Holcroft Blood – the world’s first autistic action hero

One of the weirdest things about being a novelist is how your characters come to life. I used to think that when people said this, it was just writerly bullshit, artistic exaggeration. But, like Pinocchio, my boy Holcroft Blood has become a real person to me now. And I want him to carry on living.

A character in a novel starts off as a mere idea: perhaps he or she could be like this, and could look like that. Maybe she could have this kind of quirk, or habit. Possibly he could be someone who hates/loves spoons, the colour green or Wednesdays. But three books into the series, Holcroft Blood has developed and grown and quite definitely become his own man.

In Blood’s Game, when we were introduced to Holcroft, he was an awkward teenager and was much more autistic in his habits and mind-set, and even a little bit OCD. He was a half-formed creature, determined and clever in his own way, very tough, too, but a bit lost. And it wasn’t until the second book in the series that he really came to life for me. I began to enjoy his company.

Blood's Game paperback

In Blood’s Revolution, Holcroft came of age. He was in his thirties in that book, a grown man, successful in his chosen career, and with emotional baggage. (I mean one day to write a book that fills in the gaps between Game and Revolution, which btw comes out in paperback on November 14th.) He had successfully learnt to navigate a difficult world, how to function reasonably effectively. He was less autistic, or he hid it better, but still somewhere on the Asperger’s spectrum. Obviously he had not changed completely but becoming an adult had made life a little easier for him.

In Blood’s Campaign, which comes out in hardback and ebook on November 28th, Holcroft has truly come into his own. It is only a year or two after Revolution, but he is now in a position of authority and his skills as an artillery officer have been recognised on the battlefields of Ireland. I love the interplay between him and the Irish raparee Michael “Galloping” Hogan, who is one of the other stars of the book. Holcroft is fun to be with. Holcroft doesn’t quite makes jokes – he hates jokes – but there is a sly wit about him that I enjoy enormously. I also don’t know what he will do next.

The truth is I don’t know what is going to happen with the series next, either. My publisher has said that they don’t wish to publish any more of the saga at this time. They may charge their minds but, unfortunately, sales of the first two books have been a little disappointing. I would really like to write some more Holcroft adventures: I particularly want to get him the the battle of Bleinheim, where the historical Holcroft commanded the English artillery under his friend Jack Churchill (aka the Duke of Marlborough).

So this is a sort of plea. If you have enjoyed Holcroft’s adventures so far, and would like to see more of this most extraordinary of action heroes, or if you just think he sounds interesting, buy a copy of one of the books in the series, leave a review on Amazon, and tell your friends about Holcroft Blood. I don’t want my once-fictional, but now very real friend to perish yet.

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