Books That Inspire – Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

July 26, 2010

Sherlock Holmes is arguably the greatest fictional character ever created.  He is the original master detective able to outwit and bring to justice the most devious criminals.  His creator Arthur Conan Doyle became a major innovator in the field of crime writing using forensic science and painstaking methods of deduction to thwart Holmes adversaries and astound his readers.  His model of the clever detective has been copied by countless crime writers ever since, but the power of the original character lives on.

The new BBC series, “Sherlock”, is a case in point but it must be hoped that Monday’s episode, “A Study in Pink”, will drive audiences back to the original title where “pink” is “scarlet”.

Conan Doyle’s collection of short stories under the title “Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes” was meant to be the last featuring the famous detective.  It is ironic that the penultimate adventure in this series, “The Navel Treaty,” featured the town Woking, home of Peatmore Press, as the final story describes the confrontation between Holmes and his arch enemy Moriarty above the Reichenbach Falls, since it inspired a similar scene in Peatmore’s first publication, “Cogrill’s Mill”.

The final story, called the Final Problem, was also Conan Dole’s Problem as he wished to be rid of his tiresome creation.  But such was the public clamour on reading of Sherlock Holmes’s demise that he was forced to bring him back to life.  Thus the character became transformed from mere hero to a literary god.

Ebook Publishing

July 20, 2010

The revolution in digital publishing means that there are now new platforms available to self publishers that make a welcome addition to the traditional hardback and paperback formats.  POD companies require pdf file templates so the transformation of these into ebooks is an easy step.  The growing use of mobile phones, PDAs, the Apple iPad and readers such as Amazon’s Kindle mean that these are in popular demand.  To take advantage of these innovations it is now more important than ever for the new publisher to network with others in the book producing industry.

On 15th July there was a digital publishing drinks night at the Chocolate Bar in Soho that proved highly informative.  It seems that the preferred industry ebook format is epub and this is utilised by most of the new mobile apparatus.  Apparently there is little chance of your book being taken up by readers such as the iPad or Kindle unless it is in this format; but to be taken on by Apple for the iPad more hoops have to be jumped because it is necessary to deal with middle men and distributors without whom no negotiation can take place.

Books that inspire writers to write

July 13, 2010

Writers are always readers first.  Novelists write fiction because they love stories and story telling.

At the foremost of these stories is the Odyssey.  It has everything action, adventure, humour and romance.  Most of all it has a fallible hero who is up against it.  I read it many times as a teenager and in my early twenties.  I have lost count how many times but it must be at least twenty years since I last read it.  I will read it again but as I get older I realise there are so many wonderful tales waiting to be read and enjoyed.

The first book I remember reading that was not a picture or comic book was “The Dog Caruso and his Master” by R. M Ballantyne.  I found it in the library at Hanham Church Primary School when I must have been nine or ten years old.

At the time westerns were the most popular genre for small boys on TV and Saturday morning cinema.  I played cowboys and Indians with my brother, sisters and friends, on my own or with toy model figures.  My imagination was often in the Wild West.

Popular on TV at that time was Champion the “Wonder Horse; a series about a boy, his cowboy uncle, his dog and the magnificent wild stallion he befriended.  Therefore it was easy for Ballantyne’s story about Dick, his bold Newfoundland dog and tamed mustang to hold me entranced.  I knew then that I wanted to know about more adventures.  I wanted to live them myself and if I could not do that I would make them up.

Keith Jahans

Editor, Peatmore Press

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