A pub full of alcoholic psychics, an apprentice witch who prefers vacuum cleaners to broomsticks, and a ghostly black dog that houses the spirit of an eleventh century monk called Eilmer who history states once built himself wings and flew from the roof of the Abbey and who has been trying to recreate the feat ever since because nobody believes he did it the first time…
…is just the start of the weirdness a young American woman finds when she arrives in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. She’s there to find the truth about the real parents she only just discovered she had, but what she finds is even weirder than all that, including but not limited to the fact that her father is an ancient pagan spirit with a fondness for water meadows.
But she also finds love. So that’s nice.
This is the official blurb – “The Flying Monk is a comedy/fantasy novel by the writer responsible for the Bafta-nominated BBC animated Christmas Special ‘The Tale of Jack Frost’, ITV’s ‘The Baskervilles’ (an animated sitcom set in Hell), and Lego Bionicle.”
Yes, that Lego Bionicle.
However, with its single very loosely described comedy sex scene, the occasional rude word and a lot of references to alcohol (let’s face it, it’s kind of everywhere in this book), The Flying Monk probably isn’t really for children, although I’m sure they’d enjoy it. I know I would have done.
Technically, this isn’t actually a new book – in fact, it has been around for twenty-five years or so. You see, before I became an animation scriptwriter, I was trying to write books, and had got as far as having the Flying Monk accepted by an agent, the Christopher Little Literary Agency. But as they were doing their best to get The Flying Monk away, I kind of got distracted by the animation industry, and a career, and The Flying Monk was kind of left on the virtual shelf. I don’t think Christopher Little worried too much though – a few years later he happened upon one JK Rowling.
However, in 2014 I went back to books, and finally got one published, the Young Adult fantasy novel ‘The Multiverse of Max Tovey’, about a troubled teenager who realises that his troubles are largely down to him being a time traveller. It sold in its, oooh, hundreds – not because it’s no good, just because I had no idea how to publicise it – but I am very proud of it nonetheless.
Recently though this got me thinking about The Flying Monk. It did almost get published, kind of – the agency sent me a page-long rejection letter from a publisher who really liked it, and said very nice things about it, including that I could be the next Peter Tinniswood. But then he said that while he’d probably regret it, he still had to say no. I still have the letter somewhere – must find it and see who it was, and see what happened to him!
Anyway, after that, as I said before, I started making a living as a scriptwriter. It paid the bills, and books didn’t. But I still love this book, and thanks to the new self-publishing industry (and a good deal of editing and updating), there’s no reason it can’t be out there. So here it is – I hope you enjoy it.
By the way, most of the mythology and all but one of the places in the book are real, with the exception of The Flying Monk pub, which is based on a real Malmesbury Pub called The Smoking Dog. Or rather, on my first visit to Malmesbury after I’d started working on the book, I discovered that the pub that I’d invented in my head for the book was freakishly similar to The Smoking Dog. The pub has been updated since then, and there are no longer beer barrels on the back of the bar, but it is still a wonderful pub, and I highly recommend a visit.
There once was a Flying Monk pub in Malmesbury, on the Gloucester Road, but it was demolished a long time ago, and a Co-op now sits on the site. Recently, however, another Flying Monk pub has sprung up, and a Flying Monk brewery, but that’s in… (takes a deep breath)… Chippenham…
The Flying Monk is available as an eBook from Amazon. I’ll sort out the paperback soon, I promise.