas. Now, frustratingly, I’ll have to wait for at least a while. But I’m ahead of the game; next year’s novels are delivered and I’ve started a new collection of Bryant & May missing cases called; ‘Bryant & May: England’s Finest’. Sometimes a break is what’s needed to keep things fresh.