The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson (10th Anniversary Edition)
18 September 2008Having delayed the release of The Final Cut until next year, I really ought to be getting on with the task of turning the original manuscript - which was known as Limited Edition, then published in Germany as Der Herr Der Klinge - into the last book in the Barney series. Before that, however, The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson needs to be reprinted, as the previous print run is almost over.
When I first wrote the book in the summer of 1995, the prose was in the past tense, there wasn't too much Glasgow dialect and the book was entitled The Barber Surgeon's Hairshirt. Sent it around every publisher on the planet, got some decent reaction, but it wasn't picked up. However, I was encouraged enough to give it another go, so repackaged the whole thing. Changed the title, changed the tense to the present tense - because I had just read a book in the present tense, no recollection of which one, and had enjoyed it - and upped the dialect content.
The tense and dialect stayed for the next two books, although I grew to dislike them. For the fourth, I returned to little dialect and the past tense. Not sure if anyone really notices other than me. Anyway, I have wanted for several years to get the first three into the same shape as the remainder of the series. With the reprint of Long Midnight, the chance has come to start the process.
I have already rewritten the book, converting it back to its original form. Everything is more or less the same, except most of the verbs, of course. And the gonnae and dinnae and wisnae, they are mostly gone. I hope that the dialogue still has the flow and feel of Glasgow chat, that's what I'm looking to achieve. So I've left in the heid the ba's and dunderheids and bampots.
There will be a new cover too, although it has yet to be produced. This is the original new cover idea, but it's not really bold enough.
Noticed that Brookmyre and Bateman and the like have a particular type of cover at the moment, which is obviously in vogue. As an illustration, this is the cover of Brookmyre's latest.
My cover designer took a look at them, hated them and thought she could do better. So, we wait and see.
The new/old version of The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson should be released before Christmas, that's the plan. It will more or less be the tenth anniversary of it's initial publication, but I just can't bring myself - despite the heading on the blog - to do the marketing and call it the Tenth Anniversary Limited Edition, or add in a new chapter and call it the Writer's Cut or Long Midnight Redux.
It just is, as Bill Belichick likes to say, what it is.
I won't be reverting to the original title. However, having not used the title with the first book, I then used it for the second book, only for the publisher to refuse it and insist on the much blander Cutting Edge of Barney Thomson. Possibly, I may revert to The Barber Surgeon's Hairshirt for the monastery book - as it's appropriate after all - if and when the time comes.