It feels like only yesterday that ‘The Lucy Wilson Mysteries‘ first appeared. Candy Jar Books are keeping the family friendly Lethbridge-Stewart spin-off in full swing with these upcoming releases.
That doesn’t mean we should expect two ‘Lucy Wilson Mysteries‘ but a crossover event with her grandfather, the Brigadier. This is a terrific way to wrap up the ongoing plot in Lucy Wilson, while potentially introducing fans of each series to one another.
Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart is still lost in time, cast through his own time stream by the mysterious Gnome.
Answers are presented to him when he meets the architect of his travels, and is told he has one adventure ahead of him. A chance to make sure his legacy is secure. He will be sent to 2018, and a meeting with his granddaughter, the protector of Ogmore-by-Sea, Lucy Wilson.
In 1937, young Ali Lethbridge-Stewart and his brother James find themselves face to face with smugglers, while in 2018 Lucy and Hobo are preparing for a trip to Cornwall.
What connects 1937 and 2018? The Brigadier and Lucy Wilson are about to find out, when they are cast back in time and join the Bledoe Cadets in solving the mystery at Redgate Smithy. The price will be high for at least one of the Cadets. But for the Brigadier and Lucy, it is a chance to understand what truly binds them together, what it is to be a Lethbridge-Stewart!
Part of what makes this crossover so interesting is that it picks up from book 5 Rise of the Dominator from The Laughing Gnome series celebrating 50 years of The Brigadier.
The Lethbridge-Stewart Range Editor, Andy Frankham Allen, sheds some light on how this crossover came to be. ”Ever since The Lucy Wilson Mysteries was devised, Shaun (Russell) and I had in a mind an adventure that would see Lucy team up with the Bledoe Cadets. We knew there was much fun to be had in having a mixed-race teenage girl interacting with children from 1937. We sowed the seeds in the very first novel in The Lucy Wilson Mysteries range by having her see a photograph of herself and her grandfather as a child, this was built upon in my own novel, Night of the Intelligence, in which it is revealed that James has memories of Lucy and Hobo. So, it’s been a lot of fun exploring those plot points and finally revealing the truth behind them.”
Tim Gambrell, first came to the Lethbridge-Stewart range when he won a competition to have a character named after him. Gambrell submitted some ideas and eventually had a short story published in The HAVOC Files 3. This is Gambrell’s first novel and he explains how he came to write this book. “After my short story was published, I pitched another story idea which Andy asked me to develop into a novel proposal. I very much felt, from that point on, that Andy was keeping me on his reserve bench, waiting for the right position to ‘play’ me in.
“The creative process has been pretty fluid ever since the first writers’ meeting in Cardiff, with a strong sense of collaboration and mutual support between Andy and all of the writers. That’s certainly been appreciated by me, with this being my first published novel. Each of our slots came with a character to focus on, but otherwise we were pretty free to tell the sort of story we wanted to tell. However, my slot came with a shopping list. I was given the title, Lucy Wilson & The Bledoe Cadets, so I knew from the start it would be a cross-franchise book.
“Some of the book needed to take place in 2018 to mark the 50th anniversary of Lethbridge-Stewart. Added to that, the story would have to feature time travel so that Lucy, Hobo and the Bledoe Cadets could meet. And it couldn’t contradict anything already established regarding the Bledoe Cadets and alien encounters. Finally, it had to be set before the events of 1938 in The Forgotten Son, so that Sir Alistair could spend time with his brother James. That might sound like a whole lot of limitations, but I found it really liberating. It focuses the mind, being given restrictions like that.”
Crossing it over
How does this become a two part crossover? The Head of Publishing for Candy Jar Books Shaun Russell explains. “Once the story was decided, Andy and I bounced back and forth the idea of having the story told from both the Brigadier’s point of view, and Lucy’s. Telling the adventure for the more mature readers in the Lethbridge-Stewart range, and then retelling it for a younger reader as part of The Lucy Wilson Mysteries.
“We had hoped to release both books simultaneously, but the logistics didn’t make that feasible, especially as, for Tim, it would essentially mean writing two novels at the same time! So, it was decided that Tim would write the Lethbridge-Stewart version first, and then we would sit down to discuss how to approach The Lucy Wilson Mysteries version. Lucy’s own perspective brings with it some unique things, not least a different opening before the Brigadier turns up. Although it’s essentially the same story, both books can be read independently, however reading both version will provide a more fuller take on the story.”
The Gambrell paid off
This sounds like a fascinating idea especially with the idea of two separate age ranges in mind. Gambrell seems excited and up to the task and Frankham-Allen has the confidence to ensure this is going to be a worthwhile and exciting crossover.
Frankham-Allen says: “From the moment I first read that short story, I knew Tim would get it right. He has a great handle on the Bledoe Cadets, who I created for my novel, The Forgotten Son, and I’m rather protective of them. But Tim ‘got’ them. Of course, the only risk was trusting a first-time novelist with this story. I’m happy to say, it’s a risk that paid off!”
There will be one more book to conclude the Laughing Gnome series, due out in May. In the meantime you can pre-order The Laughing Gnome: Lucy Wilson & The Bledoe due late April.