Jon Steele, The Watchers, Batham Press, London, June 2011
The Watchers by Jon Steele has just been published in the UK. I haven’t yet read the book, but what interests me here is the way the author announces his book. The book is set in the French speaking part of Switzerland and the author has chosen to make a series of short videos describing the places his book is set in. Part of my enthusiasm for these videos springs from the fact that I know the places mentioned and I had already heard the story of the “guet”, the watcher. His nightly activities atop the tower of the Cathedral in Lausanne certainly fire the imagination and it doesn’t surprise me that someone should want to plant a story there.
Hosted by Fantasy Book Critic, each video is announced with a brief summary dispensing those readers with little time from necessarily watching the video. It is interesting to note that despite the competition for a giveaway copy given to the lucky person picked at random from those writing a comment on one of the videos, few people did actually comment. The videos are not slick, glossy productions, but rather informal travelogs telling a tale, showing a place, capturing an atmosphere but also linking the place to the story and including the reading of very short extracts from the book. It’s always a difficult exercise to talk about your forthcoming book: to convey the excitement and enthusiasm for the story without giving too much away. The tone of his telling and the choice of the camera angles, designed to be mysterious, intimate and confiding are sometimes overdone but the overall effect is intriguing and had me wanting to read the book.
Link to the first of the videos. They are also available on YouTube. http://fantasybookcritic.blogspot.com/2011/06/watchers-video-giveaway-part-one.html