Work in Progress
2014 was a very busy year, with publication of both Enemies at Home and A Cruel Fate, as well as being asked at the last minute to contribute a short story to A Midlands Odyssey, an ambitious collection organised by Writing West Midlands. The third Albia novel ended up being called Deadly Election and I am starting The Graveyard of the Hesperides. There will also be new short work digitally associated with publication in 2015 – The Spook Who Spoke Again.
As I trawl through my neglected website, I realise I was more preoccupied than I realised last year. I changed my UK agent which was not only very sad after 25 years but entailed unexpected amounts of work, revisiting all the contract history of nearly 30 books, all still in print in this country. I have been enjoying my new home, which is after all why I do this work!
And although I have mentioned arthritis in my hands, the serious problem is degenerating spine disease. Before I moved house, I was almost in a wheelchair, and now have physiotherapy and one-to-one exercising every week. This keeps me mobile and pain free, but takes time. I am now stronger but scoliosis (my Richard III spine) can’t be put right. This means limiting my computer time. It also impinges on my events programme. I will be doing fewer events. I must consider travel arrangements very carefully, I can no longer stand at a lectern but have to speak sitting down, and if not enough tickets are sold, events will be cancelled. I’m just explaining this, don’t be anxious. My brief for the people who look after me is that I want to be still writing at 90.
I am delighted to say that both Hodder and Stoughton and St Martin’s Press have contracted for a further two Albia Novels, to be published in 2016 and 2017. My resolution is to keep more up to date with correspondence and my website…
First, audio books. All of the Falco series are now being reissued by Audible, including Rebels and Traitors, which has never been an audio book before.
Due to an oversight, no US audiobook of Enemies at Home was published and I apologise. However, all of my USA audio contracts have now been reviewed. We had to untangle a very complex history of licenses and sub-licenses, some dating back 25 years, which is why it has taken so long. Rest assured, I know readers love the audio versions and with my agents I am working to restore the full list in the USA.
Also in the USA many titles in the middle of the Falco series are out of print. The plan is to reissue them as ebooks when I can. Four titles are being held by a publisher until contracts expiry, but I am happy to tell you that a new batch will be released by St Martin’s Press in 2015 (Poseidon’s Gold to A Dying Light in Corduba) to coincide with Deadly Election. A further batch could be re-licensed if these do well – so please rush to buy the new ones! I want to close all gaps as soon as possible.
Readers in Germany and Italy have asked repeatedly for translations of the remaining Falco novels. I am very sorry but the publishers won’t continue and at present I have no better news.
Mammoth Film have said they will renew their Falco film option for another year and we are working on development, but I have no other news at the moment.
In 1997/8 I was Honorary President of the UK Classical Association. I recommend joining if you are interested in the jolly side of classics. See their website,www.classicalassociation.org.
Organ Donor Card Appeal
This is a personal appeal on an issue where I have experience from both sides.
Please carry a donor card. And if ever you are in the sad position of having to decide whether to agree to organ donation from someone close to you, please consider the good you may do. Honour their wishes if they carry a card. If not, then it is your choice; please use the opportunity. I understand just how hard it is at the time – but I can also tell you, because I have had to do it, that afterwards you will feel glad you took the decision to say yes.
Lives can be saved or dramatically improved by organ transplants. From childhood, I had a rare eye condition called keratoconus. Eventually I needed a corneal transplant – not often mentioned when organ donation is discussed, though in fact one donor can save the sight of two people. Being able to see, without discomfort, helps me to write. A stranger’s generosity freed me from years of pain and anxiety. I was never able to thank my donor or their relatives, but I shall always remember them. Every time you read one of my books, you too are a beneficiary of their gift to me.