I wrote it one December while recuperating from a motorcycle accident. I was ruthless with myself. Every morning, I wrote a chapter, tapping away on my Amstrad word processor with one hand, and didn't allow myself lunch till it was done. Then after lunch, I rewrote yesterday's chapter. Then on Saturdays, I re-read everything I'd done in the week, and on Sunday rewrote it all. The book was finished in three weeks - about the same time it took for my shattered hand to become usable again. (Sadly the bike wasn't so lucky. That was scrapped.) It's unashamedly inspired by Stephen King's The Eyes of the Dragon - not so much the plot, but the tone.
No-one told him the yellow flowers were for the princess, but then, no-one ever tells you anything when you're ten. Gareth was sitting in the loft of the barn, swinging his legs over the edge and thinking gloomy thoughts. To make matters worse, his mother had spanked him in front of the whole Court, and everybody, except of course the King, had laughed at him.
I nearly got it published too, but I turned it down.
Why? Looking back on it, total and utter stupidity.
It was a young teenage fantasy romance, exactly the kind of thing that was huge in the very late 1980s. I submitted it to just one publisher, who loved it, but said that they wanted to do it as a trilogy, because fantasy trilogies were what you did back then. I thought about it for a couple of days, and decided that I didn't really see how the story could continue from there, so I suggested to them that maybe I should write two other unrelated books instead. They said no, and that was the end of that.
Wait, I did what?
A leading publisher offered me - an unknown author - real actual money for two further books as a start of a series, and I said no because I wasn't inspired? These days I'd take that deal instantly, and then figure out what goes into the next two books. Hell, I'd send them a proposal for a trilogy of trilogies. And merchandise. And spin-offs. And versions for every medium ever invented and a few new ones. That's the kind of deal that most aspiring authors would kill for.
As I said, total and utter stupidity.
A couple of weeks ago, I was reading through some fiction submissions, and thinking we should do more novels. (Did I mention I'm part owner of a digital publishing house?) And then I remembered The Yellow Flowers. You know that moment where it dawns on you that you've been even stupider than you realised? It was one of those. I've got a novel of my own sitting right here ready to go. After all, it can't be that bad if someone was prepared to offer me an advance for it and demand more of my work.
So here it is, no longer in a trunk. It'll doubtless get some re-editing in the process of getting re-typed, and then I'm damn well going to publish it. And this time, it'll be The Yellow Flowers, Volume 1.