He looks like a young adult, claims to be born in the 19th century and laments that the other wizards call him Merlin Sherlock as a taunt. Thaddeus Barlow has wanted to be a detective from when he read newly published stories of Edgar Allan Poe before disappearing into a kindergarten for wizards. Now, after 169 years of learning the basics of wizardry and reading detective stories on the side, he has graduated into the world with the hopes of fulfilling that youthful fancy. He would do so gladly if it were not for the mockery of his fellow wizards who do not consider snooping a respectable endeavor for a newly minted wizard. They Call Me Merlin Sherlock is Thad’s lament as well as his memoir through which he hopes his first case as a detective will convince all that his chosen life is more than a laughing matter. Is he a true wizard, a daft poseur, or a deft publicist for a new and struggling agency? Clues, adventure and humor abound in this tale told from the perspective of an early nineteenth century lad steeped in ancient lore and practicing in an early twenty-first century theme park. Why the park? You really must read the book to find out.
Jack London lamented that he had spent his life as a working class intellectual rubbing shoulders with the underprivileged on tramp steamers, in gold mining camps, on wharves and in warehouses while reading extensively and writing books of serious social and philosophical merit only to be renowned for writing about dogs. It irked him yet inspired me decades later. Eighteen-wheelers, psych wards, factory floors and the halls of academia and corporate America may not be perfect matches to London’s, but they have all been part of my own working class adventures. I have lived in numerous careers the fiction that each was intrinsically important while in fact each was merely research for the role of Carl Stevens, Writer.
Professor-in-training (in three fields so far, philosophy, history and psychology), nurse in a psychiatric facility, long-haul truck driver, security guard, waiter, bartender, clerical worker, manual laborer, engineer - they were all facades I presented while my true life’s work went on behind the scenes, reading and writing and incorporating life experience with the scholarly to create the self-identity that is now creating novels.
This prompts an insight that goes beyond this individual book. You see, at the end of writing it I was all taken up with the idea of They Call Me Merlin Sherlock as but the first in a long series in which I would take the challenge of The Time Traveler's Fool (a book written so that at it's end the mystery was still perfectly balanced amongst many possible solutions and readers enjoy arguing about what really happened) to a series in which mysteries would continue to engage with artfully balanced suspense across multiple books. Halfway through the second book I find my cup runneth over as two entirely different projects compete for attention. Rather than writer's block I am blessed with a writer's fount of inspiration. I just don't know which bucket I will fill first.