So far as a master plan for my series of Cornish Detective novels goes, I remain sardonically inclined to think that anything I plan won’t turn out how I think.
As Chinese philosopher Lin Yutang advised: ‘It is important that man dreams, but it is perhaps equally important that he can laugh at his own dreams.‘
Publishing is such a crazy business: writing that’s utter drivel becomes best-selling, while well-written stories languish neglected.
Should things go well, it would be gratifying to see my novels sell respectably, before being snapped up by a television company to be adapted into a crime drama series, which will help sales of the books.
That’s what I’ve been working towards over the last five years. Beyond such pie in the sky thinking, I’m aware that there could be fallout consequences, which I’ve tried to embrace the potential of in these four strange ambitions:
1) My Cornish Detective stories spark off a tourist trail, with readers trying to find the locations crimes happened, where my detective lives, which Indian restaurant he uses, where he had a fight to the death with a kinky art dealer.
After all, this sort of thing happens with successful books. Think of the bookish tourists visiting Sherlock Holmes’ 221B Baker Street in London (and in Pennsylvania).
J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter tales have become the basis for various tourist trails in London and Edinburgh.
King’s Cross Station
The locations in New Zealand chosen for the film adaptation of Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings continue to boost tourism. Living in Cornwall, I’m well aware of the effect successful books have on increasing visitors to places used by Daphne Du Maurier in her ever-popular novels, and, more recently, the television adaptation of Winston Graham’s Poldark series saw the tills ringing. Fans of the Inspector Morse crime novels and television series flock to Oxford where they were set.
2) Have a Wikipedia page, preferably one with a few fibs!
3) Be known as “the writer of”, as in “Paul Whybrow, the writer of the Cornish Detective series.” Inextricably linked in this way might well become tedious and frustrating, but it’s a rarely acknowledged aspect of fame. Just think of successful artists of all types, who are labelled with their most successful work, as if that’s all they’ve ever done.
4) Also, once I’m dead, some crime writer is hired by my publisher to continue my series. Let’s hope it’s someone good!
What, in your heart of hearts, are your secret ambitions as an author?
To have your book title on a T-shirt?
To be besieged by adoring fans at a book signing?
To overhear two readers talking about your book?
For ‘Author’ to be added beneath your name on your gravestone?