Coming back on the night train from Paris, I was delighted to find that another 11 (!) ‘Killing time’ titles have arrived over Monday and Tuesday, bringing the total number to 16 (of
24 25). I have stacked them all up and made a new photograph. Will delve into a few of them in a minute.
The one book that doesn’t have its author marked on the spine, the title ending rather oddly with a full stop, is a crime novel in the ‘Inspector Abaline’ series by Paul R Melia. Apparently, the book is self-published via lulu.com – it was printed on demand by Amazon in Leipzig, Germany, and it has this strange synthetic feel that such books have. I am not sure whether the author is really identical with the English art historian writing about the likes of David Hockney and Peter Greenaway, as the goodreads site seems to suggest. Could well be a namesake. My permission request mail to the art historian Melia has not had a reply yet.
An interesting twist has occurred. The publisher of one of the ‘Killing time’ books has written back that in order to grant permission for my use of sentences, they would have to see the exact list of all quotations I am going to use. Writing back, I have explained the emergent nature of my selection choices, ending with a two-pronged proposal:
- I go ahead as planned, keep track of all sentences used, and supply the publisher with the full list once I am done. The publisher may then go through the list, and if there are any individual sentences they think I should not use, I’ll remove them from the text (this may leave nasty holes that may turn out to be difficult to plug)
- For the source in question, I deviate from the intended procedure and make a pre-selection of sentences (possibly including a change of all proper names) which I then submit to the publisher for approval
In a sense, selecting sentences from one book before the process starts and the text begins to take shape may prime the result in some way. But I have to start somewhere – so why not take one of the books and see what sentences resonate?
The permission conversation is starting to shape the outcome – which is as it should be.
After encountering some difficulty when trying to contact Donald Freed, author of ‘Killing time – The First Full Investigation into the Unsolved Murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman’ (his website was easy enough to find, but the strange looking contact e-mail address has bounced), I tried to contact the author of ‘Hawk 4 – Killing time’, William S Brady, according to the Wikipedia entry for Angus Wells a pen name for either for Wells (who died in 2008), or for John Harvey (who is alive and kicking – his latest crime novel is called Good bait). I found John Harvey”s personal web site and now his blog, mellotone70up, which is quite a good read. And I sent my ‘request for permission’ mail.
Having failed to contact Donald Freed, I have used the contact page of the University of Southern California where he has taught. Not a likely avenue, but it is worth a try.
Mostly via Amazon, I have ordered altogether 22 titles called “Killing time”. Just 5 have already arrived. The pile is growing slowly.
Browsed and read Bruce Jackson‘s great b&w 1977 photo book about the Arkansas penitentiary, which in its last part documents voices / tales of some of the prisoners, and also, ‘correctional officers’.
Last night, I started to read Frank Tallis‘ lean, well-crafted novel – a text that skillfully hints on strange things that have already happened and will be revealed in due time, without being too obvious about it. The colloquial tone of dialogue is spot-on, as I remember it from my time in the UK.
Yesterday, I wrote to all authors (sometimes actual letters c/o their American publishers) to request permission for using sentences of their books. Four authors have already answered – no objections so far. Which is good news.
I found out that some of the authors are dead:
For some, such as Murray Smith, it will be difficult to get clearance. Not sure how to proceed in these cases. Go to the trouble of tracking down the caretakes / heirs?
I have set up this WordPress blog to house the emerging text of ‘Killing time’. Set-up was relatively easy – I have started making some changes to the CSS of the theme. Must work out how to best use WP for this purpose…