I just hit send on the mailout and created a dozen or so new minty-fresh published writers. Huzzah.
From the Introduction:
My first book tanked. At first anyway. And then it went on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies, and to be adapted for the stage and the big screen. He Died With A Felafel In His Hand was first published in 1996. The internet was a thing by then, but not much of a thing. Book publishing was still an old world business, yet to be disrupted by Amazon, the torrentz and the Great Recession. I sometimes wonder what might have happened to that book if it was released now.
Nothing good, I suspect.
I was lucky to be published by a small, independent house. Michael Duffy, the publisher, literally bet his own house on the business. A couple of months after release, with only a handful of copies sold, it must have looked like a bad bet. Happily, it did eventually pay off.
A couple of readers picked it up here and there. They told a couple more. Word spread slowly, and then quickly. After about six months it was suddenly an overnight sensation.
I’ve always remembered that. I wrote that book, but the readers made it. All writers live and die by their readers, but not all of them remember that. I try. This book is me, remembering. Over the years I’ve always been open to my readers playing in the story-worlds I make up. I created those worlds because I wanted to see what happened in them. For me, reading a story in my own imagined space, but one which I didn’t write, is a special sort of revelation. I love it.
So, I’m an unusual writer who actively encourages fan fiction. Or ‘reader fiction’, as I prefer to think of it. I’ve read some cracking stories set in all of my fictional universes. It was only this year, dipping my toe into indie publishing, that was I able do something more than just post these pieces as an entry on my blog.
The book you hold now is the first of many more to come, I hope. In that way, it’s a rough draft for the future. I’d like to do more, and I’d like to get better at doing them. If you’d like to try your hand at spending a little time in the worlds of Prince Harry, The Dave or Caitlin Monroe, feel free. If you’d just like to read more stories set after the Transition, the Wave or the Emergence, that’s cool too. So would I.
The stories that follow have been written by some of my blog regulars. I’ve edited lightly, but it’s not a highly polished commercial release. It’s just for fun. And for members of my bookclub, it’s a little gift to say thanks for your time and attention.
I hope you enjoy these stories.
If you’d like to write your own, let me know.