“We have a wonderful group of people including the editor, authors and fans creating awareness.”
He’s one of the most iconic literary characters of all time. When, in the 1890s, his creator tried to kill him off the public outcry was such that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was forced to resurrect him. Plausible in his own time and realistic in ours, Sherlock Holmes has been portrayed by some of the greatest actors of the stage and screen. The resonant canon of Conan Doyle’s original stories, featuring the world’s only consulting detective, remains a call to arms for other writers seeking to test their ingenious mettle in one of the best loved literary genres.
Steve Emecz’s passion is publishing. As Managing Director of MX, one of the UK’s leading independent publishers, Steve oversees hundreds of authors and titles. MX is now the world’s largest Sherlock Holmes publisher, including the international bestseller Benedict Cumberbatch In Transition which is also being launched in Japanese, Chinese and several other languages.
Steve’s latest project, being funded through Kickstarter, is Volume IV of the largest collection of new Sherlock Holmes stories ever attempted. Bringing together over sixty of the world’s leading Sherlock Holmes authors, this anthology includes only traditional stories set in the original Sherlock Holmes period.
Royalties are going towards the restoration of Conan Doyle’s home Undershaw, saved from destruction by the Undershaw Preservation Trust and now owned by Stepping Stones (a school for children with learning difficulties). Royalties will support specific projects such as the restoration of Sir Arthur’s study which will be open for visitors outside term time.
The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories Volume IV (published by MX Publishing, 22nd May 2016 – Conan Doyle’s Birthday). To find out more click here.
Why Sherlock Holmes?
Conan Doyle was the father of all modern crime fiction and Sherlock Holmes holds the Guinness World’s Record for the most portrayed character ever on screen.
Conan Doyle is the definitive Sherlock Holmes writer, but is he still the best?
Conan Doyle was the first, but I am a big fan of several modern crime fiction writers as well.
Why is the collection only featuring stories from the traditional Holmes period?
Holmes fans prefer traditional stories. There are thousands of pastiches out there and we wanted to bring together a very traditional collection.
What’s the biggest licence (with Conan Doyle’s original formula) taken by any of the new writers?
In our collection, very little. Across the world there are vampires, time travel. In fact, one of our writers, Tracy Revels has a brilliant series (Shadowfall etc) where Holmes is a warlock.
What’s the standard, the feature, or other aspect that all the writers involved with the project have had to achieve in order to gain inclusion?
They had to get past the editor, David Marcum’s keen eye on traditional Holmes and Watson. David is our most experienced writer with dozens of stories and novels under his belt.
John or James?
Watson. In the Victorian period nobody used first names so it was Watson and Holmes.
Undershaw was briefly a hotel after Conan Doyle stopped living there, but has been vacant for most of the time since. Similarly (prior to its being listed by Historic Scotland) Liberton Bank House in Edinburgh – where the young Conan Doyle lived in the 1860s – faced demolition to make way for a fast food restaurant. Why have we been so neglectful of the bricks and mortar footprints of this most celebrated writer?
Sadly it happens a lot in the UK. The US seems to be more respectful of the heritage of writers. It often comes down to, as it did in this case, loyal groups of fans [in this case the Undershaw Preservation Trust] to do what the authorities don’t.
How do Kickstarter, advance sales, and subscriptions feature in today’s publishing landscape?
Kickstarter is vital for us. For some projects it is the difference between being able to do the project or not. For others, it is a brilliant awareness tool.
The Kickstarter campaign set out to raise £500, the total is already at over £1400 (and rising). What’s the secret of a successful crowdfunding project?
This one is all about teamwork. We have a wonderful group of people including the editor, authors and fans creating awareness. It’s important to set good rewards and be very active on social media – but ultimately it comes down to the quality of what’s on offer. The collection is the best project we’ve ever delivered and we hope to keep it going as long as possible.
What should be playing on the stereo when we’re reading The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories Volume IV?
For me, nothing. I like to read out in the fresh air. If you like music while you read then I’d recommend something classical, pre 1900. Music for the era.