Candy Jar Books has announced the fifth book in The Laughing Gnome
series, which sees the worlds of Lethbridge-Stewart
and The Lucy Wilson Mysteries
The Laughing Gnome: Lucy Wilson & The Bledoe CadetsWritten by Tim GambrellCover by Steve Beckett
Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart is still lost in time, cast through his own time stream by the mysterious Gnome.
Answers are presented to him when he meets the architect of his travels, and is told he has one adventure ahead of him. A chance to make sure his legacy is secure. He will be sent to 2018, and a meeting with his granddaughter, the protector of Ogmore-by-Sea, Lucy Wilson.
In 1937, young Ali Lethbridge-Stewart and his brother James find themselves face to face with smugglers, while in 2018 Lucy and Hobo are preparing for a trip to Cornwall.
What connects 1937 and 2018? The Brigadier and Lucy Wilson are about to find out, when they are cast back in time and join the Bledoe Cadets in solving the mystery at Redgate Smithy. The price will be high for at least one of the Cadets. But for the Brigadier and Lucy, it is a chance to understand what truly binds them together, what it is to be a Lethbridge-Stewart!
Following on from The Laughing Gnome: Rise of the Dominator
, books five and six sees the Brigadier team-up with his granddaughter, Lucy Wilson, in an adventure through time! The two-book special, Lucy Wilson & The Bledoe Cadets
and The Brigadier & The Bledoe Cadets
, finally solves a mystery that has been two years in the making, since 2017 and the novels Night of the Intelligence
and Avatars of the Intelligence
(the very first Lucy Wilson Mystery
- how did Lucy and Hobo end up in 1937 to have a picture taken with young Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart and his brother James?
Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen
set the scene:
Ever since The Lucy Wilson Mysteries was devised, Shaun (Russell) and I had in a mind an adventure that would see Lucy team up with the Bledoe Cadets. We knew there was much fun to be had in having a mixed-race teenage girl interacting with children from 1937. We sowed the seeds in the very first novel in The Lucy Wilson Mysteries range by having her see a photograph of herself and her grandfather as a child, this was built upon in my own novel, Night of the Intelligence, in which it is revealed that James has memories of Lucy and Hobo. So, it’s been a lot of fun exploring those plot points and finally revealing the truth behind them.
The author for that exciting story is first-time novelist Tim Gambrell
, who originally won a competition to have a character named after him, and later wrote a short story for The HAVOC Files 3
: that story, The Bledoe Cadets and the Bald Man of Pengriffen
, led him to being considered for Lucy Wilson & The Bledoe Cadets
After my short story was published, I pitched another story idea which Andy asked me to develop into a novel proposal. I very much felt, from that point on, that Andy was keeping me on his reserve bench, waiting for the right position to ‘play’ me in. The creative process has been pretty fluid ever since the first writers’ meeting in Cardiff, with a strong sense of collaboration and mutual support between Andy and all of the writers. That’s certainly been appreciated by me, with this being my first published novel. Each of our slots came with a character to focus on, but otherwise we were pretty free to tell the sort of story we wanted to tell. However, my slot came with a shopping list. I was given the title, Lucy Wilson & The Bledoe Cadets, so I knew from the start it would be a cross-franchise book. Some of the book needed to take place in 2018 to mark the 50th anniversary of Lethbridge-Stewart. Added to that, the story would have to feature time travel so that Lucy, Hobo and the Bledoe Cadets could meet. And it couldn’t contradict anything already established regarding the Bledoe Cadets and alien encounters. Finally, it had to be set before the events of 1938 in The Forgotten Son, so that Sir Alistair could spend time with his brother James. That might sound like a whole lot of limitations, but I found it really liberating. It focuses the mind, being given restrictions like that.
From the moment I first read that short story, I knew Tim would get it right. He has a great handle on the Bledoe Cadets, who I created for my novel, The Forgotten Son, and I’m rather protective of them. But Tim ‘got’ them. Of course, the only risk was trusting a first-time novelist with this story. I’m happy to say, it’s a risk that paid off!
Head of Publishing Shaun Russell
Once the story was decided, Andy and I bounced back and forth the idea of having the story told from both the Brigadier’s point of view, and Lucy’s. Telling the adventure for the more mature readers in the Lethbridge-Stewart range, and then retelling it for a younger reader as part of The Lucy Wilson Mysteries. We had hoped to release both books simultaneously, but the logistics didn’t make that feasible, especially as, for Tim, it would essentially mean writing two novels at the same time! So, it was decided that Tim would write the Lethbridge-Stewart version first, and then we would sit down to discuss how to approach The Lucy Wilson Mysteries version. Lucy’s own perspective brings with it some unique things, not least a different opening before the Brigadier turns up. Although it’s essentially the same story, both books can be read independently, however reading both version will provide a more fuller take on the story.The Laughing Gnome: Lucy Wilson & The Bledoe Cadets
will be released in late April, with The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: The Brigadier & The Bledoe Cadets
due out in the summer. Both books are now available for pre-order from the Candy Jar website
.The Laughing Gnome
series will conclude in May with book six, On His Majesty’s National Service
, by David A McIntee.
Candy Jar Books are also involved in an inspiring book event at The Comic Guru (which has recently relocated to St David's Arcade, Cardiff). The comic shop is celebrating the role of women in film, TV and comics on Saturday 30th March between 11:00am and 4:30pm.
STRONG FEMALE VOICES AT THE COMIC GURU: MEET THE AUTHORS!
As we approach the end of this turbulent decade strong female characters have begun to take centre stage across all film, comics and TV drama, most especially sci-fi. Both DC and Marvel have had enormous successes with Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel respectively.
One such organisation to embrace this change is the Comic Guru, now located in the Queen Street arcade. And to celebrate this, the Comic Guru is partnering with another staple of Cardiff’s sci-fi scene, award-winning independent publisher Candy Jar Books.
To coincide with the recent release of Captain Marvel, the first woman-led instalment in Marvel’s cinematic universe, the Comic Guru is hosting its first collaborative event with Candy Jar, an author meet and greet showcasing just a few of Candy Jar’s strong female authors. Fans will get a chance to meet Alyson Leeds, an author from the Doctor Who spin-off Lethbridge-Stewart series, as well as children’s sci-fi authors Cherry Cobb and Michelle Briscombe.
Owner of the Comic Guru, Kristian Barry, says: “Both the DC and Marvel comic and film franchises have been at the catalyst of change. They have always embraced diversity and championed equal rights. Captain Marvel shows that women can be superheroes too. At the Comic Guru we want to celebrate this, and with Mother’s Day coming up we thought it was an ideal opportunity.”
Candy Jar’s range of titles spans everything from children’s fiction to war memoirs. It is perhaps best known, however, for its Lethbridge-Stewart series, a fully licensed collection of novels about the adventures of the classic Doctor Who character Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. As one of the only non-BBC official Doctor Who products out there, the series has attracted an international readership, and it is currently in its sixth series.
Alyson Leeds, whose debut novel entitled Fear of the Web is based on old Doctor Who story, The Web of Fear, states: “The one thing I always disliked about The Web of Fear was how male dominated the storyline was, and being a part of the Lethbridge-Stewart series has given me a chance to make sure the females are given their platform to speak.”
Michelle Briscombe’s novel, The House on March Lane, contains two brave female protagonists, one from the modern day and the other from the Victorian era. Both characters are free thinkers and despite being separated by one hundred years they become unlikely friends.
Cherry Cobb, author of Will’s War, a book about a boy who time travels back to World War Two London, focuses mainly on male characters. Cherry says: ”My dad was eleven when he was evacuated from Plymouth. He often used to tell me stories about how they lived and I think this is why it felt more natural to me to write about the experience of a boy. Although Will’s War has a lot of male characters, I did not aim it at boys, but as something to be enjoyed by everyone.”
Shaun Russell continues: “We’re proud of the stand sci-fi has been taking recently. We’ve tried to make our statement with our authors, as well as our Lethbridge-Stewart spinoff, The Lucy Wilson Mysteries. Sci-fi is for everyone, boys and girls, and this event has something for the whole family. Not to mention, as it takes place the day before Mother’s Day, it might be just be the perfect opportunity to pick up a last minute gift.”
Publishing Co-ordinator, Keren Williams, elaborates: “Alongside author meet and greets, there will be a chance to get your hands on some free books, and if you are interested in becoming an author yourself, Candy Jar’s team will be available to chat throughout the day.”
And just for balance, Terry Cooper, author of the sci-fi comedy Kangazang! Small Cosmos, and director of the Welsh independent film, Offworld, will also be signing at the Comic Guru. He says: “I have two daughters myself and do recognise the importance of strong role models for girls. Despite my book being a laddish adventure story, it is the female character that ultimately saves the day. Equally in Offworld it is the female spaceship Captain that takes centre stage in my story.”
Kristian Barry continues: “I’m really looking forward to welcoming this group of talented authors into my shop, it is sure to be a stupendous start to many more Comic Guru events.”