Throughout the Kickstarter campaign, we will be adding brief interviews highlighting the talented authors who have contributed to the anthology. Today we have the excellent David Marcum. David is the creator and editor of the MX anthology series.
David lives in eastern Tennessee with his wife and son. He’s a licensed civil engineer, and has been reading, collecting, and chronologicizing traditional Sherlock Holmes pastiches since he was ten years old in 1975. Since then, he’s collected literally thousands of pastiches – and that’s nowhere enough!
David’s irregular blog, “A Seventeen Step Program”, can be found at:
His books are available at:
How did you first get introduced to Sherlock Holmes?
In 1975, when I was ten years old, I received a Holmes books as an “extra” when I was trading with a friend for some Hardy Boys books. I didn’t much want it, but a few weeks later, I saw part of a Holmes movie on television, remembered the book, found it and read it, and have been a Sherlockian ever since.
What was the inspiration for your pastiches in this current collection, “The Regressive Man”, “The Reappearance of Mr. James Phillimore”, and “The Unnerved Estate Agent”?
This time I wrote three pastiches, one for each of the three books in this current set. I usually don’t have a plan when I start writing. Rather, I just let Watson whisper to me. “The Regressive Man” is a straightforward mystery, but as the story was being told, I realized that one of the characters might have something in common with a famous figure from British lore and history – and might even be that person. “The Reappearance of Mr. James Phillimore” begins with a woman relating to Holmes how each night a terrifying intrusion occurs in her house. Holmes recognizes the address as the same one where James Phillimore disappeared several years before. For “The Unnerved Estate Agent”, the client tells Holmes his story about a mysterious house in the middle of nowhere that he recognizes from a recurring dream that he’s had all his life. Coincidentally, it’s the same recurring dream that I’ve had over the years too, although the client’s reasons are much different than mine.
What do you believe readers will most enjoy most about your tales?
I hope that the readers will enjoy them for being very sincere attempts to relate traditional Canonical Holmes stories – which is the only kind that I write, read, care about, or promote.
Which is your favourite story from The Canon and why?
I really can’t pick. I re-read The Canon a lot, along with hundreds of traditional Holmes pastiches, and to me it’s all part of one gigantic picture, The Great Holmes Tapestry. As such, the pitifully few 60 stories from The Canon all fill important anchor points amongst all the other stories, many of which are as good or better than the originals, and I appreciate each of them for what they show and provide.
What is your favourite Holmes-related place?
I’ve been able to travel to England for three different Holmes Pilgrimages. If it wasn’t about Holmes, I pretty much didn’t do it. Of all the Holmes-related places that I visited, the one I most wanted to see was The Sherlock Holmes Museum in Baker Street. While some things about the museum are incorrect, there is a lot that’s perfect, and being in a correctly laid-out house in Baker Street gives a whole new and unforgettable perspective to reading and writing and editing Holmes stories. I’ve now been to the museum seven times, and I hope to go many more times in the future.
Tell us three things about yourself that few people would guess?
1) I began playing the piano at age eight, and during my first two years of college (when I was obtaining my first degree), I was a piano performance major with a piano scholarship, before switching majors my junior year to business management and ending up with a music minor. (I still play, but I enjoy my amateur status.)
2) I actually read and collect a lot of other books besides just stories about Sherlock Holmes – despite how it may seem. I have thousands of Holmes books in my collection, mostly traditional pastiches, but I have even more than that about other heroes, and I’m often reading multiple books at the same time.
3) Although I’ve mentioned it elsewhere, I was a U.S. Federal Investigator throughout my twenties, before the agency was eliminated, causing me to return to school for a second degree in Civil Engineering. I had a number of pretty interesting cases, and even now I can’t talk about some of them.
Any upcoming projects?
I’m currently editing a number of forthcoming Holmes anthologies for both MX Publishing and Belanger Books. Additionally, work continues on the reissues of the Dr. Thorndyke novels, and I recently completed my 51st pastiche, closing in on the magic number of “60”, the number of Holmes adventures in the original Canon.
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