Candy Jar Books is pleased to announce that a collection of lockdown-inspired Lucy Wilson short stories is now up for pre-order, and will be released in two weeks. The royalties from sales will be donated to NHS charities and Candy Jar will double this amount.
Head of Publishing, Shaun Russell, says: “At the start of isolation I asked Jonathan Macho, the author of the most recent Lucy Wilson book The Serpent’s Tongue, to write a short story about Lucy being stuck at home, and we received some very positive feedback.
Jonathan says: “When Shaun asked me to write ‘Copy/Paste’ as a free download story, I was really grateful for the opportunity to make a small, positive contribution for young readers. When he got back in touch to let me know about the book, I was over the moon. The chance for me to play my part means a great deal, and I really appreciate Candy Jar making my story a part of it.”
Shaun continues: “Around about the same time, Andy Frankham-Allen (the range editor of the Lethbridge-Stewart books) contacted me with an idea to send Lucy back to the 1974 dinosaur invasion. Of course, I thought this was too good of an idea to pass up. I was intrigued by how Lucy would cope knowing she could be infected with the coronavirus, but not wanting to pass it on to the Brigadier, or potentially change the past! So, in collaboration with Tim Gambrell, Andy made a start on the story. After this things just fell into place and we soon had eight stories.”
Tim Gambrell, who previously wrote The Brigadier & the Bledoe Cadets, is honoured to be a part of this collection. He says: “There’s a real sense of shared experience between the writers and the characters, and it feels special and personal to be able to give something back to the NHS in this way. Added to this, the brief was something I could not refuse. Lucy in an empty London during Invasion of the Dinosaurs! My immediate thinking was not to do the Doctor Who story over again. The biggest gap in the TV story, for me, was the lack of consideration for the poor dinosaurs, scooped up from their homes and plonked into London. There was also little appreciation, by the characters on TV, of the sheer beauty and size of the dinosaurs. So those were my starting points. ‘The London Invasion’ came together incredibly quickly after that, within the framing scenes which Andy had developed.”
The collection is aptly entitled Lockdown and contains eight short stories. Aside from Andy and Tim, the other authors include John Peel, Tom Dexter, Alan Stott, Cherry Cobb, Paul W Robinson, Adrian Sherlock and Shaun Russell.
Shaun says: “I really enjoyed working with Adrian on ‘Repetitive Strain’. He is such an imaginative writer and it was a pleasure to collaborate with him on his Groundhog Day-type escapade.”
Adrian says: “For most of us our daily routine under lockdown is extremely repetitive, so I thought what if Lucy experienced a lockdown day over and over again? I always loved Sapphire and Steel and The Twilight Zone and these series often did stories such as this, so when Shaun approached me about contributing something to the book my imagination was fired.”
Candy Jar also released ‘Sweet Revenge’ by Paul Robinson as a free download story. Publishing co-ordinator at Candy Jar, Keren Williams, is excited to showcase Paul’s talent. She says: “When we asked Paul to contribute a short story he immediately understood the tone we were after and delivered a cracking adventure for all of us who are stuck at home.”
Our only female writer for this collection is Cherry Cobb, who successfully contributed to last year’s Christmas Crackers anthology. She says: “When Shaun asked me to write ‘Flower Power’ for this book I leapt at the opportunity, firstly because I can’t think of a better cause than raising money for the NHS and, secondly, I know that lockdown is proving a challenge for many children and adults. Reading is a great way to relax and escape from reality for a time, and with Lucy Wilson by your side you can be sure of so many great adventures along the way.”
The next story, ‘The Edge of Glory’, is written by Alan Stott, the author of the anarchic children’s book Those Kids Next Door (due to be released by Candy Jar in the autumn). Keren says: “Last year we previewed Those Kid’s Next Door at our summer pop-up shop and Alan was like a magnet to children. They really loved his energy and couldn’t get enough of his slapstick humour. Aside from this, his books sold really well, so when I needed a safe pair of hands to contribute to this collection he was my first choice.”
Another consummate professional is John Peel, the author of many classic Doctor Who, Star Trek, Quantum Leap and Lethbridge-Stewart novels. Shaun says: “John previously wrote the brilliant Lucy Wilson book The Midnight People. I wanted a story where Lucy and Hobo were trapped in the pages of fiction, so I approached John and within a couple of days he emailed ‘Get Lost in a Good Book’ back to me, and it was exactly what I’d asked for.”
Lockdown concludes with a scary romp written by Tom Dexter. Shaun says: “When we started the Lethbridge-Stewart range Tom wrote two short stories for us: ‘The Fright Before Christmas’ and ‘The Black Eggs of Khufu’. Since then we’ve tried, on many occasions, to get him back, but Tom is always very busy. Thankfully isolation has slowed him down a bit. His story ‘Home Invasion’ really rounds off the collection with its heart on its sleeve, and includes a fantastic tribute to all the nurses, doctors and NHS staff that are helping us get through these difficult times.”
Blurb for Lockdown:
Earth is in lockdown. But for Lucy Wilson, staying home doesn’t mean staying safe.
Dinosaurs, killer plants, even Meme Lords – some enemies just don’t respect social distancing. So Lucy and her brainbox sidekick Hobo have no choice but to come to Earth’s defence again – although never forgetting to stay two metres away from each other!
In this collection of short stories, Lucy finds herself contending with the challenges of a pandemic, while continuing to rise to the mantle of her legendary grandfather, Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart.
The Lucy Wilson Mysteries is a Lethbridge-Stewart spin-off adventure inspired by characters created for Doctor Who by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln.
The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: Lockdown is available HERE!
The royalties from this book will be donated to NHS charities. Whatever is raised Candy Jar will double. This book is available exclusively through Candy Jar. It will not be available via any other retailers.