Stories can come to the writer through deep consideration or through random chance. Mr Tumnal came to existence from the latter. As the acknowledgements in the front of the first edition, to be be published in just over two days time, states, it was my friend and former-work colleague Caroline who helped the story into existence through mishearing my poor diction on just another car share to the office…
I remember panicking a few years later that Louis Tumnal’s name had already been taken when I heard of the existence of the children’s entertainer/television presenter Mr Tumble (who coincidentally used to be at school with my cousin – not that I knew this until recently or that it has any relevance to anything else…), but then breathing an audible sigh of relief when I realised the names are different. I like though, when I tell people about the story and that its set in an Oxford-like city, that people think he’s called Louis Tumnus. The loose palay on words with the classic C.S.Lewis character is one that I enjoy along with a whole host of other literary and pop-culture references that are laced throughout the pages.
I think that on those two car journeys, Caroline and I only pieced together the character of Lewis Tumnal, ie. what would later become the imaginary world of Louis Tumnal. What I subsequently did with that very detailed character sketch is entirely the product of my very weird brain.
As we approach publication day, I’m sure that nerves and abject terror will take over again in the next day or so, but right now I am full of excitement. The proof copies of my book arrived today and there is something truly magical about receiving the actual, physical books to handle, and turn over and feel the weight of all those years work in my hands.
Oh yes, right now, I’m full of excitement for it. I just hope that you all feel the same way…
Mr Tumnal is published on Thursday 27 November 2014 as for Kindle and Paperback and is available for pre-order now on Amazon UK and Amazon.com (also available on other local territories).
Originally published at shepline: the journal. You can comment here or there.