I was contacted the other day by a certain Torbjørn Pettersen, webmaster of a site called fantafiction.com, which lists most SF/fantasy authors (and does a commendably comprehensive job of it – check it out). Torbjørn was updating his records and wanted to check that the site’s content about me was correct. Well, it was, although I found one or two small anomalies.

First off, in my bibliography a book called The Penitent was listed. Now, The Penitent was supposed to be my follow-up novel to Untied Kingdom but it was one of those projects that didn’t get very far. For various reasons I couldn’t seem to make it work, so after 50 or so pages I shelved it. It will doubtless remain shelved. Somehow, however, it found its way onto Amazon as a forthcoming title, and thence onto Torbjørn’s site. I’ve corrected the error in both places, and let me state for the record here that there is no such book nor, most likely, shall there ever be such a book. So there.

More curiously, there was also listed in the bibliography a novel allegedly published under my name in 2002, called Saeth. Unusual title. I had no idea what it might be but I was sure it had not come from my pen. So I did a bit of research. Torbjørn had learned of it from another site, fantasticfiction.co.uk (also worthy of being checked out). Fantasticfiction’s webmaster Dave Wands told me he had found it listed on Amazon. So I searched Amazon. No such book. But the search led me to another book co-written by James Lovegrove and someone called Sion Lewis. The book’s title was Adenydd.

OK, so by now the old antennae were twitching and someone was whistling the X-Files theme tune in the background. What the hell is this Adenydd? Sounds Welsh to me. And what are the chances of there being another author called James Lovegrove, writing in Welsh? Slim to none, I’d say.

Adenydd‘s publisher was listed as Gomer Press. I Googled them, searched their site, and found no reference at all to either the book or James Lovegrove. So, resorting to old-fashioned, steam-powered telephone, I rang them. The nice man I talked to had never heard of James Lovegrove. Nor had the other person in the office with him. I then asked him what the word “adenydd” means in English, even remembering to pronounce the last two letters as “th”. He said, “Wings.”

Lightbulb flicked on overhead. And at that moment, someone else entered the Gomer office and she, bless her, had heard of me and also of Wings. So the book, it turned out, is a Welsh translation of my YA book from 2001. Nobody at the original publisher, Barrington Stoke, had informed me it was being translated, although apparently this was mentioned on my royalty statement and serves me right for not having read it properly. (Saeth, by the way, is Welsh for ‘story’ or ‘fiction’. Somewhere along the line this got confused with the book’s actual title. And Sion Lewis is in fact Sian Lewis, the book’s translator.)

The mystery was solved, and now I have a complimentary author’s copy of the book, and very nice it looks too, though my Welsh being somewhat sketchy, I can’t really read it. In fact, the only Welsh I know is ‘grid gwartheg’, which means cattle grid, and Wings, alas, contains no mention of any cattle grids anywhere.

The moral of this tale? Well, I never ever thought I’d hear myself say this, but hurrah for the Internet. Oh, and if anyone tries to tell you I’ve published a book called Saeth, I haven’t.

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• Filed under News • 29/05/2003 •