Meet the New Year, same as the Old Year…

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So that was 2020, and, safe to say, it wasn’t the year that anyone expected.

It was a year in which I spent an inordinate amount of time indoors. A year of cancelled events and festivals. And of “Venetian Gothic” coming out right in the middle of lockdown.

But, let’s be honest, I was one of the lucky ones. “Gothic” came out to very gratifying reviews (and even made the Literary Review’s list of crime novels of the year). I managed to do a few events online. And, if we had to be indoors all the time, I kept myself busy with writing and some Big Projects : I listened to every Hawkwind studio album in order, followed by every Bach cantata. Then later in the year, I listened to audio recordings of the complete HP Lovecraft, shortly followed by MR James. I don’t know why, but I had this urge – very Nathan-like perhaps – to obsessively complete things. Or perhaps it really was just having the extra time at home.

It was a good year, professionally, in spite of everything. “Das Venezianische Spiel” came out in Germany, and will be followed by “Venezianische Vergeltung” in June of this year, translated again by the wonderful Birgit Salzmann. “The Venetian Masquerade” came out in Bulgaria, retitled (pretty well, I think) as “The Lost Monteverdi”. And perhaps most importantly, my lovely publisher is really committing to the series with further Nathan novels confirmed for 2022, 2023 and 2024. I very much hope there’ll be more beyond that as well.

“The Venetian Legacy” is out on April 1st (and please let the bookshops be – safely – open this time). I hope you enjoy it – and if you want to read an almost spoiler-free prequel, my short story “Deep and Crisp and Even” can be found here (free, no less!) on the Waterstones website:

https://www.waterstones.com/blog/an-exclusive-short-story-by-philip-gwynne-jones

Thanks to all of you who’ve taken the time to write – it’s much appreciated : as I say every year – this wouldn’t be happening without you.

Finally, here’s a plea : there are many, many independent bookshops in the UK in need of support right now. And many debut authors are facing the truly wretched combination of closed shops and cancelled orders. That, I know, must be heartbreaking. Please try and support your local bookshop. And if you know a debut writer, try and give them a shout-out in whichever way you can.

2020, then, wasn’t the year I expected. It was also a lot better than it could have been. I am, I know, one of the lucky ones and I am grateful for that.

I hope 2021 is better for all of you, wherever you may be.

9 comments

  1. So good to read another post from you – and the short story was a delightful little treat. Best wishes for 2021, we all hope that it will be better than 2020. We still hope that we might get back to Venice before this year is over – we think 2020 was the only year for ages we’ve not made it over there for at least a week! Going to get your latest book asap – I’ve certainly been doing my bit to keep indy bookshops going, but during our lockdown, also, oddly enough I’ve started reading from the first in sequence, all the works on my well-stocked shelves by one writer alone … then the same with another! /not deep or profound always, but it’s a different experience, especially when the collection goes back decades! Just mooched through the Michael Dibdin section, then Ian Rankin, then Phil Rickman….then kept going.
    Glad there’s another book come April. Do keep on writing, so I can keep on reading!

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    1. Thanks Ella…I hope you’ll be able to make it over here in 2021. Later in the year, perhaps, but I hope it’ll be possible.

      It’s interesting what we read in lockdown…like you, I’ve been going back to old favourites. Oh, and I’m glad you like Phil Rickman…I’m very jealous of the central concept of his novels, I wish I’d thought of it! And he’s a lovely chap as well. Stay well, stay safe and all good wishes!

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      1. Yes, interesting ideas in Rickman’s work. Glad you say his personality is nice, as well. A friend of mine, a great fan of a popular writer, went to great pains to get a book signed at an event, and later was taken to something linked, by a colleague, – where the friend heard the famous write being very disparaging about the “fans”.
        I’m afraid I’m a compulsive reader, and seem to get all the works by a writer if I enjoy the first book that I encounter. As well as the one’s mentioned, I did an interesting exercise in how tastes and acceptability of ideas can change – I found a box of old books that had been my mother’s, by Monica Dickens,(descendant of Charles Dickens, rather popular novelist in 1950s early 60s) and skimmed through them and the casual use of some terms then that would now have public book-burnings going on, is ….. well, shall I say, “interesting”.
        So please keep on writing – I’ve managed to make a bit more shelf-space recently.

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