Skip to Content

Determination is the key

15 September 2003

Further reflection on the big children's hit of the summer brings you to certain rather surprising conclusions. The first is that you should write what you feel inspired to write, not try to copy someone else or write to suit the market. The second is that writers may come from the most unexpected places and achieve their goal through all sorts of different means, self-publishing being one of them. Determination is the key. In case you hadn't already guessed it, the other 'big hit of the summer' has been G P Taylor's Shadowmancer, a children's novel involving 17th century witchcraft and black magic, and the battle between god and evil. The author has never read J K Rowling or Philip Pulman and didn't even start reading himself until he was 16 or 17. Most surprising of all perhaps is that G P Taylor is actually the Rev Graham Taylor, a north Yorkshire country vicar who only started writing in 2001.

But the determination to get his work into print is what characterised Taylor's approach. He had to sell his precious Yamaha motorbike to raise the cash to publish the book himself, but once out there Shadowmancer sold well locally, eventually attracting the attention of a London publisher, the staunchly independent house of Faber. The Faber edition of the book duly sold like hot cakes and there is now a big American deal in place, bringing an advance of $5000,000 and the chance to mend the leak in the vicarage roof. But Rev Taylor says he will stick with the day job: 'Once ordained a priest you are ordained for ever. Whatever happens I will carry on as a priest.'