I love a passion. Apparently, there are people who enjoy nothing more than spotting different Eddie Stobart trucks (they’ve all got different female names. One is named after William Hague’s wife, apparently) and noting it down in a log book. Now, that’s not my cup of tea but I understand how someone can find their thing, and I respect that.
I have a lot of passions. Writing fiction is my big one, as is collecting thrashy thriller novels from the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s. But specific ones, big idea thrillers, about powerful people and big concepts and gorgeous illustrated covers that give a taste of what the book is about. Take this one to the right here, which is Alistair MacLean’s “Air Force One is Down”. Guess what it’s about? Go on, I dare you. One of the reasons I collect them is for the covers, which were commissioned especially for the book and tend to illustrate a key scene in them. They weren’t cheap either. When I enquired about getting an illustrated cover of that style for my own novel “The Ministry of Love”, I was shocked at the cost. So, it seems, are publishers, because we now see these antiseptic shadowy covers that could be stuck on any thriller. Compare these two, from Colin Forbes’s “The Stone Leopard”. The left is from the 1980s, the right an edition from the 1990s. I know which one I prefer. I keep a load of these on display as I write my own stuff, just to remind myself. I’m not writing literature, I’m writing stuff that people will enjoy reading on a plane or by a pool or on the LUAS. And if it goes well, one day I’m going to treat myself and spend the big bucks on getting one of those covers for one of my own.