Today on The Tattooed Book Geek I am pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for The Art of Sherlock Holmes curated by Phil Growick with a guest post courtesy of Derrick Belanger who is one of the authors included in the book.
My thanks to Caroline Vincent for the tour invite, MX Publishing, Phil Growick and Derick Belanger.
The Art of Sherlock Holmes.
- Hardcover: 252 pages
- Publisher: MX Publishing (25 May 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 178705411X
- ISBN-13: 978-1787054110
- Amazon UK
The Art of Sherlock Holmes is a totally unique experience. Imagine a dozen or more of the finest artists in the U.S. creating art for some the best new short stories written by some of the finest Holmes authors in the world. Each artist has envisioned their version of one story specifically selected for them. All stories and art in one large, hardcover, coffee table presentation volume. This first edition features artists from West Palm Beach, Florida. Future editions will be global, with participating artists contributing from all over the world. The Art of Sherlock Holmes was conceived and curated by Phil Growick, himself a renowned Holmes author.
Guest Post: The Art of Sherlock Holmes
A Reflection on ‘The Tale of the First Adventure’
An Author Guest Post by Derrick Belanger.
Back in 2015, David Marcum asked if I would submit a Sherlock Holmes story for a brand new anthology he was editing. The book would be titled The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes stories and would be a collection of all new traditional Sherlock Holmes pastiches. The money would be donated to Stepping Stones, the school which was to be located at Undershaw, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate where he penned The Hound of the Baskervilles. The school would use the funds to restore the building which had fallen into severe disrepair over the years.
My story, “The Case of the Vanished Killer,” was my first traditional Sherlock Holmes pastiche. I had such fun writing it, and it received positive reviews, so I agreed to participate again when Mr. Marcum announced he was working on a new volume of the series.
The story I wrote for that anthology is the one that was used for Anthony Hernandez’s extraordinary artwork in The Art of Sherlock Holmes. In fact, my story, ”The Tale of the First Adventure” remains the story for which I receive the most fan mail (or fan email).
I concocted the idea for the story while reading William Baring-Gould’s remarkable biography of Holmes, Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street. In that book, Baring-Gould recounts Holmes’s life story. He has a brief passage about Holmes attending a school in Kennington when he was a first year student in 1865-1866. His father, Siger, enrolled Holmes as a day boy in a boarding school. Baring-Gould notes that this is the time period when he befriended Mr. Sherman of Pinchin Lane, the owner of Toby, the stealth canine who was used by Holmes to track the criminal in The Sign of the Four. One other interesting piece of information shared by the author is that Holmes became very ill during the winter of this time period, spending months in his attic-bedroom. After this year of schooling, Holmes then went to the farmstead of Mycroft in Yorkshire.
My main job is that of a middle school teacher, and I was fascinated by this brief entryway into Holmes’s childhood. What type of student was Holmes? I wondered. What occurred in this brief time at the school in Kennington? As I was pondering these questions, I was also working on an article for the journal Gifted Child Today. The article was about a case study I had done of a twice exceptional student. A twice exceptional student is a student who is noted to be gifted in at least one educational area yet also needing special education in a different area. I wondered if Holmes was such a student, obviously gifted in his intellect, but perhaps lacking in his social emotional skills.
All of this wondering and questioning culminated in my story, “The Tale of the First Adventure.” It features Holmes telling Watson about a case he solved during his time at the school in Kennington. Much is explored about Holmes as a student, his friendship with Mr. Sherman and with another classmate, and his developing detective work. Holmes, being young and proud, makes a key mistake which haunts him into his adulthood.
I won’t say more about the story, for I do not want to give anything away. I think fans of Sherlock Holmes, mysteries, and even young adult fiction will enjoy the piece.
After including the story in MX Volume IV, I continued on with my Holmesian fiction and publishing. I had some additional critical and financial success with my work for MX Publishing, Endeavour Press, and my own publishing company, Belanger Books. Still, as time went on, I would receive at least one piece of fan mail about “The Tale of the First Adventure” every few months. One person begged me to write a sequel where Holmes reconnects with his childhood friend when they are both middle aged. Another asked me to write a sequel following Holmes in his next year of schooling. I have not yet taken on either of these proposals. What this told me though was that this story connected with my readers and at least some of them were deeply invested in my version of events.
It is that deep connection which made me think of this story when Steve Emecz approached the MX authors with Phil Growick’s The Art of Sherlock Holmes project. Steve asked interested authors to submit a story for the book, and I knew exactly which story to submit. I was pleased when Phil Growick reached out to me to tell me the story was not only accepted but he knew exactly which artist would tackle the artistic interpretation of the work. Mr. Growick was a genius for matching me with the talented Anthony Hernandez who captured the essence of my story in his art. He does a particularly good job of matching the childhood innocence of the great detective as well as his potential, showing where Sherlock Holmes would go in his life but always keeping that spark of innocence and wonder. It is a fine piece, and in my opinion, coupling it with my words adds to both pieces.
I hope you enjoy my story, “The Tale of the First Adventure,” when you crack open The Art of Holmes and find it matched with Hernandez’s masterpiece. Please let me know what you think of the story. Perhaps, soon, I shall return to Holmes’s childhood and we may have “The Tale of the Second Adventure.” I only hope that if I return, Mr. Hernandez shall once again take the journey with me.
About Derrick Belanger.
Derrick Belanger is an author and educator most noted for his books and lectures on Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Both volumes of his two volume anthology A Study in Terror: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Revolutionary Stories of Fear and the Supernatural were #1 best sellers on the Amazon.com UK Sherlock Holmes book list, and his MacDougall Twins with Sherlock Holmes chapter book, Attack of the Violet Vampire! was also a #1 best selling new release in the UK. Mr. Belanger’s academic work has been published in The Colorado Reading Journal and Gifted Child Today. A former instructor at Washington State University, and a current middle school Language Arts teacher at Century Middle School in the Adams 12 School District, Derrick lives in Broomfield, Colorado with his wife Abigail Gosselin and their two daughters, Rhea and Phoebe.
Find him at www.belangerbooks.com.
About Phil Growick.
The project was conceived by and is curated by Phil Growick. Phil ran one of the world’s leading executive search firms in the advertising industry. Phil’s network in the creative world is unparalleled which is perfect for artist acquisition. Now living in West Palm, Phil is heavily involved in the local art community and as a two-time Sherlock Holmes novelist came up with the concept of combining two of his passions – art and Holmes.
“You’re presented with murder, theft, treason, betrayal, love, loss and greed. All the ingredients to make a delicious Holmes meal of mystery: inimitable interpretations of truly unique Holmes stories.”
You can find Phil Growick here:
About MX Publishing.
MX is the world’s largest Sherlock Holmes publisher. The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories is the world’s largest new Sherlock stories collection with twelve bestselling volumes in the last four years – with three more volumes due in May 2019. Over 100 authors have taken part in the anthology including NY Times best sellers Lee Child, Jonathan Kellerman, Lyndsay Faye and Bonnie MacBird.
The collection raises money for the Stepping Stones School ( a school for children with learning disabilities) at Undershaw, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s former home which carries the Estate’s Conan Doyle Seal. The collection has overwhelming support from leading Sherlockians worldwide. MX are in a perfect position to bring the best in Holmes fiction and the Sherlock fan base to the project.
MX’ other project is the Happy Life Children’s Home in Nairobi, Kenya. Twinned with Stepping Stones, Happy Life has saved the lives of over 600 abandoned babies in the last two decades. The project has expanded to include a school and paediatric hospital.
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