I was asked some time ago to write an introduction for The Saint (aka Simon Templar ) - the iconic character in the world-famous series by Leslie Charteris. I chose to write it for 'Follow the Saint' , and I'm delighted to say that this title will be published in August, by Mulholland Books, in paperback and as an ebook. Indeed, many others in the series are already available. And they really do look great.
I confess readily to having been set on my course to be a crime writer at the early age of 8, by my parents supplying me with a stack of 'Saint' books.
I'm still not sure where they got them - we lived on an isolated farming community in East Anglia. Nor whether the intention was to (a) keep me out of trouble with the local kids in the neighbourhood, (b) educate me, or (c) a subtle attempt to steer me towards a useful occupation as a writer. Whichever it was, it worked... sort of. I probably still got into trouble (there was that incident with a catapault, and the raft that didn't float); I loved English but was hopelessly incapable of using numbers (still am); but did become a full-time writer... eventually.
I owe my parents and Leslie Charteris for the last one in equal measure. At the age of 8, I didn't understand all the words, but I certainly got the stories, which were as clear as a bell. I also 'got' the concept of storytelling, and decided that I would just love to do what Charteris did, which was to sit all day and make up stories with guns and heroes 'n heroines and stuff.
I did this first for many years in women's magazines, penning short stories and articles, then latterly, writing full-length novels.
I'm not saying I do it anywhere near as well as Leslie Charteris, but I try my damndest.
If you haven't tried 'The Saint', you certainly should. He was the start of something very, very good.