A BOOK project penned by Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson has secured a three -edition international deal after getting financial support from fans.
Gerry’s Gemini Force One is a series of books he began writing in 2008 but failed to finish as he dealt with rapidly worsening Alzheimer’s before his death aged 83 on Boxing Day 2012.
Gerry is best remembered for his string-puppet based TV series in the 1960s, including Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet, and he still has legions of fans.
His son Jamie, 28, of Hampton near Highworth, made it his mission to ensure all of his father’s creations saw the light of day.
Publishers were not prepared to back the project without making changes, which forced Jamie to list the project on crowd-funding website Kickstarter, where Anderson fans put up their own money to see it published.
In October of last year, £33,463 from 615 backers was enough to see the project gain enough publicity to welcome Robert Kirby, literary agent of the year for 2012, on board.
Robert has now arranged for a three-book deal with The Orion Publishing Group, who will release a limited edition of the first book to Kickstarter backers in August.
The instalment will be re-released to the mainstream market through their children’s division in 2015, with the second title in autumn 2015 and the third in 2016.
The series will be released across the world with translations in the pipeline.
Confidence in the project from both Jamie and Orion is high.
“We had given up on a traditional publishing deal. We weren’t expecting a proper book release – maybe an e-book,” said Jamie.
“Our agent was talking to Orion and they were excited by the fact we held so much support through Kickstarter.
“This deal allows us to complete the story arc dad started. He has also left us enough notes for a fourth and fifth book, if the original series does well enough.
“Orion thinks, because of the themes of the book, it’s going to be a strong performer in the States and the Japanese market, where there are strong Anderson fans.
“The amount Orion put up for this shows they truly believe it could become the next big thing in children’s books.”
The first instalment of 55,000 words was written by MG Harris, the Anderson estate’s author of choice to follow Gerry’s ideas.