August 2022 NEWSLETTER
Attic Whispers from The Blue Mountains
Greetings from the attic, my friends!
Something to celebrate: A GOLD MEDAL!
Just as we were finalising this newsletter, we received a notification from READERS’ FAVORITE in the US advising that The Death Mask Murders, book 7 in the Jack Rogan Mysteries Series has just won a GOLD MEDAL in the 2022 international READERS’ FAVORITE BOOK AWARDS !
This would not have happened without your wonderful support, my friends. Thank you!
A Reading Experience like no other; an update
You will recall that in the previous newsletter I indicated that we would very soon launch a new exciting concept that would provide a reading experience like no other. As the launch date is now rapidly approaching, I would like to tell you a little more about what we have in mind here.
Because The Jack Rogan Mysteries Series has expanded so extensively and now incorporates a large body of work consisting of seven novels, three novellas and associated publications (a total of more than 4000 paperback pages), the time has arrived to make this series available in a different, more user-friendly way that will provide a unique new concept not available on traditional platforms like Amazon and so on.
The launch of this exciting platform that will greatly improve the way you will be able to purchase my books and navigate The Jack Rogan Mysteries Series from now on, is imminent. I therefore urge to please open your emails and watch this space, because something very special is just around the corner. I certainly don’t want you to miss out! Exciting times ahead!
THE NEXT BOOK: TITLE REVEAL
As the months are once again melting away, we are rapidly approaching a release date for the next book, which will be book eight in The Jack Rogan Mysteries Series. It is therefore definitely time to tell you a little more about the book as we approach the publication date which, all going well, will once again be just before Christmas. Exciting times ahead!
Drumroll please … Here’s the title!
THE STOLEN ALTARPIECE
Intrigued? I hope so!
Needless to say, I cannot give too much away about the storyline at this early stage, but what I can do is pique your interest a little by sharing the Author’s Note with you. Those of you familiar with my books will know that I talk about what inspired the writing of the book in the Author’s Note at the very beginning to provide some background, and prepare the way for what is to come.
So, without further ado, here’s the Author’s Note of THE STOLEN ALTARPIECE.
I still remember the evening my aunt took me to see Goethe’s play Faust – arguably one of the greatest works in German literature -most vividly. It was a balmy summer evening in Salzburg, and the old city and stunning castle on the other side of the river were lit up like a stage. A perfect setting for a timeless play that not only made a huge impression on a fourteen year old boy, but raised questions that stayed with me for years to come.
The legend of Doctor Faustus – a disillusioned fifteenth century German necromancer who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge, pleasure, and power – is one of those enduring legends that have inspired poets, musicians and playwrights over the ages. I always knew that one day I would incorporate this story into one of my books, and introduce Faustian characters into the storyline.
That day came on Thursday, 4 February, 2022 when Russian forces invaded Ukraine. I was already working on a sequel to The Death Mask Murders and was in the final stages of developing the characters and structure of the novel, when the extraordinary events in the Ukraine changed all that. Childhood memories of that dramatic play I saw in Salzburg as a teenager came flooding back with a compelling clarity that was difficult to explain and impossible to silence.
Instead of fading away, these memories became stronger and even haunted me in my sleep until it became clear to me that this was the time to incorporate the Faustian legend into The Jack Rogan Mysteries. Real events had intersected imagination and provided a unique opportunity to weave fact and fiction into a seamless storyline where the reader is never quite sure where one ends, and the other begins, but without losing focus, or relevance.
The shocking events in the Ukraine with their unspeakable brutality and atrocities that are difficult to comprehend provided the perfect setting and subject matter to explore the dark side of human nature that is never too far away, and cannot be ignored.
But it didn’t stop there. I had closely followed the controversial presidential elections in Belarus in 2020 and was fascinated by the term Slipper Revolution, also known as the Anti-Cockroach Revolution, coined by Sergei Tikhanovsky, an antigovernment blogger who referred to the incumbent president Lukashenko as the cockroach.
Intrigued by these terms, I did some digging. What I found was astonishing. What Tikhanovsky had been alluding to was a popular Russian children’s poem, The Monster Cockroach by Korney Chukovsky (1882 – 1969), a famous poet, literary critic and essayist. In the poem an overgrown, arrogant cockroach begins a reign of terror over mankind and animals through bullying and threats, only to be devoured by a sparrow.
Tikhanovsky compared Lukashenko to the monster cockroach and called for a slipper revolution to crush the corrupt, power-hungry insect with a slipper and bring its reign of terror to an end.
On reflection, the timeless Faustian legend and the popular children’s poem – although centuries apart – were an excellent literary fit for the tragic events unfolding in the Ukraine, reminding us of the corrupting temptations of power and greed, and the often desperate, bloody struggle to resist these evil forces.
It therefore made perfect sense to incorporate these ideas and potent symbolism in the storyline of the book.
A successful work of fiction is a balancing act: reality must rub shoulders with imagination in a way that is both entertaining, and plausible. To this, I would like to add one more thing: in creating such a work, the author has a unique opportunity to explore historical material that is often buried deep in forgotten pages of history or the psyche of a nation that has suffered much and is therefore not generally known, yet hugely important if certain current events – however painful – are to be understood. If this is done skilfully and based on meticulous research, it is possible to create an awareness that can have profound consequences. It can bring about change, and shape the future.
It is this last point that has become the inspiration for this book, and it is my sincere hope that The Stolen Altarpiece will, at least in some small way, make a difference.
Leura, Blue Mountains, Australia
I would like to remind you once again that The Stolen Altarpiece is a sequel to The Death Mask Murders, book seven in the series. As previously indicated, I have released a novella earlier this year – The Postmaster of Treblinka – which has been carefully crafted to provide a helpful ‘link’ with interesting back stories that will not only pave the way for The Stolen Altarpiece, but significantly enrich your reading experience. I therefore strongly recommend that you read the novella before you immerse yourself in The Stolen Altarpiece and embark on your next reading adventure.
Those of you who haven’t already done so can download the novella by following the link below:
Every now and then, something special comes along that puts a spring in my writer’s step. As I have pointed out many times before, feedback from my readers is hugely important because it tells me how my work is received, and how my books resonate ‘out there.’
Because writing is such a solitary endeavour, any kind of interaction with my readers is not only welcome, but represents an important ‘human side’ to what I am doing, and what I’m trying to achieve.
Nothing could illustrate this point better than this email I have just received as I was drafting this newsletter. It speaks for itself, and that is why Art, and his 99 year old mother are my Readers of the Month of August!
To: Gabriel Farago, 31/08/2022
I wanted to thank you for Jack Rogan. I downloaded the series for my mom who is 99 years old. She is an avid reader blind in one eye can only read using her tablet… I downloaded the series for myself as well.
Our little book club provides plenty of talks about your characters. Jack has become our favorite.
Thank you, Art, for reaching out in such a delightful and personal way. Greatly appreciated!
STAY SAFE, STAY CHEERFUL, and please STAY IN TOUCH.