Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Reading 2011: More Barrowman Books

The Barrowman sibs are at it again. According to today's announcement from book publisher, Buster Books (an imprint of Michael O’Mara), the first of a hoped-for series of children’s books will be published next summer. Embedded in the announcement is notice of an upcoming Torchwood tie-in penned (probably more accurately Skyped and word processed) by, you guessed it, the Barrowmans.

I’ve been waiting for this announcement for more than a year, ever since I asked John Barrowman at Torchsong about any future writing projects the duo might have in the works. At that time (and apparently to his sister’s surprise), he described the series of children’s books they planned to write, as well as a possible Torchwood novel that might, as Carole later hinted, include a love interest (or two) for Captain Jack.

The timing of today’s announcement makes the most of recent announcements about Torchwood’s new season as a Starz/BBC/BBC Worldwide collaboration and the Barrowmans’ Q&A session with follow-up book signing yesterday in London. Generating excitement about future projects—as well as expanding the family entertainment franchise—is certainly one of John Barrowman’s strengths. Carole Barrowman’s ardent Facebook following and fan-friendly presence at conventions and signings bring even more prospective readers to the forthcoming books, so much so that the sibs are likely to continue their collaborative writing success long after a single project (even one as notorious as Torchwood) eventually ends.

As an English professor, I take special pride that “one of us” is gaining international attention for writing. Too many well-qualified fiction writers don’t get the opportunity to reach a widespread audience, especially amid the wildly fluctuating fortunes of today’s publishing industry. I also suspect that, if Carole Barrowman weren’t such a talented writer, her brother’s multidirectional career might not include so many books. For those of us who would perish without writing, even if it means limited or no publication, Carole’s success is invigorating and refreshing (not to mention well deserved). You go, girl!

As a Torchwood fan, I’m intrigued by the notion of John Barrowman directing Captain Jack’s fate. He’s mentioned that he’s an actor who follows what the script demands of his character (even if he might personally question it, as a “Children of Earth” Torchwood magazine interview heavily implied). During Torchsong last year, he suggested he’d like to see more of Captain Jack’s backstory, even within his time at Torchwood. Here’s the actor’s chance to tell us how he sees this character and what he would do if given the chance to tell a story. Although to a certain extent that happened with the comic “Selkie,” a novel gives a lot more time and space for character development. I suspect that the children’s novels will be published first and take precedence, but I hope that the publisher knows there’s a waiting adult audience for the Barrowmans’ Torchwood tie-in, too.

Congratulations to the Barrowmans. Even if I’m just a kid at heart, I know what’s on my summer reading list for 2011.

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