The Flying Monk is a comedy fantasy novel about a young American woman who comes to Malmesbury in Wiltshire to discover the truth about her real parents, only to find that one has vanished without trace, while the other was an ancient water spirit who has now come back to find his bride. But this is only the start of the weirdness she finds in Malmesbury, including but by no means limited to 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.
But she also finds love. So that’s nice.
Technically, this isn’t 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 – I got an agent and everything. But as said agent was 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 just kind of got left on the virtual shelf. But 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, but I am very proud of it.
But recently it got me thinking about The Flying Monk. It did almost get published, kind of – I got 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 quite a bit 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 at some point.