Tag Archives: The Glorious Dead

The Glorious Dead and Glorious, Alive, Tim

You may remember that a few weeks ago, I dusted down the work surfaces and cleaned all the windows of this blog, ready to receive a guest visit from my friend Tim Atkinson, author, blogger ( over at Bringing up Charlie) and all round good egg.

Tim is writing a book. What’s more he’s writing it using the innovative publishers Unbound, who you may know as the publishers of the runaway successes, Letters of Note and Lists of Note, amongst other titles.

Unbound have an unconventional way of going about publishing their books. It is an exciting new departure in terms of publishing, and as a reader who likes to get really involved in what I read, their championing of the author at every stage of writing and the fact that you, as a reader can access all those stages of writing if you pledge to support an author, is a thing worthy of celebration, and support.

Last time he was here, Tim explained how Unbound works. Today he’s back to talk about his novel, The Glorious Dead. It’s a book and an author I believe in. I’ve happily pledged, and I hope you do too.

Over to Tim.

Last time I was here I was telling you all about Unbound – a revolutionary new way of publishing (and one that gives power back to the reader) and why I decided to sign my latest book to them. What I didn’t tell you was much about the book itself. So Katy has invited me back today to talk about just that.
The Glorious Dead is a novel about the Great War. But it’s a a war book with a difference because the action only starts when the guns stop firing. Although it’s set on the Great War battlefields, there are no longer any battles (other than those against the mud, mayhem and memories in the immediate aftermath of the conflict).
The story follows the work of a small group of men retrieving and burying bodies, clearing the debris but most importantly rebuilding their own lives amid the ruins of the war they’ve just fought. One, Jack Patterson, suffers from what would now be regarded as post-traumatic stress disorder. But in his case the trauma predates the war and is hidden in his past – only emerging when a visitor to the battlefield cemeteries arrives… in search of Jack’s own grave.
The novel is different in another way, too – because the main characters aren’t officers. I was quite determined about that. The assumption in much Great War literature seems to be that only officers are sufficiently literate or psychologically complex to communicate the author’s ideas or hold the reader’s interest. ‘Other ranks’ are often little more than caricatures, talking in cliches and sub-literary parody voices. (Think Birdsong; think Sherston’s Progress; even think Regeneration – one of my all-time favourites – whose working-class hero Billy Prior nevertheless has a commission).
So Jack is a private (later corporal) but certainly not an officer. The others in the company represent the more traditional view of the other ranks, but only to emphasise Jack’s complex personality. It’s a complexity he struggles to articulate, sure. His faltering attempts to speak Flemish indicate a desperation to make himself better understood – or maybe, to understand himself better. But the book is a deliberate attempt to give voice to an often under-represented group of men.
It’s also an attempt to shed light on a woefully neglected period in our history. Almost all books on the war end with the Armistice. A few mention the Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles (which marked the official end of the Great War – hence the dates 1914-1919 on so many memorials and monuments). But there’s very little about the three years – 1918 to 1921 during which thousands of men remained in France and Flanders as members of an army no longer at war, but trying hard restore a fragile peace. In the case of men like Jack, that involved finding and laying to rest the thousands of bodies abandoned in the head-long rush for victory as the war suddenly and dramatically came to a close in late 1918.
You can find out more about the book – and read an extract – on the Unbound website and I hope you will. I also hope you’ll feel sufficiently intrigued to pre-order (or pledge support for) the book. Because with Unbound, it’s readers who decide what gets written. And I really need your help to be able to tell the story of the Great War’s forgotten men.
Best wishes,
Tim

Life’s a pitch, and then you buy…

Tim Atkinson is Unbound!

Today I’m featuring a guest post from my blogging friend, Tim Atkinson. Tim is one of the very first bloggers I ‘met’ in the virtual world of blogging, and his blog, over at Bringing up Charlie, is a much more organised, informative, and generally prize winning one than mine.

As well as blogging and parenting, Tim finds the time to write books, proper books with covers and everything.

Recently he started a new project. His latest book is to be called The Glorious Dead, and he has hooked up with the innovative publisher Unbound to write it.

Unbound work in a completely different, and I think brilliant, way than most publishers and Tim is going to tell you about it in this first of his two guest posts for me.

Here’s Tim, stopping off here as part of his blogging tour, to talk about Unbound:

Writing is a lonely business. Just me and the computer, or a piece of paper. Even the research I’ve done has usually been in quiet places like the Imperial War Museum archives where a smile and a nod to one of the curators is about as far as social interactions get.
I’m not complaining. I like my own company. And I’ve had half-a-lifetime of working in one of the noisiest, most sociable environments (a school) there is. But…
You never catch anyone reading anything you’ve written. (Well, I don’t!) Reviews (on Amazon, Facebook) are nice and occasionally someone will actually send me an email telling me what they think and sometimes it will even be positive. But that’s after the fact and whether they love it or loathe it, it’s too late for me to change it.
What I needed, I thought, was some way of involving readers as I write. There are people (of course) – long-suffering friends and family members – who agree to help by reading drafts, correcting proofs and commenting on plots. But wouldn’t it be great if you could somehow publicly declare what you were thinking of writing and see what people made of it? Where you could pitch direct to the reading public and – furthermore – get their feedback on your work-in-progress?
Well, that’s where Unbound comes in. They’re the world’s first crowdfunding publisher and they’ve enjoyed huge success (winning industry awards and nominations for prestigious book prizes) since they were founded almost six years ago.
I’d actually pledged for several books on Unbound long before approaching them with one myself. When they first launched I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I soon realised that there were (potential) books up for grabs that I was never going to see in Waterstones or on Amazon but which were books I really wanted to read. The next step – to pledge, to support them in advance – was obvious.
And that’s how it works. Authors pitch their ideas direct and if readers like what they see, they pledge. It’s a bit like buying the book before it gets written (in order to make sure it is)!
But it’s also more than that. Because while you (the reader) wait for me (the author) to get down to the writing, I can keep you entertained by giving you a tour of my shed. Yes. My shed. It’s a virtual shed. I suppose it’s a bit like a blog: I blog about the book, what I’m doing, how it’s going and so on and you – the reader – can talk to me, tell me what you’re thinking, advise me, make suggestions.
It’s already happened. If you take a look at my pitch video on Unbound (sorry for the bags under my eyes, the kids had been ill…) you’ll see it makes use of a photo, taken in 1919, on one of the old Flanders battlefields. It’s a photo that pretty much sums up where the book is set, and what the main characters are doing. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that and hopefully I’ll be telling you all about the plot in a later post. But the photo itself was especially intriguing for one reader, who enlarged it and spotted that two of the works team were wearing VC medal ribbons.
Now, one VC among a Graves Registration Unit exhumation party would be rare. Two, frankly, is so unlikely as to be impossible. Clearly the photo was staged but could it be, we speculated, that this was one of the teams responsible for the exhumation of the Unknown Soldier, whose body now lies buried in Westminster Abbey? And that’s the kind of wonderfully rewarding conversation that makes Unbound really rock for me as an author.
Of course, there’s a downside. Or at least, there is for me. If you’re not Terry ‘He’s not The Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy’ Jones or Raymond ‘The Snowman’ Briggs or Andy Hamilton or Katy Brand or Shaun ‘Letters of Note’ Usher (fellow Unbound authors, to name-drop a few) then it can be hard – damned hard – to get the crowdfunding ball rolling.
Which is why I’m here this morning, at Katy’s invitation, spreading the word far and wide and asking you if you could do the same. At the moment the book is 17% funded – respectable enough, and moving in the right direction. But in need of a shove.
I really love Unbound and the opportunities it’s already given me as an author. And I love Unbound as a reader for bringing to the world a whole host of excellent books that might not otherwise have been written. They’re not cheap. But they’re all extra-special editions, books as things of beauty, lovingly designed and typeset, printed and bound.
You might get more for your money if you shop online, but you probably can’t get anything better. If you pledge you not only get the book but you get an insight into it as it’s written. And, of course, you get your name in the book as well.
A patron of the arts. For as little as a tenner.

If you are interested in supporting Tim’s novel, you can do it here. I did it. It took no time at all, and it feels brilliant to be supporting a book I want to read and an author I want to champion. It’s properly empowering. Give it a go.