Douglas Talks to Elvis Shackleton About The End of Days (Part 1 of 17)

Added on 07 March 2011

Crime writer and trainee astronaut Douglas Lindsay talks to Long Midnight Publishing Marketing Director Elvis Shackleton about the new LMP Kindle release The End of Days.

Elvis Shackleton: I believe that what we see here with The End of Days is the book that finally made people see through the myth that was Gordon Brown. Before the serial came out, the public had this perception of Brown as this wonderfully warm and tender, happy, contented extrovert. Always engaging, always funny, a man who embraced life with a smile, a man who seemed to just want to grab everybody and give them a big hug. You made the British People realise that there was another side to him; that he could be sullen, dour and uncharismatic. 

Douglas Lindsay: I thought we were going to talk about my astronaut training? 

ES: Of course. So. Tell us about your astronaut training. Do you think it will interfere with your writing? 

DL: Yes, I’m rather afraid it will. Fortunately, however, I have a host of unpublished novels, essays, letters and 15th century Italian erotica, and as you know I’m in negotiation with Long Midnight to publish them in drip-feed fashion over the next fifty or sixty years. My fans don’t need to worry about there being a barren spell, so they can both relax. 

ES: And how about the training itself? What kinds of things are you doing? 

DL: Well, at the moment I’m running a lot. And last night I watched Dr Brian Cox on BBC2. 

ES: What about other astronaut-type stuff? Serious fitness training, G-force acclimatisation in one of those really fast merry-go-rounds, psychometric tests, physics, maths, astronomy, weightlessness training in a swimming pool, all that stuff. 

DL: No one actually does those things in real life. That’s just in films. 

ES: Well, enough of that. I think we can all be glad that this weekend saw the release on Amazon Kindle of The End of Days, the book version of the Westminster Massacre serial from Christmas 2009. Talk us through the days and weeks that led up to the publication of the novel? 

DL: Well, Elvis, it was all a bit seat of our pants. I first sat down in early February with Roger and Ian, Margaret, Chad and Rupert and talked out the Kindle concept for this book. We’d all read the book again and decided that it didn’t need too much work. But then, of course, Roger and Ian went out to business looking at the title. 

ES: Having Christmas in the title was a showstopper? 

DL: Absolutely. Especially when it’s not fundamentally a Christmas story. It’s about blood, death, slaughter, carnage, dickutation, abuse of power and doughnuts. The title, which had previously worked in a pre-Christmas type situation, was always going to be a millstone around the neck of the book from which it would likely never recover. Or, at least, not until December, by which time it could be too late, the company could have gone bust and we’ll all be dead. 

ES: So Roger and Ian went out to business? 

DL: Yeah. They went through a bidding process and we ended up giving the contract to KRNG Consulting. Those lads did a great job. They came back on budget – around £800,000 – and in less than a month with this great new title. The End of Days. When they brought that to the table we all just sat around weeping for hours. It was just such an iconic moment in publishing history.  Margaret wanted to give them even more money but they wouldn’t take it. 

ES: I’m going to have to go to the dentist. Maybe we could continue this tomorrow? We can talk about the cover over doughnuts and coffee. 

DL: Of course.