Seeing as to how in my last Blog I mentioned the books I have written I thought, for those who might read this but who don’t know about my literary efforts prose-wise, I would list them here. After all I’ve not discussed them before so why not? I won’t write about plays, only books. Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start, as is sung in a famous musical. When I was very young I can’t remember just how young, I wrote a novel. My novel consisted of half a dozen pages from a school notebook, bound with wool and sold to my mother’s bridge club at sixpence a copy. Now was that a hint of things to come do you suppose? I have no actual memory of what the story was about. Flash forward to the sixties and the first book I had published proper as it were. This one was not prose but poems for children called ‘Hildegarde H And Her friends.’
Illustrated by one Arnold Taraborrelli it was published by a company called Abydos. Unfortunately they made a great mistake by having it ring-bound which meant that libraries would not buy it. Little fingers could soon rip out a favourite picture or versa. First failure. Then along came ‘The Double Deckers.’ This series was made at the beginning of the seventies and has been a great hit all over the world (the DVD released recently) but we won’t go into this painful subject. Another story hangs in the balance here and hopefully the mystery will soon be solved one way or t’other. This time I was approached by Pan to write the book which in no time at all was to be found remaindered on stalls in Bermondsey Market. Second failure. Actually this time I was not affected by the failure as it was a one off and no royalties were due on the book anyway so I didn’t lose out.
Advance to 1984. I was approached by W.H.Allen and asked if I would like to novelise my TV scripts ‘Doctor Who And The Space Museum’ and, if so, would I send them an example of my prose which I duly did. It was found acceptable and I wrote the book. I was teaching in America at the time and discovered to my horror that no one had heard of it, not my students (though they were avid fans of the TV series) or booksellers so god alone knows what went wrong with W.H.Allen’s distribution. Shortly after they were taken over by Virgin who seemed to have absolutely no interest at all. Third failure.
Advance to the twenty first century and a flurry of activity. First of all my autobiography ‘No Official Umbrella’ followed by the first Thornton King thriller, ‘Dead On Time.’ Hardly original I admit. There are at least four other books with the same title. This was followed by the second Thornton King, ‘Just In Case.’ Another not too original title but apt for the story. (a) A case for Thornton to solve and (b) a case full of stolen diamonds. I seem to remember another ‘Just in Case’ appearing at exactly the same time. In between writing Thornton Kings three and four, ‘Dead On Target,’ and ‘The Cinelli Vases, I wrote two novels, ‘Angel,’ and ‘The Journeys We Make.’ Still to come, written and waiting, another novel ‘Torque,’ a motor racing and drugs story. This one started off as a film script and, the film not being made, I felt it was too good to waste. There are two more Thornton Kings, ‘Celluloid and Tinsel,’ obviously set in the film world of which I have some experience, not all of it good, and ‘Men and their Toys,’ sleazy sleazy sex of which I have absolutely no experience at all of course. If anyone is interested in the Thornton King books, my slightly quirky accident prone private eye and his glamorous sidekick Miss Holly Day who seems to have the knack of always coming to his rescue at appropriate moments, read them in sequence because, although each story is complete in itself, the major characters go all the way through from the first book and of course they carry memories forward with them. I don’t pretend for one moment that these are works of art or great literature, they’re just a jolly good read. Give them to family and friends as Christmas and birthday presents. Also to be published soon there is my Gothic novella ‘The Museum Mysteries,’ together with half a dozen short stories.
Add to that two new plays and the book and lyrics of a musical and one could say Crete, if nothing else, has been very good for me as far as output is concerned. Whether there is anymore in the pipeline who can tell?