So here we are: The White Rajah is back on Amazon after a break while I did all the boring stuff that let me get the rights back and put it out again under my own ‘Big Red’ imprint.
It’s a big day. What can I say that I haven’t said already? Not a lot really.
It’s the first novel I ever wrote and it’s been tweaked a couple of times, though what I’m publishing here is the same as the version published by Endeavour.
When I first wrote it, it was turned down by several mainstream publishers as (according to my agent) “too difficult for a first book from an unknown author”. He told me I should write some more accessible mainstream historical fiction first. Hence the Burke books – all five of them so far and a sixth in progress.
Meanwhile The White Rajah was published by a one-woman publisher in the USA (JMS Books) who did an amazingly good job with it. The Burke books, though, weren’t a good fit for her company so they went to a small UK publisher and The White Rajah went too.
It was not the best of times for publishing. The White Rajah was eventually followed by two more books to make a trilogy, but the books remained “difficult” and though there were occasional promises of more aggressive marketing, sales languished.
With the change in the way books are sold, I decided to self-publish. I started by republishing the first three Burke books and the results showed conclusively that my books do better with the marketing love that self-published books get lavished on them. Two more Burke books and two contemporary fantasies followed and were successful enough for me to decide to add The White Rajah to the self-published list. (The two other books will follow.)
So here we are. The White Rajah is a more reflective novel than the Burke books. There are fights and dashing adventures. There is even a love story (though not a conventional one). But the book raises issues about colonialism and the Empire project. There are a lot of questions but ultimately no answers. Perhaps as we are all encouraged to look again at Britain’s 19th century history, this is a book whose time has come. Hollywood seems to think so: a film based on the life of James Brooke (the eponymous White Rajah) is due out next month.
I hope you read it and enjoy it. Let me know what you think. As life moves back to normal I hope I may be able to get out and talk about it if any of you want to ask me.
Thanks for reading.