A Life Of Fiction IX

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work before purchasing it on the Kindle store; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.

Playing with other’s toys: Occasionally, in the past, I have had the urge to write new tales of characters originally created by other novelists, primarily Sherlock Holmes and Fu Manchu. I have always been a big Sherlock Holmes fan, and I used to read the Fu Manchu novels of Sax Rohmer. I have also done a ‘re-imagining’ of Varney the vampire for the 21st century.

I am not alone in writing novels featuring other character’s protagonists. The great Kingsley Amis, using the pen name of Robert Markham, wrote a few James Bond novels, long before Sebastian Faulks and William Boyd. It’s been years since I read Colonel Sun, and I must admit that I can hardly recall anything about the novel.

Sherlock Holmes is another character which has had new tales by a great number of authors, including Adrian Conan Doyle, Isaac Asimov, Stephen Baxter, August Derleth, Dorothy L Sayers and Colin Dexter. (I really liked House of Silk, by Anthony Horowitz, even if the subject matter is not something which Conan Doyle would have written.)

Dracula is another character whose tales have been extended by other authors. I have no idea just how many non-Stoker novels there have been.

This shows that I am not alone in wanting to play with other author’s creations. There is a desire to tell more tales with these iconic characters. It’s like ah, give me a go, I want to play. And some interesting books have been written as a result. There is a need to carry on the tales of those characters. As an author I find the whole thing very interesting, the need to write about creations which are not your own.

My Fu Manchu novels may never be published, as the character is still under copyright. But I wrote the two novels as much for myself as anybody else. There were a couple of stories which I felt needed to be told, so I wrote them when that fire of creation still burned brightly inside of me. Had I waited for them to come out of copyright I might have died myself, as I’m no longer all that young. The desire, the need to write them would certainly have gone out of me.

In the end all of my novels are written for myself, whether featuring original characters or not. I write about things which I find interesting. In addition to the works featured above, I have the kernel of an idea for a novel featuring the Phantom, the Shadow, Tarzan and Doc Savage fighting the Nazis. All of those heroes are under copyright. So, if I ever do get around to writing that project, don’t expect to even see it on Kindle any time soon.

Perhaps, one day, some author in the distant future will tell new stories of my favourite creations, Briggs and Prenderghast, a new novel featuring them coming out some seventy years after my death. I suppose that there can be no greater tribute to a fantasy novelist than to have his characters outlive him…

Finally, in other news, I have added the free short story Bad Effects since the last update.


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