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The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Author Interview – Mark Mower

Throughout the Kickstarter campaign, we will be adding brief interviews highlighting the talented authors who have contributed to the anthology. Today we have the excellent Mark Mower.

How did you first get introduced to Sherlock Holmes?

My passion for tales about Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson began at the age of twelve, when I watched an early black and white film featuring the unrivalled screen pairing of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. Hastily seeking out the original stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and continually searching for further post-Canonical stories, this has been a lifelong obsession of mine.

What was the inspiration for your pastiche?

My story features in Part XVI of the anthology and is entitled, ‘The Spectral Pterosaur’. I wanted to relay a story that had a supernatural feel but wasn’t about human ghosts or vampires. As part of a school project, my daughter happened to be researching the life of Mary Anning, the pioneering amateur fossil collector who spent her life discovering ‘curiosities’ like the head of an ichthyosaur and contributed much to the developing science of palaeontology. Fascinated by her work and reading more about nineteenth century dinosaur discoveries, the story emerged quite naturally.

What is your story about? Where and when does it take place?

The tale is set in the 1880s. Holmes and Watson receive an unexpected visit from Inspector Stephen Maddocks of Scotland Yard. The weary detective claims to have seen a terrifying and “unearthly vision” while on guard duty at the British Museum’s Natural History building. When the dutiful inspector then succumbs to an immediate and fatal heart attack, our heroes are prompted to investigate what has given rise to ‘The Spectral Pterosaur’.

What do you believe readers will most enjoy most about your tale?

The story has many period details and is set primarily within what is now London’s Natural History Museum – an atmospheric location for any Victorian tale. As well as explaining the early history of palaeontology, the narrative has a good plot twist and something of a red herring (in this case not fossilised).

Which is your favourite story from The Canon and why?

It has to be ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ for its brooding, visual portrayal of Dartmoor and epic storyline. In my first non-fiction book, ‘Suffolk Tales of Mystery & Murder’, I wrote a chapter about the regular reports of mysterious big cats being seen in the county. When doing some media interviews for the book launch, I was asked about the possible connection between the legend of ‘Black Shuck’ (an infamous East Anglian Devil Dog that was seen in Suffolk during the sixteenth century) and more contemporary sightings of anomalous big cats. It occurred to me then that Black Shuck has a lot more in common with my favourite fictional hound…

Any upcoming projects?

My third collection of pastiches, ‘Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Legacy’, will be published in November 2019 and is already available for pre-order! Beyond that, I’m working on a fourth book with more intriguing tales that are designed to contribute in some small part to the lasting memory of two extraordinary men who once occupied that setting we have come to know and love as 221B Baker Street.

Click here for more details on the Kickstarter campaign.

9781787054325

MX XVI front cover large

 

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The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Author Interview – Tim Gambrell

Throughout the Kickstarter campaign, we will be adding brief interviews highlighting the talented authors who have contributed to the anthology. Today we have the excellent Tim Gambrell.

How did you first get introduced to Sherlock Holmes?

At the age of 8, I saw The Hound of the Baskervilles dramatised on BBC TV over four Sundays and fell in love with it. The adaptation starred Tom Baker, who I’d adored as Dr Who and also adored as Holmes. I was disappointed he didn’t get to do any more stories. About 5 years later, at school, I finally read the original novel after pressure from my English teacher, Mrs Barrett, to stop reading Dr Who books, which weren’t sufficiently well written in her view.

What was the inspiration for your pastiche?

I wanted to write a horror story, something macabre and gruesome but not needlessly bloody or excessive.

What is your story about? Where and when does it take place?

It’s about the ghost of a profligate old lady who haunts her creditors. It takes place in London – largely around Whitechapel – in the late 1880s.

What do you believe readers will most enjoy most about your tale?

Hopefully they will enjoy the characters and guessing what is actually going on with the hauntings.

Which is your favourite story from The Canon and why?

The Hound of the Baskervilles. I re-read it annually these days, and still get huge enjoyment from it. The text literally drips with atmosphere, mystery and fin de siecle menace. I think it has everything one could want from a Holmes mystery / adventure story.

Your favourite Sherlock Holmes-related place?

About 20 years ago I used to walk Baker Street daily on my way from Bryanston Square, where I was staying with friends, to High Holborn, where I was working. The street has a real presence. However, I have always  loved Devon (we moved to Exeter in 2015) and the unforgiving landscape of Dartmoor is firmly fixed in my heart.

Tell us three things about yourself that few people would guess?

1: I have a wife, two small boys, 2 small cats and 7 chickens. Only some of these lay eggs.

2: I have all my own hair and teeth. So far.

3: I once received a personal phone call from the actor David Suchet.

4: I can’t count.

Any upcoming projects?

Yes! Thanks for asking. I’ve just recently had my first novel published in the (Dr Who spin-off) Lethbridge-Stewart range from Candy Jar books. It’s also been re-told as a complementary book in their younger readers range, The Lucy Wilson Mysteries, which is due out in August. More details here on the Candy Jar website.http://www.candy-jar.co.uk/books/lucywilson&thebledoecadets.html

Click here for more details on the Kickstarter campaign.

tim gambrell cover

MX XVI front cover large

 

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The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Author Interview – Roger Riccard

Throughout the Kickstarter campaign, we will be adding brief interviews highlighting the talented authors who have contributed to the anthology. Today we have the excellent Roger Riccard.

How did you first get introduced to Sherlock Holmes?

First introduced to Sherlock Holmes via the Book of the Month Club as a teenager in the late ‘60’s.

What was the inspiration for your pastiche?

After watching the outstanding Sherlock Holmes Granada TV series with Jeremy Brettt and Edward Hardwicke, I felt I now had a real handle on the characters, especially since Watson was no longer portrayed as the buffoon of the Nigel Bruce era.

Having completed two novels, I was looking for inspiration and decided to use a short story I had written for the Sherlockian E-Times and build upon it, thus creating Sherlock Holmes Adventures for the 12 Days of Christmas. This collection of twelve short stories inspired my current project;

A Sherlock Holmes Alphabet of Cases. Volume Three (K-O) is due out this Fall. This has tales ranging from 1881 to 1900 and involves international intrigue (The Kaiser Role and The Origami Mystery); secret messages (The Trinity Leprechaun and the Origami Mystery); the original ‘domestic complication’ of Mrs. Cecil Forrester (The Monique Mystery) and a visiting American with a mystery of his own (The Notable Musician).

What do you believe readers will most enjoy most about your tale?

My goal in all the stories is to have the reader see things through Watson’s eyes and to build upon the Watson-Holmes relationship. As smart as Holmes is, he needs Watson’s temperament and ability to be ‘a conductor of light” to help him function socially within a society that is far below his intellectual capacity.

Which is your favourite story from The Canon and why?

My favorite canonical story is the Adventure of the Abbey Grange. In addition to brilliant deductions, Holmes sympathizes with the real culprit and walks that fine line wherein he gives Inspector Hopkins the necessary clues, but refuses to solve the case for him, He shows compassion for the wronged woman and her saviour and gives Watson the highest of compliments when he appoints him as the representative of a British jury.

Your favourite Sherlock Holmes-related place?

My favorite Holmes-related place is 221B Baker Street. It is there where most adventures begin and often end. It is where we see the best interactions between Holmes and Watson, as well as Mrs. Hudson in her mother-hen role. The indexes, the chemical table, the Persian slipper, the jackknife pinned to the correspondence and the ever-present pipe, filling the room with a blue haze as the detective runs his observations and deductions through his mind, these are the things that help define Holmes.

Tell us three things about yourself that few people would guess?

As to myself and things people may not guess: I am a baseball aficionado, having played in college and trying out for the California Angels. I also enjoy old movies from the 30’s and 40’s, mostly comedies with Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, in addition to John Wayne westerns. I also am a big fan of both movie and Broadway musicals brought to film in the Golden Age of the 50’s and 60’s. Finally, my wife, Rosilyn, led me into singing with a group that entertains seniors in retirement homes. Often with tunes from those same Broadway shows.

Any upcoming projects?

As far as upcoming projects: A Sherlock Holmes Alphabet of Cases. Volume Three (K-O) is due out this Fall. Volume Four of the Alphabet of Cases is due out in 2020 and the finale, Volume Five, the year after that. I also have what I hope will be a unique volume written from Holmes perspective in my long-range plans.

One book I’m especially proud to plug, in addition to my current work, is the E-reader version of Sherlock Holmes Twelve Days of Christmas, as it contains the whole set, rather than the paperback version which came out in two volumes. (Personal note: My favorite story is The Three French Henchmen)

Click here for more details on the Kickstarter campaign.

roger riccard  MX XVII front cover large

 

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Orlando Pearson and The Redacted Sherlock Holmes – Author interview

Orlando Pearson has published fifteen new Sherlock Holmes stories in the first three books of his series, The Redacted Sherlock Holmes.

Volume IV, with five more stories, is being published in October. His stories have been described as marvellously entertainingclever, thought provoking, terrific fun by the Church Times and they have started to appear in German and Italian.We caught up with him at his home in South West London.

Mr Pearson, why is your series called The Redacted Sherlock Holmes?

The stories cover cases that were too scandalous to publish in Holmes’s life-time and had to be held back or redacted– so they cover political events, Holmes’s espionage work in both World Wars including his involvement with the code breakers at Bletchley Park, and human activities which Watson was unable to set before the conservative public of his lifetime.

We are fortunate that the embargo on their publication can now be lifted

What can you tell us about the latest book in the series?

As with Volumes I to III, there is a mixture of inspirations.

There is the true story of a 1930’s tennis player imprisoned by the Nazis and also featuring Hermann Göring, price comparison websites, Elgar’s Enigma Variations, Brexit, and a sequel to The Hound of the Baskervilles set twenty years after the original story.

Brexit? Price comparison websites? Arent they a bit anachronistic?

I think Sherlock Holmes is a bit like the Bible and Shakespeare – relevant at all times and in all places.

That applies in particular to the Brexit story where, after a vote to leave the Entente Cordiale in 1904, Holmes tries to negotiate the union of the United States and the United Kingdom which he proposed in The Noble Batchelor first published in 1892.

Maybe involving Holmes in events with a modern-day parallel is to invite criticism, althoughThe Alcock Report, a story about an investigation into a war in the Middle East, was hugely popular in Volume II.

Personally, I welcome controversy as that means that people have read my work! I am amused that the two reviews on Amazon of A Study in Red, White and Blue express diametrically opposed opinions of it.

And price comparison websites?

For the price comparison websites story, the great economist, John Maynard Keynes, plays a starring role in Holmes’s investigation of what price comparing publications were up to in the first decade of the 20th century.

The practices described in On Constant Luck are entertaining but obviously have no relevance to the better ordered second decade of the 21st century in which we are lucky enough to live.

And the Hound is back?

My sequel is set in 1909 – so twenty years after the events in the original story.

I think my approach to Sherlock Holmes in this story is much more iconoclastic than that in the two stories with modern inspirations, as The Hounding of Peers Baskerville calls into question Holmes’s handling of the original Baskerville case.

And there is a music story?

I am a big Classical music fan and so each of the books published by MX has a music story – one on Bach and Vivaldi, one on Mozart, and in Volume IV one on Holmes’s role in the composition of Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations.

Holmes was a superb violinist and wrote a monograph on the motets of the 16th century Dutch composer, Orlando de Lassus, said by experts to be the last word on the subject.

He is thus well suited to conduct a musical case.

What are you doing to launch your book?

There will be a launch party at 6.30 pm for a 7.00 pm start on 28 November at Truckles in London WC1A 2JR and launch events at The Haselmere Bookshop – only a few miles from Undershaw – on 2 December and at Barton’s Bookshop of Leatherhead on 9 December.

There is also a prize of a free copy of Volume IV for the first person who can identify all the faces on the cover above. Write to me at OrlandoDLPearson@gmail.com.

What else have you been doing?

All the stories from Volumes I to III are now available as audio books in about thirty different voices read by the brilliant Steve White. It has been fantastic working with him and we are busy on Volume IV.

I am also writing stories for what I hope will be a Volume V next year.

The Redacted Sherlock Holmes (Volume IV) is available for pre order from all good bookstores including  Amazon USA, Amazon UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.

redacted sherlock holmes

 

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Interview with Kate Workman, author of Rendezvous at the Populaire where Sherlock Holmes tackles the Phantom of the Opera

Rendezvous at the PopulaireWe caught up with Kate Workman from New Jersey ahead of the May launch of her debut novel ‘Rendezvous at the Populaire’ in which a badly injured Sherlock Holmes is coaxed out of retirement to tackle the Phantom of the Opera. Kate explains that pitting two literary giants against each other was too tempting to resist.

What was the main inspiration for the book?

My main inspiration for Rendezvous at the Populaire was simply that I love the idea of Holmes and the Phantom not only matching wits, but potentially joining forces.  They are both giants in the literary world and any novel that features them both has the making of one incredible novel.

Which is your favourite aspect of the book?

My favorite aspect of my novel was being able to get into Holmes’s and the Phantom’s heads.  As Watson writes in the last segment, “The only thing I knew for sure was that Holmes and Erik understood one another. They were both remarkably similar men, outcasts of, yet so well-known within, their worlds.” Being able to write either about, or from the perspective of, these characters was an incredible, and incredibly challenging, experience.

Of all the Holmes stories which is your favourite and why?

Of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I’d have to say The Final Problem and Hound of the Baskervilles. Of other authors, I think The Shadow of Reichenbach Falls by John R. King is my favorite.

When did you first become interested in Sherlock Holmes?

I was about ten and my dad showed me the movie Young Sherlock Holmes.  I was hooked, but it was years later before I started reading Holmes stories and bought the Canon.

If you could meet Arthur Conan Doyle on his forthcoming birthday, what would you ask him?

I just finished reading The Sherlockian, by Graham Moore, which focuses on a period in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s life, so I would probably ask Conan Doyle how much in there is true.  If Sherlock Holmes did become an absolutely hated character who overshadowed everything else Conan Doyle wrote and felt was of more merit than Holmes.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading the first in a trilogy by Lisa Scottoline called Mistaken Identity.

What’s the best aspect of being a Holmes author?

Let’s be honest.  Everyone who writes a novel using a character already in creation is basically writing fan fiction.  At least, that’s how I look at it.  And within that, the best part of writing this is the challenge of keeping the character ‘in character,’ while putting him in a situation that we think up.

How do you view the new adaptation of Holmes in the BBC’s Sherlock?

The BBC’s Sherlock is absolutely amazing.  I love it, I think they did an incredible job modernizing Holmes, and I can’t wait till more episodes come out, because they left off on the worst (or possibly best) cliffhanger I’ve ever seen.

Which other modern day Holmes writer do you most enjoy?

John R. King, Laurie R. King, Sam Siciliano, and Edward B. Hanna.

Rendezvous at the Populaire is available from all good bookstores including Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Kobo and iBooks (iPad and iPhone).

 

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