Ramsgate couple launch independent publisher with renamed Illmoor Chronicles novel – The Isle Of Thanet News

David and Chiara mark independent publication with the launch of the reworked Illmoor tale

Launching an independent publishing company with his wife Chiara is a phoenix rising from the ashes for Ramsgate fantasy writer David Stone, who says his writing career ‘collapsed and burned’ after that enormous pressure was put on him by previous editors.

David, 44, is the author of some 25 books which are mostly fantasy fiction aimed at young adults.

The father-of-two is best known for his Illmoor Chronicle series for Disney and Hodder, but has many other books, including Gladiator Boy and Undead Ed and Outcasts, as well as short stories in a variety of anthologies, including the famous Knights of Madness. alongside Terry Pratchett, who has been an inspiration in his writing career.

But the Illmoor Chronicles was a ‘bittersweet’ experience for David with a massive expectation from publisher Disney to hit sales of a million in a genre where the average is 25,000 books. Then there was the splitting of one book into three, something beyond David’s control, which made readers feel like they weren’t getting their money’s worth.

Along with this, David battled depression for most of his adult life and in 2016 he suffered depression followed by the realization that he has autism, albeit undiagnosed.

This period led to a hiatus in novel publishing, but now with Chiara, who is the powerhouse behind the creation of Kingsbrook Independent Publishing, David has released a new brand of Illmoor’s original series called Shadow of the Shapeshifter , has another, autobiographical, book due out late this year or early next year and is working on a collaboration with Ramsgate children’s author Kate Willis-Crowley, aka Inky Willis. A second Illmoor tale – The Venom of Vanquish – is also due out this year.

David, who has been creating stories since childhood and was first published in 1998, said: “When Disney released the first three books (Illmoor) to millions of readers, the reviews tore me apart. By the time book four arrived, critics had decided the writing was really great, but by then Disney had walked away from the series and (publisher) Hodder put it on the books. gap – so no one has seen the last three books.

“As each novel in the series stands on its own, I thought I would start publishing with the best – so Shadow of the Shapeshifter has been both updated and added with bonus material – including the Shallowfalls Spinecaster novel that I wrote in 2018 and now sees it in print for the first time.

“Shadow of the Shapeshifter is a cross between The Man in the Iron Mask and Sherlock Holmes – but set in Middle-earth. It’s also a case of mistaken identity as it’s all started by two guys in the wrong place at the worst possible time.

“Illmoor is my baby, so all my time on the bestseller lists with Undead Ed and Gladiator Boy was a bit bittersweet because my own favorite series had flopped.

“My wife has built an extremely successful business while my own career has crumbled due to the huge expectation Disney has placed on me, so when she asked me if I would trust her with my books – assuming that we get the rights back – I said yes immediately.

“Kingsbrook is entirely Chiara’s brainchild – and she’s already won over TikTok audiences and correctly identified the show as YA (young adult) which Disney hasn’t.

“We will start publishing new authors from 2023, starting with a book of which I am extremely proud – written with Kate Willis-Crowley (Inky Willis) of Ramsgate who is a close friend – and another author of Hodder. It’s called the Bad Apple Dojo.

Chiara, who is an artist, graphic designer and founder of the company Hoobynoo, added: “The decision (to launch Kingsbrook) was made after many years of conversation and creative frustration.

“I think a lot of writers think being published traditionally is the holy grail, for David’s 20 years in the industry it’s been a very frustrating process which has had a negative impact on his mental health.

“With traditional publishing, you have no creative control over the cover and design of your book, the market the book is intended for, and many other aspects of the process: this is especially true for Disney.

“Indie publishing and self-publishing used to be looked down upon, but with the rise of Tik Tok and Instagram, a whole new industry has blossomed and many authors are self-publishing or publishing through an independent publisher. with great success.

“For us, the main reason was to regain that creative control and be in charge of the process to ensure that each book had the best chance of success.”

An unusual result of David’s depression is how subsequent psychotherapy sessions resulted in a new book chronicling his childhood in Ramsgate in the 1980s.

Am I still unconscious? also takes a retrospective look at autism.

David said: “I had depression in 2016 and found out I had autism shortly after. I was always extremely introverted, but it was still a shock and I went through months of psychotherapy and counseling. But every counselor and therapist I saw ended up crying with laughter when I started describing my childhood and my various jobs in Ramsgate from the perspective of having autism and not knowing it. So a lot of the really outrageous things that I witnessed and participated in when I was an assistant director at Blockbuster Video are now bordering on comedy!

A launch party for Kingsbrook Publishing and Shadow of the Shapeshifter will take place at Moon Lane Books in Ramsgate on April 8 from 6.30pm. The book is available now at all major book retailers, including Amazon, WH Smith and Waterstones.

Learn more about Kingsbrook Publishing here