A great many writers of historical fiction, fantasy and heroic fiction have been inspired by David Gemmell’s evocative writing and muscular plotting. From the publication of his first novel in 1984, he established a position in bestseller lists across the globe and was prolific in his output.
But sometimes it’s very easy to see the work and not the person behind it. What many people don’t realise is how supportive David Gemmell was of many young writers trying to gain a foothold in a notoriously brutal industry. He was tireless in his responses to queries from would-be authors, taking the time to craft personal advice and guidance that would help them on their own personal journey. My friend James Barclay was only one such writer who went on to great things after David offered his initial support.
David didn’t wade through reams of pages of unpublished manuscripts. No writer has the time for that. And in this day and age it’s hugely frowned upon. Many agents insist that their clients don’t read the work of unpublished authors because of the possibility of litigation – not because any author would willingly steal the work of someone else – they have enough ideas of their own that they’ll never have the time to write. But because the way this bizarre, creative business works is that things seep into the vast unconscious, stew, change and eventually bubble to the surface again with no hint of where they came from.
But David was always quick to respond to anyone who contacted him, with a friendly word, or advice on who and how to approach.
Sometimes that’s all you need. Just a word, a nod of the head, a sense that, yes, keep going, we’ve all been there, you can do it.
And on a separate note, and just to update everyone who’s been in touch, I’ve now completed the copy edit of Hereward: The Bloody Crown. It’s on schedule and will be published in July as planned. Here are the details on Amazon.