Adventures in Writing – a personal journey by Stuart G Yates

Something happened to me the other day which has happened before, and will no doubt happen again.

The publisher of my novel ‘The Story of Don Luis’ folded.

This meant, of course, that the book came off the shelves at Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, etc,etc, and the rights reverted to me. The initial shock gave way to a kind of simmering optimism. I now had choices, real choices. Should I submit it again, to another publisher, or take the plunge and self-publish?

I’m still debating.

The thing is, I began to write a follow-up. I won’t use the word’ sequel’ because it isn’t. It is a stand-alone story about Don Luis getting himself involved with solving a murder. I’ve always wanted to write a ‘whodunit’ ever since my first outing when I was 12 and wrote one for my Nan (see an earlier blog of mine which details all of this). Well, I wouldn’t call this your typical Agatha Christie-type work, but it is something of a mystery. And I’m loving writing it. However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing.

There is a scene in the book in which the villain (there’s always got to be a villain, right?) shoots at Don Luis from a distance of over 200 paces. Now, this may not sound a lot, but actually it is. Try it and see. We’ve all seen Usain Bolt cover 100 metres in way under ten-seconds, but have you actually seen a 100 metre running track? Well, double it. That is long!

So, the problem I had was this: was there, in the Seventeenth Century , a musket capable of shooting someone over that distance. Naturally, I did the Internet surfing thing. I read about the Afghani Jezail, a beautifully carved musket of exquisite craftsmanship, with a range of over 250 paces! Success…or perhaps not. Because the Jezail was used in the 19th Century against the Brits during the Victorian Afghan Wars. Had it been around earlier than this? Well, I didn’t know. So I got in touch with the British Museum. They didn’t know. Then I contacted the Leeds Armouries, and they didn’t know, but they put me onto someone who might…but they didn’t. So, I was put onto someone else…and I’m still waiting.

This is what makes writing so exciting and interesting for me. It may start out as mere imagination, but fairly soon – if you have set your story in a historical period – the facts have to be checked out. I can’t wait to learn if this gun was around 350 years ago. If it was, then that is great…but what if it wasn’t? Well, I’ll have no choice but to do some serious re-writing!


You can visit my websites and discover more about my books and links to purchasing them.

For Stuart G Yates (thrillers and adult fiction) visit

For Glenn Stuart (for YA paranormal mysteries) visit:

Thanks for dropping by, and keep reading!




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2 responses to “Adventures in Writing – a personal journey by Stuart G Yates

  1. Hi Stuart, that would certainly be a shock, having the publisher suddenly fold. But I hope you keep your book as it is, and push it out into the world yourself, holding all rights. Very empowering!

    • Well, the changes I make will only be minor – silly typoes, but not a great deal more. But yes, it is empowering, and I will to see how things deveop. This has happened to me before – three other of my publishers have gone out of business, so I hope it isn’t catching. Thanks for dropping by.

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