Letter From The Editor
-SEPTEMBER 7th, 2013–
Time To Give A Watchmaking Mouse His Due
The Hermux Tantamoq Adventures
One Author’s Retrospective
I discovered these books at a time when I feared what I loved reading and writing was no longer being published and appreciated. When I say that, I’m saying this in the context of the author I was trying to become, and what I fiercely hope am starting to be.
When I made the decision to do book reviews on T.A.A., I promised myself that while I will not be a snob about books (Something more dangerous for authors than lay readers), I HAD to also shed light on books that may not sell the millions (As both authors and publishers would like that to be the case) they MATTER to the readers who do buy them and read them.
This isn’t a review of the series , but rather one writer’s commentary on what it means to me, proper reviews will come in time, and as such, I avoid any and all plot spoilers.
Back in 2008-ish, while I was working on version 3 of GABRIEL (My forthcoming debut novel), I was feeling highly discouraged when I came across “Time Stops For No Mouse” and gave it a go. This will sound an exaggeration to anyone who does not know me well, but this book saved my life as a writer, for I came to it at a time I most needed two vital things a writer cannot live without-
A book to love And a book to learn from. While my writing mentors at the time, made the wise (Though HARD to live up to) suggestion to study the books. As someone who had a far from ideal school experience, the LAST thing I wanted to do was analyze books in my genre, because it took away the solace I NEED from books and their characters, something I VIOLENTLY needed that I could not get from family, and had no friends offline, and my e-pen pals only help so much from what I felt then, and still do sometimes, but I have better resilience now.
While lay readers can love what they love without questioning themselves, those of us in publishing (Myself included) have so much more to consider.
Before I go further, I need to stress something critical: Writers HAVE to think of the here and now of books, and not let the great books of the past intrude too much. Readers are increasingly more impatient and easily bored if you drag on too long.
Even though I didn’t learn to love books for pleasure until high school (I still could read technically mind you, I just didn’t do it for fun like many authors in their own youth had) I do tend to love books (or films and television, for that matter) published in the past, either from my own childhood (The 90s), or as far back as the early 20th Century.
As writers, we not only have to consider what we loved/not loved reading, but how it’s written, and annoying as it is sometimes, WHEN it’s written.
Books published during the writer’s childhood aren’t necessarily reflective of what’s published today, and writers need to keep today’s readers in mind, and this is something I still STRUGGLE to make peace with.
Not that there aren’t books written now I don’t enjoy, after all, the series I’m highlighting was NOT published in my childhood (Though the first book was originally published on the tail end of my teen years) though I wish I’d known of it then.
It wasn’t until I pursued writing as career that I discovered this book in one of my many searches for new voices, as you know from this site’s
focus, that animal fantasy is my primary genre as a writer, though I do read more broadly.
As fellow series loyalists know (However few of us there are at the time I write this), Hermux keeps a notebook where he writes his blessings amidst moments of mystery, tragedy, and joy. Hard earned. Hard Won.
In closing, I’ll (Lightly) emulate this style in my final
words on the series, and of its author-
Thank you for authors like Michael Hoeye, who had the courage and jaunty zeal to self-publish at a time when the practice was all but unheard of, and considered social death to authors and publishers alike.
Thank you, Michael, for being just as daring as Ms.Linka Perflinger. I’m glad your courage was
rewarded, if not monetary fortune, in a grateful “literary rat” such as myself.
Of course I thank your wife, too, who convinced you to keep moving forward on that first book of what would be a literary quartet to be proud of.
Thank you for reminding a frazzled literary rat of an author like me, that what I love reading and writing (Despite setbacks and dealing with ignorant comments on animal fantasy) STILL gets published, and I’m glad you never gave up on Hermux, and I LONG for a new installment, or something new.
Your books helped me stay the course as I toiled the last decade to bring my debut to press.
Thank you for Michael’s literary agent, Elizabeth Harding, who saw what I saw in these books, and why I sent her a query. Even though at the time I was told via her assistant she wasn’t looking for new clients, I love we share similar interests in authors, sorry if it sounds like pandering (Should Elizabeth or anyone who knows her reads this) but I do mean it with utmost sincerity.
Ditto the “Thank You” for Penguin-Putman (Before the merger with Random House)
for bringing the hardcovers to the U.S.
Thanks to the actor Campbell Scott, for being the perfect narrator for unabridged audiobook version of the series. (Well, up to Book 3, anyway…)
Thank you to “The Bookbeat.” The last known indie bookstore in my home state of Michigan, at least that’s the easiest for me to get to via the convience my grandmother’s Volvo (I don’t have a Driver’s License, nor can I afford a cat and it’s mandated insurance if I did) for having a SIGNED edition of “No Time Like Show Time” I was willing to pay over twice the MSRP ($14.95 USD) to obtain.
And Thank You for writing the books I WISH I could’ve written.
In fact, your series inspired my current novel in progress, and the hero of that book while not a mouse but an otter, I think he and Hermux would get on famously. I would love to have my hardcovers the other three books signed while you’re still on this Earth.
Many of my cherished authors are dead, most recently Bernard Waber. (How grateful I am to have obtained a signed copy of “Lyle and the Birthday Party” also obtained from “The BookBeat” before prices go sky high, but only in absolute desperation will I EVER sell it) I pray I won’t be too late for you.
Until next time,
-Your sometimes grumpy, still hopeful, and always persistant, Literary Rat