The Art of Sherlock Holmes is a totally unique experience. Imagine a dozen or more of the finest artists in the U.S. creating art for some the best new short stories written by some of the finest Holmes authors in the world. Each artist has envisioned their version of one story specifically selected for them. All stories and art in one large, hardcover, coffee table presentation volume. This first edition features artists from West Palm Beach, Florida. Future editions will be global, with participating artists contributing from all over the world. The Art of Sherlock Holmes was conceived and curated by Phil Growick, himself a renowned Holmes author.
The Art of Sherlock Holmes – Author QA with Daniel D. Victor
Daniel D. Victor is the author of the last (but not least!) story in The Art of Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Smith-Mortimer Succession
Why did you write a book?
In the process of continuing my series, “Sherlock Holmes and the American Literati,” I am constantly on the lookout for American writers who spent some time in London when Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson were conducting their investigations. I’ve already done books on Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Jack London, and Raymond Chandler.
When I happened to read “In the Fog” by novelist and reporter Richard Harding Davis, I thought he would be a likely candidate. Learning that he was also a smart dresser, an adventurer, and the model for the handsome “Gibson Man” in the famous drawings by Charles Dana Gibson, I decided Davis would make the perfect subject.
As I’ve tried to do in my other books, I set up a situation that foreshadows the events in an author’s story. In that way, I hope to demonstrate how my book actually accounts for how the author in question came to write the famous work my story predates. In other words, without my story, the famous one would never have gotten written.
Do you write every day?
My wife and I are both retired teachers. Before she joined me in retirement last year (I’d been retired for seven years by then), I had been able to spend many years with a set writing schedule. I pretty much wrote every day, Monday through Friday, from about ten in the morning until about four in the afternoon. During those seven years, I produced five Sherlock Holmes novels and eleven short stories. Lately, I’ve slowed my pace so my wife and I can enjoy our time together.
Do you work to a plot or do you prefer to see where the idea takes you?
Since I base my stories on the plots of either the original Holmes stories or those of the author I’m featuring, I plot extensively before actually beginning to write. In a short story I wrote about Henry
James, for instance, I have James challenging Watson to write an account of a crime that James had asked Holmes to solve. Watson wrote his piece, “The Aspen Papers,” and Henry James wrote his famous novella, “The Aspern Papers.” Obviously, Watson’s plot was heavily indebted to James’s already-existing novella, only I don’t admit that in my story.
How long does it take you to write a book?
I spend months thinking about a story, weeks outlining it, days researching it, and then–if I’ve successfully completed those other tasks–maybe four or five weeks to write out the entire text. Then it takes me weeks to rewrite and edit–although I always find that part to be the most fun.
What’s the worst thing about writing a book?
As long as I’ve been writing–and I was a high school writing teacher as well–I still find it difficult to hear criticism. I used to tell my students that when they asked me if something they’d written was OK, they were really saying that they had questions about their essays but hoped I’d say there were no problems and then they wouldn’t have to do more work. I’m like that as well. I want people to tell me how good my stuff is–even though I know there’s always room for improvement.
What’s the best thing about writing a book?
I love to tune out the real world and get lost in the world of my stories.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
I wrote my doctoral dissertation on little-known American journalist and novelist, David Graham Phillips. He happened to be assassinated in 1911 by someone who thought Phillips had written malicious stuff about the assassin’s sister. Phillips was well known in those days for a series of articles he had written accusing the US Senate of treason for representing big business at the expense of the people. I told this story to a class, and one of the kids said that Phillips must really have been killed by someone in the Senate who was seeking revenge.
That got my mind working. In reality, Phillips was shot six times and then the assassin shot himself. The gun was identified as a six-shooter, but there were seven shots fired. How could this be? With the student’s idea in my mind, I decided to bring Sherlock Holmes out of retirement to find out what really happened to Phillips. That novel, “The Seventh Bullet,” was my first and got me to thinking about Holmes and other American writers.
If you had to write in a different genre, which would you choose?
I used to write poetry when I was much younger. That would be fun to take up again.
Which book character do you wish you had written?
What do you think are the best and the worst about social media?
Facilitating communication is best, but as a teacher, I saw first-hand how kids are being sabotaged by their addiction to electronic screens–phones, in particular.
A few questions, just for fun:
If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
I’d sneak inside the White House so I could hear how Melania Trump really speaks to Donald.
If I joined you on your perfect day, what would we be doing?
Reading in some charming garden with a group of musicians playing Mozart in the background.
What’s your signature dish?
If you could be anyone for the day, who would you be?
I’d like to be the political cartoonist for the LA Times, Paul Conrad (sadly, he passed in 2010).
Thank you, Daniel D. Victor and Bits about Books.
About the author
The project was conceived by and is curated by Phil Growick. Phil ran one of the world’s leading executive search firms in the advertising industry. Phil’s network in the creative world is unparalleled which is perfect for artist acquisition. Now living in West Palm, Phil is heavily involved in the local art community and as a two-time Sherlock Holmes novelist came up with the concept of combining two of his passions – art and Holmes.
“You’re presented with murder, theft, treason, betrayal, love, loss and greed. All the ingredients to make a delicious Holmes meal of mystery: inimitable interpretations of truly unique Holmes stories.”
You can find Phil Growick here: Blog: https://holmesandwatsonandi.blogspot.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhilGrowick Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thesecretjournalofdrwatson Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/philgrowick/
MX Publishing MX is the world’s largest Sherlock Holmes publisher. The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories is the world’s largest new Sherlock stories collection with twelve bestselling volumes in the last four years – with three more volumes due in May 2019. Over 100 authors have taken part in the anthology including NY Times best sellers Lee Child, Jonathan Kellerman, Lyndsay Faye and Bonnie MacBird. The collection raises money for the Stepping Stones School ( a school for children with learning disabilities) at Undershaw, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s former home which carries the Estate’s Conan Doyle Seal. The collection has overwhelming support from leading Sherlockians worldwide. MX are in a perfect position to bring the best in Holmes fiction and the Sherlock fan base to the project.
MX’ other project is the Happy Life Children’s Home in Nairobi, Kenya. Twinned with Stepping Stones, Happy Life has saved the lives of over 600 abandoned babies in the last two decades. The project has expanded to include a school and paediatric hospital.
MX Publishing on Social Media:
Instagram – The Art of Sherlock Holmes: http://www.instagram.com/artofsherlock/