I had lunch today with Michael, my editor at Canelo, to discuss Son of Zeus, the first book in my new Heracles series. He suggested a few changes to the text, but they were only minor so I’m hoping to have it ready for the next stage – copy editing – by mid-February.
We also discussed the cover, which might feature the Hydra or the Nemean Lion. That very much depends on what the artist brings to the discussion. As I’ve said in previous blogs, I don’t have much involvement in cover design, as this is best left to people who know what they’re doing. However, I did suggest giving the artist a few pages of text from different scenes in the book, to help his portrayal. Apparently, this doesn’t often happen when designing covers, which doesn’t surprise me. How many books have you read (including mine!) where the cover bears no resemblance at all to what goes on in the book?
Here’s what Michael had to say about Son of Zeus after he had finished reading it last week:
“Thank you so much again for sending through SON OF ZEUS so promptly and apologies for the wait on getting feedback! Once again you have done it and written a brilliant, brilliant book: it absolutely captures the myth of Heracles but it does something much more difficult as well, it captures the man. It’s got everything, and I think takes things in directions that I didn’t quite expect. And it has all the hallmarks of a great Glyn Iliffe novel: fabulous and memorable characters across the cast, pitch-perfect battle scenes, incredibly polished prose that is both descriptive, urgent and in incredible condition, a unique blend of history and fantasy. Seriously well done!”
I don’t usually travel to London more than once a year, but this year looks like being different. I’ve already paid a visit to the Harry Potter studio tour in Leavesden (that was just before Christmas, so not strictly this year, but close enough), and today to St Pancras. We’ve bought tickets to watch the stage production of Aladdin in March, and I’ve also been invited to a get-together in April, arranged by Canelo to meet their staff and some of the other authors they publish. I’m very much looking forward to that, as writing can feel a bit isolated sometimes and it’ll be nice to chat to meet a few others who are in the same game.
As I was close to King’s Cross Station, I visited the Platform 9¾ shop. Very expensive, but great to look around. I bought some Ravenclaw socks and gloves, and a bar of Platform 9¾ chocolate for my youngest daughter’s birthday in March.
Films watched this week include High Noon, the 1952 classic with Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly, which I think was the first film to be depicted in real time. Even the kids liked it. Five stars! Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a great film from perhaps the greatest movie decade. Directed by John Hughes (Breakfast Club is in my top ten films of all time), I love the way Matthew Broderick addresses the camera with such confident ease. Another five stars. And White House Down, which came up while channel-hopping. A bit too schmaltzy and clichéd for me – two stars.
I’m continuing to enjoy Band of Brigands. Very interested to read that the first time tanks were used in battle, they were a bit of a flop. Unfortunately, they were hurried into action before the crews were properly trained – most of them hadn’t even seen battle before, and the shell-cratered wreck of no-man’s land was very different to the grassland they’d been used to driving about on. No tactics had been developed, no training in tank-infantry cooperation, and most of the tanks broke down or ditched before they could properly get into action. Most of the infantry looked on them as a joke for quite some time afterwards.
I also bought Goodbye to All That, Robert Graves’s autobiography about his school years and his time as an officer in the Great War. I adore his Greek Myths and I, Claudius books, so can’t wait to get into this. I’ve now started on the book of Isaiah in the Bible, one of the most important of the Old Testament prophets.