Last week was quite a week, one of those that stand out on the calendar in bright, brilliant red. The great highlight was a couple of days with my closest friend and his wife, in Leeds for a couple of days between France, Germany, London, Bath, Bolton, and Bantry Bay in Ireland. He was between the final of the Bath International Short Story Competition, which he didn’t win, and the literary festival in Bantry, where he has a story in a new anthology. Thomas M. Atkinson. Discover his work, you won’t regret it. He’s a far better writer than I’ll ever be.
He lives in the American Midwest. We talk regularly, but the last time we met was in 2000. I was on my way from Seattle to cover Lotus Fest in Bloomington, Indiana and I spent a night with him. It was an occasion to together the band which had been our introduction to each other.
This time we covered York and Whitby on a glorious weekend of weather. We’re older, more crotchety, but, as in every conversation, it was like picking up where we’d left off, only with visuals. The only bad part? Time was too short.
Then on the Wednesday, I received an email from my agent. The publisher wants to publish my fifth Tom Harper novel, On Copper Street. That makes a thrilling opening to the day. It’s a little different to its predecessors, a bit more meditative. To me it seems like a mix of the best of Tom and Richard Nottingham. But others will offer their judgement.
Later in the day, another email. The other publisher I work with wants to publish my third John the Carpenter novel, set in medieval Chesterfield and currently called The Holywell Dead. This on the basis of the first 4,000 words I’d sent them.
Yes, I sold two books in one day. Staggered myself. I’ll never repeat the feat and it doesn’t matter. I was thrilled. But you know what? It didn’t compare to seeing my closest friend again after all this time. Now we need to start making plans for 2032.
Oh, and I should remind you that the fourth Tom Harper Novel, The Iron Water, is published in the UK on Friday. Just to round everything off perfectly.