The new books are here

By , 24 October 2006 6:38 pm

It would be a dull or excessively humble author who did not mention on his or her website that they had a new book out. And now that I have two out, I definitely have to mention it. Actually I’m not sure whether the books are strictly out or they’re out on 30th October. The good folks at Amazon, who increasingly seem to be a major player in books, not just as sellers, but as an indicator of availabilty, provider of discussion forums and source of quotable quotes, vary as to whether the books are available now or in the imminent future.

Anyway, having had my own copies, I can say that they look splendid, solid and epic, and well worth whatever they cost in anybody’s money. But, more importantly, they seem to be being well received, and the first feedback is dribbling in. I have long since rejected any hopes or desires of getting “literary” praise, but I can live very happily with people calling them “a real page turner”. If you see yourself as a teller of tales rather than a creator of fine art, there is no finer praise than having grabbed someone’s attention and held it.

Whose book is it anyhow?

By , 18 October 2006 9:01 pm

I have been thinking about the business of over-zealous fans. The great temptation for the author is to say, “Blow them, it’s my book, tough”. I actually wonder whether it’s isn’t more complicated than that. I wonder if by making a book public and having people buy it you don’t in some way enlist them into the process. I feel that in some strange way people who read the books and particularly those who enjoy them, do become linked to the creative process.

This all sounds terribly post-modern, and I’m still not willing to accept suggestions from my readers — that would produce a book designed by a committee. But I don’t really like the idea of the author sitting on some lofty pinnacle, hurling down some text at the plebs far below. And for the Christian author, as one like to think that readers do pray for you, there is a very real two-way process.

So if you enjoy my books, why not pray for the author?

Twin apologies

By , 15 October 2006 10:02 pm

First apology: I assumed no one was reading my site because I didn’t get any responses. It turns out that my web person didn’t set it up properly. Unfortunately, as she is my wife, I cannot really discipline her in the manner that would be appropriate. So apologies for those people who didn’t get a witty response.

Second apology: I haven’t written anything for a few days. In part I’ve been too busy writing the last book in the series, and also I have been signing and sending off copies of the new books: yes, the books are here! (at least, my pre-publication copies are). They really do look splendid. There’s something about a hardback that makes you think you are a serious author, particularly when you drop one on your toe.

Incidentally, if anybody would like a signed postcard to go in their book as a sort of bookmark, next best thing to signed copy, feel free to email me at with your address.

The problem of dedicated fans

By , 10 October 2006 9:54 pm

I have a couple of dedicated fans of the series who correspond on the IAMTHIRSTY website about my books, and speculate on what’s going to happen. Now as they will probably read this I have to say that I’m awed and delighted and flattered by this. But I really don’t know what to do about their speculations. One or two have even been close to the mark. Another couple have even made me wonder whether I shouldn’t have bent the plot that way. It’s a little bit like having someone standing over your shoulder as you write, nudging you and suggesting this or that. One is tempted to yell out “It’s my book, guys, leave off!”

But actually I value them enormously and wouldn’t mind 1000 more like them. Nor would my bank manager. But I do wonder how J. K. Rowling handles it.

Geology and fantasy

By , 4 October 2006 9:03 pm

I sometimes get asked how come someone whose background is geology got into writing fantasy (young earth creationists of course have no problems with this as geology is fantasy as far as they’re concerned). The answer is, I think, that geology more perhaps than any other science does require feats of the imagination. So today out with my students looking at Carboniferous Limestone and its fossils, I was trying to get them to make the mental leap from these grey rocks with their broken up shell fragments to the warm, blue tropical seas filled with life, hundreds of millions of years ago. It’s not an easy thing to do; I could hear the cogs whirring.

Having myself spent 30 years or so doing endless exercises like this, I don’t find it too hard to make my imagination do quite considerable leaps when I look at rocks. I like to think that I use very similar mental muscles when dealing with fantasy. So, budding writers, don’t neglect the sciences — they stretch the mind.

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