Quite a bit has been happening since my last post, so here’s a quick update.
On Thursday 12th December I took the train down to London for the Historical Writers Association annual dinner. I was a little nervous about meeting a bunch of people I didn’t know and even more worried that I’d prove a mental dwarf among such gigantic intellects. To start with my fears looked like coming true when my table companions started discussing Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (winner of the 2009 Man Booker prize, no less). Unfortunately, I hadn’t read it so had to grim dumbly for several minutes and try to find lots of interesting stuff on the menu to keep from being drawn into the conversation. After that, everything went much better. I was lucky enough to be sitting with Elizabeth Fremantle (Queen’s Gambit and, next May, Sisters of Treason), Lloyd Shepherd (The English Monster and The Poisoned Island), Emma Darwin (A Secret Alchemy and many others), Elizabeth Gifford (Secrets of the Sea House) and Judith Allnatt (The Moon Field, published next month). They were all fantastic company and I enjoyed the night very much. I also got the chance to speak with Robert Low (The Oathsworn and The Kingdom series), who has read my books and gave me a cracking strapline for The Oracles of Troy (“not since the late David Gemmell has anyone managed to make the legends and heroic myths of the Greeks at Troy so grittily real, so marinated in sweat and blood and dark deeds”). I’ve learned from others that Robert was also a war correspondent in Vietnam and Kosovo, so he’s obviously led a very interesting life! On the subject of Vietnam, I remember getting a lift from a Nam veteran when I was hitchhiking across the US a few years back. He told me he’d received two purple hearts: one for being wounded in action and the other because an ammo box fell out of a helicopter and hit him on the head! Must rank among the more bizarre war wounds.
In other news:
- I’ve been invited to write a regular monthly guest blog for a historical fiction website. I’m currently thinking about what to write – any suggestions are welcome, so please add a comment – so if I get my act together in time the first of these will appear in January next year. I’ll provide a few more details once everything is set in stone.
- My agent was contacted the other day by a Turkish publisher wanting to discuss the translation rights for The Armour of Achilles. As Pan Macmillan still hold the rights to the first three books he pointed them in their direction, but I haven’t heard anything yet. It would be nice if something could come of it as I could boast translations from both sides of the conflict: Greece and Turkey (the home of ancient Troy, but you know that already).
- The librarian at Her Majesty’s Prison Gartree contacted me recently to say they are ordering a new set of my books as the others have been read so many times they’re now falling apart.
- Things are warming up for the Kickstarter project (see the previous two posts). I intend to post a list of all the projected costs and the target amount shortly, so keep an eye on this website for more details. I’m also in discussions with a local filmmaker about making a short promotional video. Apparently, Kickstarter projects are more likely to succeed if they are accompanied by a video so I’m hoping to put a short presentation together in the next three weeks. This means readers will have the dubious pleasure of watching me plug Oracles.
Finally, to help raise awareness of Oracles in the run up to the launch of the Kickstarter project, I’ll be reducing the price of the e-book to just 75p or 99c shortly! Hopefully it will attract new readers who’ve never considered my books before and might get them interested in owning a print version. The offer will start within the next day and will last for a couple of weeks only, so if you own a Kindle then take the opportunity while it’s there.