Dear Friends, Readers and Fellow Writers,
I retired from public life in January, 2014, and no longer attend breakfasts, brunches, lunches, afternoon teas, cocktails, dinners, events, festivals, speeches or launches. I don't do interviews any more, and don't have email, a mobile phone or a social media presence. All of my time is devoted to new projects and my family of loved ones.
I'm not running away from life: I'm moving into a creative seclusion. I love humanity and the world that sustains us, and I want to do as much new work in the coming years as possible.
I hope that those who'll miss my public life will be served by new writing from my private life. I hope that those I don't see, and those I can't respond to, will understand my decision when they see and hear the movies, music, graphic novels, essays, short stories and novels I'm working on now.
I leave the public world with a happy heart, knowing that it's the song not the singer that endures. If there's anyone out there who knows how to delete stuff from the internet legally and without compromising anyone's copyright, I'd appreciate it if you'd delete any pictures and film of me or references to me from the internet, especially deleting me from Wikipedia, leaving only my work. It would be very nice, to be erased from cyberspace, because it's not about me: it's about the art.
My literary agent, Joe Regal, and the head of Grove Atlantic, Morgan Entrekin, created a contract for the North American rights of The Mountain Shadow, which allowed me to keep the ebook, agreed to a limited license of the print publishing rights, and established a 50/50 partnership in benefit sharing. It's an evolutionary contract, and one that I hope challenges barriers of unfairness and indignity for other writers. I'm grateful to both men for being game changers, and bringing so much affectionate respect to our partnership.
Being able to retain the ebook rights, I was free to create the kind of ebook that I'd like to buy myself from any one of my favourite writers. I transcribed the text of the novel, but added some Bonus Features to the package.
There are about 24,000 words of deleted scenes, characters and dialogue, which I cut from all of the 23 drafts of the novel. Each deleted piece is annotated with the number of the last version in which it appeared before deletion.
There's an uncut, expanded version of the philosophical debate between Idriss and the sages who challenge him, without interjections.
There's a 180 question Q&A, which is my last interview for some time.
There's a comparison of four versions of Chapter One, from one of the earliest versions to the penultimate, so that readers can see the evolution of the work through many rewrites.
And there are 10 love poems from Lin to Karla, and from Karla to Lin, including the two from Shantaram and The Mountain Shadow.
If you want to buy the ebook, there's an icon somewhere on this site that will get you there. I hope that when other publishers see what writers can do with an ebook, they'll see the rational benefit in more equitable contracts. It was a pure pleasure putting the ebook extras together, and I hope you have fun wandering through the little forest of it.
Since this is a signing off message, I guess I should leave you with something from the slender perch of my experience. I've done wrong, I've made just about every mistake there is, and I dug a trench in my own honour. But as a sinner who tries to sin no more, and who knows that it's never too late to change if you never give up hope, here it is. Connection is everything. Connect with others, and with your spiritual self. Love the truth you find in other hearts, and always listen to the voice of truth in your own heart. Be as fair, honest, positive and creative as you can in all your thoughts, speech and actions. The heart of our human kind is tolerant, cooperative, caring and courageous. That's what we were in the first 100,000 years of our cultural evolution, and it's what we still are inside our common humanity. And when you honour the truth of others and follow your own heart, you walk in the light that you become.
Love and Faith,