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David didn’t wade through reams of pages of unpublished manuscripts.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 Many agents insist that their clients don’t read the work of unpublished authors because of the possibility of litigation – not because any author would willingly steal the work of someone else – they have enough ideas of their own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.
Here’s the cover:
Here’s the blurb:
1081. And so the bloody battle for the crown of the Holy Roman Empire begins.
In Constantinople, three factions will go to any length…will kill any number…to seize the throne.
Outside the city’s walls, twin powers threaten a siege that will crush the once-mighty empire forever.
To the west, the bloody forces of the most feared Norman warlord are gathering. In the east, the Ottoman hordes are massing and lust for slaughter.
And in the middle of it all, as the sands of time run out, Hereward and his English spear-brothers prepare to make what could be their final stand . . .
Out this July. Pre-order it now for your favourite bookseller.
If you’re looking for something to do when the sun is shining, there’s this…
And after that, we’re on to the Dark Age, and the truth behind the legend of Pendragon…
Surrounded on all sides by enemies in the Roman Empire, Hereward and the Spear-brothers must fight as never before. We have a Norman adventurer, as that military force continues to spread its tentacles across Europe. And have we forgotten England and our friends and enemies there? No, we haven’t.
This is a turning point in the lives of Hereward and his allies. Here’s the UK Amazon link.
As book five of the Hereward saga (The Immortals – more on that soon) winds its way towards publication in July, I thought I should warn the world that I have just signed a new three-book deal with my publishers, Penguin Random House. Here’s the announcement, as featured in The Bookseller:
Transworld has acquired a new trilogy about the Pendragon bloodline by James Wilde.
Editor Simon Taylor acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to the Dark Age trilogy from Euan Thorneycroft at A M Heath.
Taylor said: “The story of Arthur is timeless and has been told and retold many, many times before but James is going back even further to recount an untold story – that of the dynasty that culminated in this nation’s most enduring legend.
“You could call it the prequel to the Arthurian legend if you like – and James, with his unerring ability to bring period, place, people and, let’s cut to the chase here, sword-shattering battles to life, is just the storyteller to do it.
“The Dark Age trilogy is going to be exciting, action-packed historical fiction at its epic best and I for one can’t wait.”
Pendragon, the first novel in the Dark Age trilogy, is likely to be published in 2016 in hardback, e-book and then paperback editions, said Transworld.
Here… And great company too!
Out in the US in a few short months:
Here’s the just-released cover for Hereward: Wolves of New Rome, out in July.
You can check out the blurb here.
In July, expect to see a brand new Hereward story. It now has a name – Wolves of New Rome – and it follows on seamlessly from the end of End of Days.
Here’s the blurb:
1072 – The great battle has been lost. King William stands victorious. And for the betrayed and abandoned English rebels, the price of their crushing defeat is cruel: exile.
Cut adrift from family, friends, home, their hopes of survival lie with one man, their leader Hereward. But can even that now-legendary hero navigate a safe course across a world torn by war? Their ultimate destination is the jewelled heart of the Christian emperor in the East, the New Rome – Byzantium. Here the English hope to find gold and glory by joining those pledged to protect the emperor, the elite and savage Varangian Guard. But this once-mighty empire is slipping into shadow. Beyond the vast walls, the endless Turkish hordes plan for an attack that could come at any moment. And within the sprawling city, rival factions threaten bloody mayhem as they scheme to seize the crown.
Here begins a new chapter in the stirring tale of England’s forgotten hero. But now the enemies are hidden, their methods bloodier, the battlefield and weapons unfamiliar and to stay alive in this cauldron of plot, betrayal and murder, Hereward and the English must fight as never before.
I’m now looking at seven separate cover designs, trying to choose the best one – all of them are, frankly, excellent.