When I was done for the day, it hit me! The feeling I get at some point in writing each new Holmes story. There are moments in the process when I suddenly feel like one of the luckiest writers in the world. How many writers can say they've had a chance to write their absolute favorite character in the world and see that work published? I consider myself very fortunate to have had that opportunity.
Back in 2008, I was thinking about trying to get into the business of writing. I was looking around online and came across an ad that said, "Pulp writers wanted." I didn't know too much about pulp back then, just that it was a style of fiction, particularly in magazines, that was a popular form of entertainment in the first half of the twentieth century. Of course I'd heard of the major pulp characters like The Shadow and Doc Savage, but that was mostly because I'd read their later incarnations in comic books. Looking back to those times, I'm amazed at what a pulp virgin I was! I knew Conan also from the comics, but hadn't yet read Robert E. Howard's other characters like Kull and Solomon Kane. I had yet to discover one of my now favorite writers, the unmistakably unique HP Lovecraft. There was so much material that I know love that I hadn't yet encountered then. It seems longer, in many ways, than 5 years ago.
But one character who I already knew very well and who is at least related to the pulp world if not, in some opinions, purely a part of it, was Sherlock Holmes. Holmes had been my favorite character for years. I'd first read his adventures as a boy of maybe 9 or 10. I've read all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Holmes mysteries at least once and many of them multiple times. I've seen as many Holmes movies and TV series as I've been able to find, enjoying the work of actors like Arthur Wontner, Basil Rathbone, Ronald Howard, Peter Cushing, Nicol Williamson, Christopher Plummer, Jeremy Brett, and now Benedict Cumberbatch in the role.
Yes, Holmes has been with me for a long time, but I never thought I'd get a chance to really write him and see that work published.
So I responded to that ad, fully expecting to be told to get lost, considering my lack of writing experience at the time. But, to my surprise and delight, Ron Fortier, editor for Airship 27 Productions, answered my email and asked me for a short writing sample. I came up with something quick (it involved a vampire punching Adolph Hitler!) and sent it in. He liked it! I was stunned when Ron got back to me and told me he wanted me to write for his company! And I only got more excited when I realized why his name sounded so familiar. Ron had written some of the Green Hornet comics I'd enjoyed as a kid. Of course, I no longer think of Ron as "The Green Hornet Writer." Yes, that was great work and I'll always be happy I read it, but Ron is now a good friend and a man who's given me more encouragement and great advice over the years than anyone else I know. He's much more to me than the guy who wrote the Green Hornet! Thanks, Ron!
So I was in with Airship 27 and ready to get started. Then the almost unthinkable (in a good way) happened. Ron asked if I'd be interested in contributing to a Sherlock Holmes anthology they were planning. How could I possibly say no? My first writing assignment fulfilled a childhood dream! It doesn't get any better than that!
So now we're in 2013 and I've had more than one Holmes story published. There was "The Massachusetts Affair" in SHERLOCK HOLMES CONSULTING DETECTIVE Volume 1; two stories: "The Adventure of the Injured Inspector" and "The Adventure of the Mummy's Rib" in SHERLOCK HOLMES CONSULTING DETECTIVE Volume 3; and the novel SEASON OF MADNESS in which I got to do a full story starring Dr. John Watson, Holmes' friend and assistant and quite possibly my second favorite fictional character!
And now, very soon, my fourth Holmes story will be available. I won't reveal the title of it here, but you can be sure I'll blog about it when it's available. So I thought it was time to start working on the next one. It won't end there either, because I have ideas for at least two more after that.
In closing tonight's blog entry, I'd like to thank Ron Fortier again for allowing me to do everything I've done when it comes to writing Sherlock Holmes. I also want to sincerely thank Rob Davis, who illustrated all my Holmes stories; Mark Maddox, Brian McCulloch, and Shane Evans, who worked on the covers; Pedro Cruz, who illustrated the Dr. Watson novel; and the other writers whose work was included in those books.
Finally, here are the covers from the books I just mentioned, along with Amazon links for anyone who hasn't read them yet!