Today, I am delighted to host William Todd on my blog. I’m a huge fan of his writing, in particular his Sherlock Holmes tales, which I highly recommend. I’m looking forward to reading this new book and you can find out a little bit more by reading on.
A Summer with the Hermit King
1888. Sixteen-year-old Auggie Rose runs away from an orphanage for the bliss of the idyllic Presque Isle along the shores of Lake Erie. Will the witness of a murder turn his dream into a nightmare?
A little bit about A Summer with the Hermit King
I have been asked more than once what made me write this book. I am not a YA author. My wheel house is Sherlock Holmes pastiches and gothic horror. Although it shares the same time period in which I usually write, this is completely different from anything I have ever undertaken before. Although I have never ‘written’ YA I enjoy reading YA. And given the popularity of shows like Enola Holmes, The Irregulars, and Anne with an E, YA in this time period has become extremely popular. I got the idea out of the blue based on a local legend, Joe Root, a hermit who called Presque Isle, the peninsula at Erie, PA, home in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
When I did some initial research, I found out some rather interesting little-known tidbits about Erie around that same time. Since I was already in the middle of another book, I sort of put this off to the side and tried to forget about it. But characters seemed to be creating themselves ex nihilo from that lump of information in my brain and soon, I just could not get the idea out of my head. It consumed most of my waking day. Auggie, Maisy, Joe, Will, and Julia, it seems, had a story to tell, and when characters have a story to tell, there is little an author can do to thwart them. They take over your life. Truly, they do! Try as he might to ignore it, unless he can live off of one or two hours of sleep a night, an author is helpless but to take that inevitable seat at his laptop and write their story. That was the painful beginning of A Summer with the Hermit King. Admittedly, it initially came in fits and starts—after all, I had never written YA before, and it proved a bit daunting, at first. I was learning on the fly. Family hardships took me away from my writing for a time, and for the better part of five months not a single word was written. But Auggie and his tale would not leave me alone.
Finally, fifteen months later (two years if you count the multiple rewrites during editing) and A Summer with the Hermit King was complete. I had decided early on to use some real people and real events in the book because Erie has an interesting history, and when I found out these little tidbits, I knew I just had to weave them into the story. I cannot go into detail as to what they are here because they are integral to the plot. Suffice to say, I give an explanation at the end of the book. If I had to describe it in general terms, it is part YA, part coming-of-age, part cozy mystery (sorry, it’s in my blood!), and wholly historical. If you like the Enola Holmes’s and the Irregulars’s and the Anne with an E’s and heck, maybe throw Tom Sawyer in there too, I think you would also like A Summer with the Hermit King!
A little bit about William
William Todd has been writing for over 20 years, primarily gothic horror stories in the style of Lovecraft, Poe, and Shelley. Loving all things Victorian, he was inspired to read, and later to write, by Arthur Conan Doyle. The first book he ever read cover to cover was Hound of the Baskervilles, which also fed his appetite for horror. William Todd has written two short story compilations of gothic horror, Dead of Night and Beyond the Gossamer Veil and one sci-fi/horror hybrid genre Something Wicked This Way Comes. He has also written multiple Sherlock Holmes pastiches, Murder in Keswick, A Reflection of Evil, Mystery of the Broken Window, and Elementary—a short story compilation, which were picked up for republish by Spellbound Publishing, Ltd.
Three of his short stories were part of MX Publishing’s New Sherlock Holmes Stories with proceeds going to a charity for special needs children housed in Undershaw, the very home Conan Doyle penned Hound of the Baskervilles. Writing for the books was a special privilege because his daughter, Alina, has Down Syndrome.
In 2022, he has just published his first YA/historical novel A Summer with the Hermit King, which is an Amazon #1 New Release, and has started yet another Sherlock Holmes compilation. When not writing (which isn’t often!) William spends his time walking the trails and beaches of Presque Isle in his home of Erie, Pennsylvania and spending time with his family.
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