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a (shy cough) twelve-book deal

I've known about this for some little while but it's only now that my lips have been unsealed.

'Way back in the 1980s and 1990s I wrote alongside Joe Dever the 11 novels and one novella collection to go with Joe's astonishingly successful Lone Wolf gamebooks.

The gamebooks (awarded the Gamemaster International "All Time Great" award in 1991 and Game Book of the Year awards in 1985, 1986 and 1987) have been published in over 30 countries and been translated into 18 languages, and have racked up sales to date of over 10 million copies. The Legends of Lone Wolf, as the novels are called, didn't do (ahem) quite that well, but they were performing pretty healthily when, in the mid-1990s, the publisher pulled the plug on Lone Wolfish enterprises in general in response to the overall downturn in the market for gamebooks. (This downturn affected the novels' sales as well because the publisher had been oh so cleverly marketing them into the gamebook section of bookstores, not the f/sf section . . .)

That was in the UK. In the US, the publisher of the gamebooks released only the first four of the Legends, splitting one of them arbitrarily so that there were five vols in all. I don't think I've got file copies of any of this edition: the production standards were so extraordinarily disgusting that I didn't even like touching the books! The contrast was pretty keen with the UK versions, which had natty Peter Jones covers and were generally pleasing to handle.

Ever since, there's been a fairly dedicated fan following for the Legends, and copies of the UK editions, especially of the later, rarer volumes, have traded on eBay for what I regard as astonishingly high prices. A few years ago the Italian publisher Armenia decided to translate the Legends and release them in the form of five omnibuses; these are pretty damn' handsome, and according to my royalty statements have performed well. For the Italian edition I prepared "director's cut" versions of the texts, re-editing quite a lot and in particular restoring some elements that had been chopped out at a time when our editor, at what was essentially a mainstream children's/YA publisher, couldn't believe anyone would ever want to read a fantasy novel that was over 256 pages long, well maybe 320 at the outside . . .

And now, at last, there's going to be an English-language reissue of the entire set of The Legends of Lone Wolf using those revised texts. Well, more or less: I'm an inveterate tinkerer, so I'll doubtless fiddle with them a bit more . . .

An extra source of joy is that at last the books will be coming from a publisher with expertise in this field: Dark Quest Books, the fiction-publishing offshoot of celebrated games creators Dark Quest (whose publisher, the excellent Neal Levin, is on LJ: dqg_neal
). It's as if they've finally come home.

The plan is to issue the novels at least initially in omnibus form, Italian-style, with the first volume appearing early next year; whether there'll be an individual-volumes version in the wake of the omnibuses will, I imagine, depend upon reader demand for such a thing.

If only I could get hold of a few bottles of Chateau Tesco Grand Cru in this benighted land there'd be champagne corks a-popping in Snarl Towers, I can tell you. This is the first time in my life I've signed a twelve-book contract, and I really like the feeling: more, please.


( 60 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 25th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
Wow, Paul! Coming from a guy (me) who has never signed a single book contract...Wow! Big contrats.
Jul. 25th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)

Many thanks, Marshall!

Big contrats.

Was that supposed to be "Big congrats" or "Big contracts"? :)
(no subject) - marshallpayne1 - Jul. 25th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 25th, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC)
"twelve-book contract, and I really like the feeling: more, please."

From your mouth to the universe's ears!
Jul. 25th, 2009 05:32 pm (UTC)

Well, to my feistily curvaceous, ass-kicking superagent's ears, anyway.
Jul. 25th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
Wow! Congratulations, Paul!
Jul. 25th, 2009 05:32 pm (UTC)

Many thanks!
Jul. 25th, 2009 03:32 pm (UTC)
That's great!
Jul. 25th, 2009 05:32 pm (UTC)

Many thanks!
Jul. 25th, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC)
WOW! WooHoo! A twelve-book deal rocks. Congratulations, and happy tinkering.
Jul. 25th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)

Many thanks, Sophy!

happy tinkering

Yep, that's the worrying part . . .

Jul. 25th, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC)
That's neat. Congrats on the reissue!
Jul. 25th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)

Many thanks!
Jul. 25th, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
Yay for you!
Jul. 25th, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)

Yay for overdraft reduction, really, but . . .

Jul. 25th, 2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
This is the big surprise you've been holding back for all these months now. Congrats mondo! No wonder you've been gliding above the aether. :-)
Jul. 25th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)

This is the big surprise you've been holding back for all these months now.


Congrats mondo!

Many thankings, ma'am!

No wonder you've been gliding above the aether.

Actually, that's more to do with my Krypton heritage . . .
Jul. 25th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, excellent news! Congratulations!
Jul. 25th, 2009 05:34 pm (UTC)

Many thanks, guv!
Jul. 25th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
That's great...congrats!
Jul. 25th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)

Many thanks!
Jul. 25th, 2009 06:34 pm (UTC)
Congrats! This is terrific news!
Jul. 26th, 2009 01:20 am (UTC)

Thanks, kiddo! Am I allowed to call myself a boring old fart now or must I wait until later?

(no subject) - melindadansky - Jul. 27th, 2009 02:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - realthog - Jul. 27th, 2009 02:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 25th, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
Yay! Excellent news. Not even J.K.Rowling can claim a twelve book deal :)
Jul. 26th, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)

She probably can. Many thanks anyway!
Jul. 25th, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
Congratulations. I recommend Freixenet.
Jul. 26th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)

Oodles of thanks, F!
Jul. 25th, 2009 08:07 pm (UTC)
Mazel tovs by the dozen!
Jul. 26th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)

Many thanks!
Jul. 25th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
That's wonderful.
Jul. 26th, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)

Many thanks, ma'am!
Jul. 25th, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)

Thunderbird is nice, I hear. If you can still buy it; I think there was a problem with getting the ethylene glycol out of the radiators they used to "distill" it.
Jul. 26th, 2009 01:25 am (UTC)

Thanks, yunkuns!

"Thunderbird is nice, I hear."

The email program I use?
Jul. 26th, 2009 12:45 am (UTC)
*\0/*! Yay! Aside from the twelve-book contract (for which I am presently expressing extreme professional jealousy) it's about time the Legends books got a rerelease. Many congratulations. I have a bottle of Tesco's rum around here somewhere...
Jul. 26th, 2009 01:26 am (UTC)


I hope the Rio della Tesco don't taste like I remember it tasting . . .
Jul. 26th, 2009 04:02 am (UTC)
Congrats sir!
Jul. 26th, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)

Many thanks! Could I tempt you, kind sir, with review PDFs in due course? If so, I'll pass the message on to the folks at DQ.
(no subject) - charlesatan - Jul. 26th, 2009 10:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - realthog - Jul. 27th, 2009 02:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 26th, 2009 04:46 am (UTC)
Congrats! As a fan of the Legends novels (and incidentally the gamebooks too), this is great news. Many wishes for continued success.
Jul. 26th, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Congrats!

Many thanks, Jon!
Jul. 26th, 2009 06:46 am (UTC)
Champagne or single malt will definitely need to flow the next time we get together. :-)
Hugs and big, big cheers,
Jean Marie
Jul. 26th, 2009 02:05 pm (UTC)

Many thanks, {{JM}}!

"Champagne or single malt will definitely need to flow the next time we get together."

Er, who's paying?
(no subject) - jmward14 - Jul. 26th, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 26th, 2009 09:38 am (UTC)
This is made of awesome! Actually, I'm not sure a 43 yr old man from Stoke can get away with saying that, but what the heck. Congrats, Paul.
Jul. 26th, 2009 02:07 pm (UTC)

I think you can get away with saying that -- besides, I'd always thought you were a 17-year-old Britney Spears lookalike from Hoboken, NJ. The scales have been dashed from my eyes. That'll teach me to believe anything Hutch tells me . . .
Jul. 26th, 2009 03:03 pm (UTC)
Great news! Congrats!
Jul. 26th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)

Many thanks, Nick!
Jul. 26th, 2009 11:47 pm (UTC)
Awesome! Can we place pre-orders soon or what? :)
Jul. 27th, 2009 02:53 pm (UTC)

"Can we place pre-orders soon or what?"

Ha! The best idea is to keep an eye on www.darkquestbooks.com for when pre-ordering becomes available. Of course, I'll be bragging insufferably about it here on LJ as soon as that happens.
Jul. 27th, 2009 12:04 am (UTC)
Wow! Congrats!
Jul. 27th, 2009 02:53 pm (UTC)

Many thanks, Paul!
Jul. 27th, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
Blimey! Congratulations!
Jul. 27th, 2009 02:54 pm (UTC)

Oodles of thanks, ma'am!
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( 60 comments — Leave a comment )