August is going to be a big month for me. I’m so excited about Sherlock Holmes week (30th July-5th August) and really grateful to Steve from MX Publishing for coming up with such a great idea. There will be another live debate (which I’m hoping to take part in), book signings, competitions and loads of other events yet to be announced. Follow this link for more information.
I will be launching my new publication – 56 Sherlock Holmes Stories in 56 Days – and also my second edition of ‘Barefoot on Baker Street’.
As followers of this site may remember, when my novel came out in September last year I undertook what turned out to be a rather epic project in which I read and reviewed one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories every day until I had covered all 56. It was great fun but pretty challenging, and now the series is being published. The book will also include reviews of the four long stories and a few extra bits as well.
I have decided to donate any royalties from the sale of the book to the Undershaw Preservation Trust because I feel so strongly about the work they are doing. The UPT are campaigning to stop a developer from destroying Undershaw, the home Sir Arthur Conan Doyle designed and lived in whilewriting some of his most famous works. Though a recent court hearing ruled in favour of the trust, the developer is appealing against the decision and the fight continues. Legal fees alone are pretty colossal and if the action is successful, funds will be needed to turn this wonderful historic building back to glory.
The second edition of Barefoot has been an absolute labour of love. I have gone back through every line trying to weed out errors, lose excess words and sharpen things up. Altogether the book has been reduced by m ore than 10,000 words and I’ve toned down some of the more sentimental/romantic aspects, especially in the latter quarter of the story. There’s one scene in particular (the one in the park – for those who’ve read it) which did border on the rom-com a bit too much. I read it back and expected Hugh Grant to appear at any moment, all floppy haired and self-deprecating. That has now changed completely.
I’ve had to learn to be pretty harsh and critical with my writing, but now feel that I have the confidence and experience to do it. I was so young when I started Barefoot and have grown up a lot since – I think the second edition reflects that.
However, I will always be just a little bit proud of my first edition. It wasn’t something I knocked out in a few months; it was a painstaking seven years worth of writing, research and learning my craft. Yes I made mistakes but how many people say they are going to write a book and never get round to it? At least I tried.