It is the one thing I seem to be asked more and more right now, and after several on-line ‘hints’ I thought I would update you all on where my work currently stands.
My first military history book will – allowing for no screw-ups – be available from December this year. And no, it will not be on a kindle…vile things! A book has pages, not pixels! Now this book (which sadly I am keeping close to my chest a while longer) is one I have wanted to read for over ten years. The problem is, it doesn’t exist – at least not in the format I want to see it in. So I have written it. In my writing, I take the same approach as John Lennon did to Rock’n’Roll – “I always liked rock ‘n’ roll” he said once, “but the music I wanted to hear didn’t exist, so I wrote it myself.” – I’d say he got it right!
Now before everyone gets excited, no it isn’t the first of my long-anticipated seven-volume series – of which more later. This book has, however, always made the cut of the first few I wanted to write, and it was a relatively easy job (as everything is when you’re enjoying it!) – currently the text is done and I am on to the battle and campaign maps right now. That’s one thing you can always expect from me; lots of maps. Everyone loves maps!!
It was Theodore Ayrault Dodge who said that a have-a-go historian can make bold sweeping statements anywhere and convince us that they are true, but that by a map he can prove his case. I agree (as I do so often with Dodge) and make sure there are as many as possible.
Following this, I have three or four others which currently exist in piles of notes, maps and pictures which I have compiled and ordered over the years, and again, these will be churned out at a good and steady rate. The reason is that without the time and the money, my epic seven-volume history will never see the light of day, but this isn’t to say that my readers will get ‘second best’ in the interim.
The books are planned and have been in the preparation for many years. Each one has been a book which I wanted to read myself, and I’m quite picky these days. I write the history which doesn’t exist; the history I want to read – and bear in mind I have somewhere over 3,000 books on the subject! In one, I am swapping pure history for a bit of archaeology and going digging for a lost – and almost forgotten battlefield and recreating it for the reader…this has been a project which has fascinated me all of this year. The current book hasn’t been attempted since about 1870 and never so completely; indeed there is no comparison!
Of my seven-volume monster, well all seven volumes exist. You can read them cover to cover…well, I can anyway! Volume 4 is perfect, I am tweaking volume 5 as we speak, and I think 6 and 7 are about there too. 1, 2 and 3 need a bit of work though, particularly the first. All need battle maps; a good fifty per book, but I have the proofs for them all. Ultimately, my discovery back in December 2013 of something so huge which nobody else had ever seen forced one hell of a lot of rewriting and proving my theory to perfection…so it is going to take a while, but hell is it worth it!!
So watch this space and be assured that I am working towards every book being something with a massive hit of ‘wow factor’ not just some churned-out manufactured diatribe aimed at pure profit. Publishers like ‘safety’ in books. I remember being told by one that I was too ambitious and risky and asked “Can’t you just write something about a well-trodden piece of history like Waterloo and try to say something fresh about it?” – How very, very dull.
No I will not. I’m giving people a different choice: The choice to learn real, gritty, exciting history the way it should be.
This is “Making History.”
(Ricky D Phillips can be followed at his Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/rickydphillipsauthor and is also the Group Manager for the ‘British Military History’ group on LinkedIn – the biggest and still fastest-growing military history forum on the web today.)