It’s been a year, I’m afraid, since I updated this page. But I can report it was a good, healthy year for me. Fatal Legacy was published, while I completed the next Albia novel, Death on the Tiber. That has now gone through its main editing processes and only the last production stages remain.
I had written an introduction for Voices from Rome, an anthology of short works that had previously only been available digitally. This is now being published, though I have a caveat for readers in Canda and the USA: copies have to be physically taken across the Atlantic (which I always joke is by rowing boat) so publication there can’t be until February 2024.
READERS’ CHOICE To be memorialised on the website, send your favourite lines from any of my books that don’t have a reader’s favourite quotation already.
Work in Progress
I am beginning to think about the 13th Flavia Albia. I had a thought that we might travel south this time to see the reconstruction after the Vesuvius eruption – but that was before the latest press reports that the region was experiencing extra earthquakes, with signs of volcanic stress in the vast caldera that is the Bay of Naples… We shall see! I have been told for the past forty years that a new eruption is overdue and it hasn’t happened – but the longer this goes on, the bigger it is supposed to be. Just my luck to be sipping a Campari and soda when the top of the mountain blows off again. Plans are in hand to leave a note to publishers saying Do not waste this if I am shrivelled in a pyroclastic flow: use it for publicity!
For US listeners: I have learned that St Martins Press will not be producing an audiobook of Fatal Legacy. We are working to recover the rights and make a different arrangement, but this involves a contract change – and I’m afraid they take time. As a former contracts officer, I find that doubly annoying of course. You may be able to hear mutters of wouldn’t have happened on my watch… Thanks to readers who alerted me to the problem. I’ll do my best to put it right as soon as possible for you.
I am delighted to have been asked to accept and award in Spain. This October I shall be visiting the annual Historical Novel Festival in Ubeda to receive the Ivanhoe Award, which is for an author’s lifetime achievement. I’m very much looking forward to this.
Second Hand / Used Books
Until now, authors have only been able to receive royalty payments on sales of new books. The market for used books is growing so much that by 2025 it is estimated to be worth £563 million in the UK alone. Writers could only watch in dismay. AuthorSHARE – a partnership between World of Books and Bookbarn International – aims to rebalance this in favour of the author. It’s the same idea that has been tried for works of art when they are resold. It works; after the first six months I have received the price of a bottle of champagne to celebrate! It is hoped that other book sellers will join in, but until they do, those of you who buy books second hand, whether mine or other authors’, may like to favour these two companies!
Although I famously don’t twitter, by a circuitous route I discovered that while in Britain MD Falco, the legionary scout, dedicated an altar: I[ovi] O[ptimo] M[aximo] M[arcus] DID[ius] FALCO SPEC[ulator] LEG[ionis] II AVG[ustae] V[otum] S[olvit] L[ibens] M[erito] To the god Jupiter, best and greatest, Marcus Didius Falco, Scout serving in the Second Augustan Legion, willingly and deservedly fulfilled his vow. Negotiating with the gods seems a bit out of character, but nice stonework! Reproduced with kind permission from Mike Leaning. [add altar photo]
I am very pleased to say that Bokförlaget Polaris are to republish as ebooks the three Falco novels that were previously available in Sweden. Coming on top of Dotbooks republishing my German titles, this is encouraging – though for all overseas languages it remains difficult to obtain translations of new titles.
Meanwhile there is a special kiosk edition of Pandora’s Boy in Spain.
A Giveaway (this still applies, NB)
Sometimes in the past we have had simple book auctions, but I want to try something different: My cupboard is overflowing with spare book copies and here’s an offer: Due to the huge increase in postal charges I’m increasing the amount required so I don’t feel there is an imbalance between your contribution and mine. Anyone who makes a donation to Fishbourne Roman Palace may then claim a signed book as a thank you from me. The new limits are a donation of £30 for UK and Europe and £40 for the rest of the world.
Donate at http://sussexpast.co.uk/please-donate-now. Please use Giftaid if you can. But NB the books come from me so you must then send an email with your address to me.
I will contribute P&P, any destination, one per person, and titles only while available.
Who Are You Now?
Ten years ago I asked for your help in a survey, so I would know what the range of my readers was. This was interesting for me, but also on occasions very useful. Thanks to everyone who took part (or took part again!) the results are here.
Readers choices To be memorialised on the website, send your favourite lines from The Third Nero, A Capitol Death, Vesuvius By Night, Invitation to Die, The Grove of the Caesars or A Comedy of Terrors.
In 1997/8 I was Honorary President of the UK Classical Association. I recommend joining if you are interested in the jolly side of classics. See their website,www.classicalassociation.org.
Organ Donor Card Appeal
This is a personal appeal on an issue where I have experience from both sides.
Please carry a donor card. And if ever you are in the sad position of having to decide whether to agree to organ donation from someone close to you, please consider the good you may do. Honour their wishes if they carry a card. If not, then it is your choice; please use the opportunity. I understand just how hard it is at the time – but I can also tell you, because I have had to do it, that afterwards you will feel glad you took the decision to say yes.
Lives can be saved or dramatically improved by organ transplants. From childhood, I had a rare eye condition called keratoconus. Eventually I needed a corneal transplant – not often mentioned when organ donation is discussed, though in fact one donor can save the sight of two people. Being able to see, without discomfort, helps me to write. A stranger’s generosity freed me from years of pain and anxiety. I was never able to thank my donor or their relatives, but I shall always remember them. Every time you read one of my books, you too are a beneficiary of their gift to me.
Minumus, the Primary Latin Project of which I am proud to be a patron, was 20 in 2019 so ‘Io! Three cheers for this brilliant achievement!’
Minimis has his own website where he says: ‘Minimus’ favourite books are the Roman detective novels of Lindsey Davis’ – and, thanks to illustrator Helen Forte, here he is reading one!