We welcome author (and publisher himself) Paul Collins to talk about the journey of his story in Worlds Next Door, “A Wizard in Trouble”.
The Wizard’s Torment holds a special place in memory, for it was my first children’s book. Written in 1981, I sold it and another novel, The Earthborn, to a publisher called Parteach. It wasn’t till I received contracts that I fully believed I’d actually sold two novels. (Astounding for me, because I’d only ever written for adults – the children’s books were a slight aberration for me.)
Alas, I’ve since learnt that contracts are basically just pieces of paper with signatures. The publisher disappeared without so much as a by-your-leave, and I was left holding several pieces of paper. Luckily, I had photocopies (rare in those days because photocopies were on shiny paper that faded with sunlight and age!). I retyped my MSS thinking if one publisher wanted them, others would, too. More erroneous thinking, unfortunately. It took till 1995 for Cathie Tasker, then publisher at HarperCollins, to accept The Wizard’s Torment. She would have taken The Earthborn, too, but she left HarperCollins shortly after The Wizard’s Torment saw print. It wasn’t until every publisher in Australia had rejected The Earthborn that I sent it to a US agent, Cherry Weiner, who then it sold to Tor. The Skyborn and The Hiveborn have since been published in the US.
I’d have liked to have published The Wizard’s Torment as a trilogy, but one of the “rules” in publishing seems to be that if a major publisher publishes the first book in a trilogy, no other publisher wants to take on the series. (The perception might be that if a publisher doesn’t wish to continue with the series then it’s either a poor performer or something equally dire is afoot. Michael Pryor and I saw the writing on the wall when Hachette took over Lothian, but despite The Quentaris Chronicles being a successful series, no one wanted to take it on. Ford Street Publishing is now publishing the new series, Quentaris – Quest of the Lost City.)
I wrote a shortened version of book #2 and had it published in Fantastic Worlds, an anthology I edited for HarperCollins. Instalment three was left unwritten until recently.
So here I have the three books in one, completely revised along with the third part. When Tehani asked me if I had anything for her new anthology, I figured what better place to showcase some of the book.
I hope you enjoy “A Wizard in Trouble”, an except from the (as yet) unpublished This Spells Trouble.
Melbourne June 2010
Paul Collins has written many books for younger readers. He is best known for his fantasy and science fiction titles: The Jelindel Chronicles (Dragonlinks, Dragonfang, Dragonsight and Wardragon), and The Quentaris Chronicles – co-edited with Michael Pryor – (Swords of Quentaris, Slaves of Quentaris, Dragonlords of Quentaris, Princess of Shadows, The Forgotten Prince, Vampires of Quentaris and The Spell of Undoing). He has also written The World of Grrym trilogy with Danny Willis. His trilogy The Earthborn Wars was published in the US by Tor.
Paul has been short-listed for many awards and has won the Inaugural Peter McNamara, Aurealis and William Atheling awards. Paul is also the publisher at Ford Street Publishing, a children’s specialist publishing everything from picture books to young adult literature.