Monday, 15 September 2008


The third book in the Promises Of Dr Sigmundus trilogy came out in the UK on the 4th September. I have to confess, I didn’t really take much notice of the actual publication date because it was two days before my daughter’s wedding. Don’t get me wrong – I take my writing very seriously – but my daughter’s wedding was always going to come first.

Reading to my two daughters at bedtime was one of the things that motivated me to become a children’s author in the first place – that and working as an English teacher in secondary schools. I found that I enjoyed those books so much more than many of the novels written for adults. One of the reasons for my preference, is that writers for young people never forsake the story. It’s just not possible in our profession. Writers for adults, especially the more self-consciously literary ones, sometimes forget that they also have an obligation to entertain. Children’s writers can’t do that because our audience would melt away faster than snow in Oxford Street.

Despite the fact that the publication of The Mendini Canticle happened while I was taking my eye off the ball, it has been a big deal for me. It was the culmination of a project I first dreamed up over four years ago. The ideas for my novel Jacob’s Ladder and for the Dr Sigmundus trilogy all hit me at the same time and I could see all the way to the end of the four stories but, afterwards much of the detail was shadowy. Here and there episodes stood out but it was like trying to recover a dream.

What followed was several years of hard work recapturing that original vision, getting the ideas down on paper and incorporating all the changes that naturally got built in along the way. Now I’m finally there, it’s like finishing your time at university and stepping slightly nervously out into the world, knowing that you're a changed person

So what’s next for me? Well, I’m working on a series of Victorian ghost stories that I’ve already mentioned in this blog. The first one, The Haunting Of Nathaniel Wolfe, has been published in the UK and I’m finishing off the second draft of the second book right now. And recently I had another one of those nights when some kind of inexplicable starburst took place in my head and I saw the stories of a number of books playing out in my mind, almost like watching a video. So I’m going to be busy in the weeks and months to come. Fortunately, that’s just how I like it.


Susie said...

Dear Brian,

I've translated "The Hollow People" into Portuguese. It's out just now in Portugal. I loved the book and had a great time translating it (work of a few months too..).
My sister (14) and a couple of friends of mine have already read the "Gallowglass" and we can't wait to read "The Mendini Canticle"!
Keep on dreaming, writing and grasping those starbusts :) I hope I can keep on translating them.

Brian Keaney said...

Thanks Susie. I hope so, too

katie said...

Dear Brian,

I'm a huge fan of your The promises of Dr. sigmundus!I read the first two books in a matter of hours, i just couldnt seem to put them down. I just just finished reading both "The Hollow People" and "The Cracked Mirror". And now im literaly dying to read the third book,"The Mendini Canticle" or here the "The Resurrection Fields" But since I live in the US the book hasn't been sold here yet. I was wondering if there was a way that I could get the book here earlier, And also what time the books would be arriving here in the US?
-katie :D

Brian Keaney said...

HI Katie. Great to hear from you. I'm so pleased that you enjoyed the first two books in the Dr Sigmundus trilogy. I don't think The Resurrection Fields will be out in the US until December 2009. I'm sorry about that. It's the US publisher's schedule that determines the publication date. You could always buy The Mendini Canticle from a UK online bookshop such as There are differences between the UK and US editions, apart from the title I mean, but they are mostly differences of vocabulary and editing. A small amount of the text that is in the UK edition has been edited out for the US market. And the US covers are better - at least I think so. But otherwise, it's the same book. I hope that helps.