Friday, September 22, 2006

From Boney N to Ali da G...

...or from Napoleon to Alexander the Great.

A couple of weeks ago a fairly big publisher ask me to write a book on Napoleon. Oh good, a commission. Usually I have to come up with an idea and then sell it. It's nice when people come up with the idea for me and then pay me to do it. I don't know that much about Napoleon, but I can learn.

Turns out the book is supposed to be written from a child's point of view - a kind of diary written by a kid in Napoleon's household. And that's OK. I can see how it could work, although it could only be a brief snapshot of one particular period in Napoleon's career. Any longer than a couple of years, and the child diarist would be growing out of the age range that the book is intended for.

But now the publishers are having second thoughts. They still want me to do the job, but they're thinking that maybe Alexander the Great would make a better subject than Napoleon. I'm trying to be flexible. Sure, I said, I can change horses (from Marengo to Bucephalus in this instance).

The trouble is, these same publishers have messed me around once already. They asked me some months ago if I would be interested in writing an encyclopaedia. It was to be titled The Encyclopaedia of Enchantment and Illusion. They pulled the plug on that idea before I'd written a single word. The 'Encyclopaedia of Enchantment and Illusion' very quickly became the Encyclopaedia of Disenchantment and Disillusion after all.

So will they get it right this time? Watch this space.

7 comments:

roger said...

Welcome to the blogosphere, Steve! Either sounds like it could be an interesting project. I hope it works out for you.

Tom Saunders said...

Oo-er, Alexander from a young boy's point of view. Could be interesting.

Steve Augarde said...

Yes, I'm just glad that it's not Wellington. A notorious pederast.

Tom Saunders said...

So was Alexander.

Steve Augarde said...

O gawd, really? I wonder if they know, and if not whether I should bring it to their attention.

BlueDog said...

The power of the web Steve, if said publisher strays upon your (marvellous) blog they may pull the plug anyway ;-)

Steve Augarde said...

I've already written to them, Mark.

It's actually the premise that makes this project a tricky one. The idea of there being some junior witness to the daily life of a major historical figure is really quite exciting on the face of it. But if you're going to send a kid in that close, then choose your subject carefully...