What The Author Did Next



Christmas is approaching – it’s the time from which writers theoretically derive most of their earnings. This isn’t usually the case for me because my books tend to be published in spring and autumn. I don’t have the weight to punch through the scrum of summer holiday/ Christmas publications.

This year and next year, however, I’ve something very close to Christmas arrivals. The new paperback edition of ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’ is revised and extended, and out now. The author entries have been spruced up and updated to include ongoing revivals of some of the authors, and there’s a new section at the end featuring an essay, ‘Where were all the BAME writers?’, plus a new author, William Melvin Kelley, whose backlist has been returned to print to coincide with the publication of the paperback. I’ll be continuing publicity through to March, when I’ll be in one of my favourite cities, Glasgow, for the Aye Write! festival.

And next year it looks as if there will be TWO Bryant & May books, the first ‘The Lonely Hour’, arriving in March, followed by the second collection of the Peculiar Crimes Unit’s missing cases, ‘England’s Finest’, arriving late autumn / early Christmas. This volume will feature longer stories and a missing case much discussed by our decrepit duo in earlier novels, the body found in the basement of the PCU.

I’m not due to start the 19th Bryant & May novel until March, which is just as well as I haven’t a clue what I’m doing for it yet, then I should really go on to a twentieth, just because I should. In the meantime, I’m finishing the first draft of my standalone thriller, under my own name this time. My publishers failed to send my pseudonymous novel ‘Little Boy Found’ into print for reasons beyond my control, so I’ll be reverting to my own identity. This means there are two ‘rogue’ novels out there; ‘Breathe’ was published by a small press house some years ago and they retain a death-grip on the rights. And ‘Little Boy Found’ was written under the name ‘L K Fox’, but one day I’ll buy it back and republish under my own name.

I swore I wouldn’t write any more short stories but I’ve just delivered one. I’d love to write another play, and another graphic novel, and I’m looking around for new collaborative projects to get involved with. The beauty is that I’m still far enough below the bestseller radar to be able to choose what I want to do. A friend of mine who writes ‘Dr Who’ (among many other things) gets attacked by lunatic Whovians on Facebook and was going to take down his page until his agent said, somewhat bluntly; ‘If you do that you’ll remove the only reason people have for remembering you.’ Ouch. The moral? Be remembered for your prose, not your brand.

8 comments on “What The Author Did Next”

  1. davem says:

    Short stories and graphic novels … oooh yes please.

  2. Ian Luck says:

    Please don’t use that dreadful term ‘Whovian’ – it was probably thought up by some rabid fangirl, of the sort that once said to me that she had seen some copycat show called ‘Doctor Who’, which had a man pretending to be The Doctor, who had a hat and a long scarf, and who she said was ‘awful’, and ‘too old’. I told her that that was The Doctor’s fourth incarnation, played by Tom Baker, and how dare she say he was ‘awful’. She told me I was wrong; the fourth Doctor is Peter Capaldi. I replied that I had been watching Doctor Who since 1968, and Capaldi was not the fourth Doctor, nor in fact, the twelfth; in fact, there is only ONE Doctor, who, like some Hindu gods, has many ‘Incarnations’, so Capaldi is (was) The Doctor’s twelfth incarnation. She still insisted I was wrong, so I said to her: “If Doctor Who started with Christopher Eccleston, how come U.N.I.T. operative Osgood wears a copy of the fourth incarnation’s scarf, and the sixth incarnation’s shirt with the question mark collar?” She had no answer, and walked off in a huff. This is the sort of person that has been annoying your friend.

  3. Jo W says:

    Good news about the short stories of B&M coming after The Lonely Hour. So much to look forward too.
    Chris,was that Dr.Who writer the man you introduced us too,Hallowe’en weekend? As I have seen every episode since the start ( talking Bill Hartnell here) it was so interesting. So much info about scripts,what had to be included and / or left out. I certainly learnt a lot that I didn’t know that I didn’t know.( That doesn’t sound right,but I know what I mean).
    We enjoyed his company,please tell him to keep at it. 😉

  4. Helen Martin says:

    The people one can meet when Chris is present!

  5. SteveB says:

    I can actually remember the first episode of Dr Who I saw in 1963, it was at another child’s Xmas party and all the kids insisisted on watching it. It was the first episode of the first Dalek story. It caused a sensation which you couldn’t begin to imagine today.
    Chris if you still didn’t decide on the next B&M story, I still have this picture of all the frozen films in Spitzbergen. There must be a story there!!!

  6. SteveB says:

    By the way, the publisher of Breathe is a Whovian, I met him a couple of times many years ago and he can talk for really a looong time about the minutiae of the program.

  7. Ian Luck says:

    I have seen every extant episode of Doctor Who (some many times) and the show is a sort of obsession of mine. However, I’m happy to use the term ‘Doctor Who Fan’. ‘Whovian’ is simply a horrible word that only a complete numpty could have come up with. There’s something deeply unpleasant about the word, which strikes me as being created by a millennial with a deperate need to create unwanted nomenclature.

  8. MI says:

    “Be remembered for your prose, not your brand.” Those are certainly words I’ll remember!

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