Why I Published This Piece


I was very touched to see the comments to this column. I’m lucky to have some of the very kindest readers. I had written the piece out of necessity. When I sat down to look at the jumble of short stories, articles and novels I’d left on my laptop I had an epiphany; 

Ie. ‘This lot is going to continue rolling onwards whether or not I’m around. Shit.’

I had publishers working out their future timings, editors planning dates into next year, events for summer 2023.

But earlier I had received my cancer prognosis, which showed that my rogue cells had spread a further 20% through my organs. The treatment was halted and I’d been discharged like a disruptive influence being kicked out of school and sent home.

Clearly I needed to inform those directly affected of what was going on. But I also had to tell colleagues and anyone planning future events for me.

This was the best place to do it. I needed to commence a handover of my outstanding work, which is already prepping into next year. I still plan to do a reading next month here, with the proviso that the organiser will understand if I’m too sick to attend. You can imagine this venue has limited space.

Now I’m having a cheeky six days in Turkey – actually I could have come here for a month but there’s stuff to do in London. As soon as I’m back I’ll be signing the new book.

PS Below in Comments – The Husband’s first post ever!

Out Of The Limelight Dept: I got to spend some time with Sally, my PA and one of my oldest friends. She doesn’t get much of a mention here because she’s painfully publicity-shy but she’s been the organising force around this joint for many years, and before that at my old company. Plus, she has an encyclopaedic knowledge of old British films. We sat on the terrace and had rosé and summer fruits and set the world to rights.

Sally is smart and funny and in ridiculously fine health for a lady in her sixties. When difficult times hit you care about not hurting your friends and family the most, so it was great for us to spend some quality time together.

I’ve always been very lucky to find kind, good people around me. Life is too brief to be unhappy in your work or your choice of friends.

Enough Of That Dept: I’m planning to stop the blog when it reaches renewal time, as it’s reaching the end of its shelf-life. I’m aware that the Comments have shifted from readers with direct experience of topics under discussion to something that feels more like random chatroom static. This is partly my fault for not spending more time on curation, but over the last three years my hours have been forcibly divided. The need for the blog is not as great as it was, but while I can I’ll continue on Twitter, which I still find useful.

I still have several finished books to be published, which places me in an appropriately peculiar position with publishers, agents etc. I recall the fuss over ‘Virginia Andrews’ continuing to flog a comatose horse long after she had departed this realm, leading the IRS to charge her for earning too much as a dead person. For the full story, see ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’.

Turkish Delight Dept: It seems perverse to be leaving London on the hottest day of the year but tomorrow is my last day here for a week. Today I’ll be stock signing at Goldsboro Books, then dining with friends at Guy Ritchie’s pub in Fitzrovia.

The following morning I’ll be heading to the Turkish coast to track down The Husband, who is on a boat somewhere (he’s happiest on water). He’ll be coming back to earth so that we can grab a few days together – we’ve a lot to discuss.

While I’m away London is set to break all heat records, so I’ll actually be visiting a cooler country. When I return I’ll hopefully be well-read and well-rested. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?


101 comments on “Why I Published This Piece”

  1. Jeanette says:

    Hey Chris, I found you via my local library. On a table with various other books stood ‘Bryant & May Off The Rails’, and will admit the cover pulled me in, to pick it up. That was it I was hooked, I then ordered in 1 to 7 through the library, (by the way they were always on a waiting list)., and I then started ordering in all the new releases in hard back. A couple of times I have asked for them for Christmas, they were really special to me. I loved it, unwrapping the book, sticking the turkey in the oven, and sneaking off with a glass of wine and trying to get a chapter read before the mayhem of family arriving. So this Christmas coming I have decided ‘Peculiar London’ is going to wait for me underneath the christmas tree, and I will raise a glass to you and Pete, Arthur, John and all the gang, and all us readers… Happy memories.

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