I think my first newsletter began along the lines of: “Wow, what a year.”
So for newsletter number two, let’s look ahead to 2016. What’s coming, and what’s happening?
Shortly before the events of Broken Promise begin, Promise Falls private investigator Cal Weaver finds himself trying to solve the murder of a high school student that is disturbingly similar to his best friend’s short story assignment.
The ebook novella, Final Assignment, which brings back characters from other Promise Falls novels, and introduces someone who will play a large part in the trilogy, is already out in the UK, but will be released in North America on January 12. US readers can pre-order here and Canadian readers can pre-order from Amazon or Kobo.
The paperback release of Broken Promise, the first novel in the Promise Falls trilogy, is slated for March 1 in North America, and February 25 in the UK. Book two in the trilogy, Far From True, will be along on March 8 in North America, and April 21 in the UK.
And in plenty of time for next Christmas, The Twenty-Three, the conclusion, will be available. It’s coming in November in North America, and October in the UK. The paperback editions of Far From True will be along about a month before each of those hardcover releases.
“Best Of” Mention
‘Tis the season for “Best Of” lists, and I was happy to see that The Strand magazine has put Broken Promise at #4 in its list of the top dozen crime thrillers of the year. Their #1 pick was The Killing Kind by Chris Holm.
Where I Know I’ll Be
Where I might be going to promote the books is still in the works, but this much I do know: I will be doing a Canadian tour in early March for the release of Far From True, which will kick off in Vancouver at the new Cuffed crime fiction festival.
Details are being posted as they become available. If you’re in the Vancouver area, this is worth checking out.
In April I’ll be at festivals in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and Picton, Ontario. Details are still being worked out, so I’ll let you know more in a future newsletter. You can also keep tabs on me at www.linwoodbarclay.com and on Twitter and finally, on Facebook.
More on writing . . . In some new directions
When I returned from touring in September, I threw myself into a minor rewrite of The Twenty-Three. When that was finished, I went back to a project I began three years ago. It’s a novel for kids, probably in the age 9-13 range. I got about 13,000 words done back in 2012, put it aside, and in October, wrote another 34,000 words. The book is intended as the first of a trilogy. We’re now seeing who might be interested in publishing it. More on this as details become available.
Once I’d finished that, I tried something totally different. I wrote a screenplay. A Canadian film and TV director by the name of Gail Harvey is hoping to turn my shorter novel Never Saw it Coming into a movie. Gail has directed, among other things, many episodes of Murdoch Mysteries. I agreed to adapt my novel for film. So I downloaded the Final Draft screenwriting program, and in about ten days, wrote my script. But it’s not a final draft, as the program might suggest, but a first one. Again, I’ll let you know more about this project as it progresses.
In France, the TV network TF-1 has my novel No Time for Goodbye officially “in development” for a TV movie. It’s still early days, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Authors Talking: Ian Rankin and Stephen King
When Ian Rankin was taking his selfie before his huge audience in Toronto, the ghost of Linwood Barclay wandered into the frame at just the wrong time.
I had a great time the other night at a Toronto library event, interviewing author Ian Rankin while he was in Canada promoting Even Dogs in the Wild. Ian is not only one of the best crime writers around – and has been for some time – but he’s also one of the nicest guys in the business. Ian’s hugely popular in Canada, and the Toronto event, which attracted about 600 people, sold out in fifteen minutes.
Funniest moment? We got talking about writing sex scenes, which Ian tends to avoid, preferring to leave things to the reader’s imagination. That led to a discussion about writer Lawrence Block. We’re both huge Block fans – and Block’s not afraid to mix plenty of erotica in with the mystery. We’d both just read his latest novel, The Girl with the Deep Blue Eyes, which doesn’t hold back at all.
“It’s like a manual,” I said.
With Ian Rankin in the green room just before our on stage chat in Toronto. He’s the taller one.
Speaking of nice guys: if you had told me, back when I was sitting in a Toronto theater in 1976 with my fiancé, Neetha, being scared to death watching Carrie, that my name would end up in a Stephen King novel, I’d have said I thought that unlikely. But in King’s latest collection of short stories, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, there’s a reference to me in a creepy short story called “Morality”. A teacher is so drained from his job, he cannot get to his writing at night. “Many nights the most creative thing of which he found himself capable was reading a few chapters of the latest Linwood Barclay.” Okay, it’s not quite like Alexander McCall Smith making Ian Rankin an actual character in his 44 Scotland Street books, but it’s still enough to give me a thrill.
My thoughts on three movies based on iconic characters
When I was a kid, my three favourite thrills were Mission: Impossible, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and the latest James Bond movie. In 2015, they were all back. Tom Cruise returned in the fifth Mission movie, which I saw, and enjoyed. And we were in the theater for the opening day of Daniel Craig’s latest, and possibly last, outing as Bond in Spectre. The movie has had mixed reviews, but it had everything I want in a Bond movie. A good story, a nasty-piece-of-work villain, great set pieces, gorgeous photography, beautiful women. Thoroughly enjoyed it, although I missed Judi Dench as M. She gets about fifteen seconds. Judi Dench is my all-time favourite Bond girl.
While in London I found this poster for a Man from U.N.C.L.E movie. It’s framed now and hanging in my office at our place in Prince Edward County, Ontario.
But the movie I was most looking forward to was U.N.C.L.E. I credit the TV show with inspiring me to write. At the age of 11 or 12, I was typing up thirty- to forty- page novellas based on the adventures of Solo and Illya. The Guy Ritchie film departed a lot from the show, but I was okay with that. The first twenty minutes are great, the film lags a bit for the next forty, then takes off until the end. It’s a lot of fun. Given that it’s an origin story, the crime-fighting agency U.N.C.L.E. isn’t even formed until the last minutes of the film. The movie was clearly intended to kick-start a franchise, but I have my doubts that’ll happen. It didn’t perform that well at the box office. I think it hurt that it came out when Mission: Impossible was still going strong. How many rehashes of 1960s spy shows do you need in one summer? But fingers crossed they’ll do another one.
Sunday nights mean . . . television and other bingeing
At 9 p.m., there’s Homeland, The Good Wife, The Leftovers and The Walking Dead. At 10, there’s The Affair. Thank goodness for AppleTV and DVRs.
And how would I rank these shows? The Affair is interesting but sometimes bores and annoys me. The Good Wife, a solid drama for years, seems pretty silly this year. Something is off. The Walking Dead remains grisly fun. Homeland is totally on top of its game. Who needs Brody?
And the best show on TV that no one is talking about? The Leftovers.
We also binge-watched the new Netflix, Marvel Comics show Jessica Jones. Six episodes in, it seemed, every bit as good, or better, than Daredevil. But from then on, the show seemed to spin its wheels. I don’t think they had enough story for thirteen episodes. They should have done seven or eight.
Reflecting on Paris
It used to be a major event if we got to Paris. My wife Neetha and I first went there a couple of years after we got married, around 1980, then a very long time went by before we got there again. In 2003, The Toronto Star, where I was a humour columnist at the time, sent our entire family over. I wrote a series of articles under the title of “The Barclays’ Last Family Vacation”. Our kids were in their late teens, and it seemed unlikely we’d ever be doing a major trip like that all together again.
But then around 2009 my books started coming out in translation in France, and they’ve done very well, so we’ve been over there almost every year since for one thing or another. We’ve gotten to know the city – at least the central part – well enough that when we go now, it’s a bit like going home. We have our favourite restaurants and shops and places to hang out. And we don’t have to open a map app on our phone to find them.
But the real joy has been the publishing friends we have made at Belfond and J’ai lu. They’ve been so supportive, and taken such good care of us when we’ve been over for events. They are absolutely terrific people.
So when the terrorist attacks happened, our thoughts turned not just to Paris, but to our friends. From what I’ve been able to find out, they’re all okay, but it doesn’t make the events any less tragic. These are scary times, but what can you do but carry on with your lives? Paris has been through worse, and it will get through this, too.
Bring on the holidays . . .
This time of year, many people will set up a toy train under the Christmas tree. Nothing says the holidays like a Lionel train circling the base of the tree.
At our house, trains are a year-round thing. Sure, there will be one under the tree, but there’s always one – well, dozens – running around in one special room we have in the basement – our train room, which is about 15 feet square.
Recently, our son Spencer, with his new GoPro camera, was able to film our model train layout from a very different perspective. He put the camera on the train itself, and we got to see the layout from the point of view of a passenger, and toward the end, of the engineer. You can watch it on YouTube.
Right near the end, look for a very scary giant author watching the train go by.
I want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and very Happy New Year. Here’s hoping you find plenty of books under the tree, or wherever you find your presents – maybe even a copy of Broken Promise.