It was a good run all things considered. Quite an adventure for me. Not to mention Hermux and friends. The Hermux books began in 1999 with Time Stops for No Mouse. They end with Time to Smell the Roses published in 2007. This year all four books went out of print.
But this year marked a more interesting milestone as well.
I have started hearing from early readers of the Hermux adventures who have now grown up. They write to tell me that they are pursuing careers and dreams that they are kind enough to say were inspired by their readings of the books. I got a letter like that this week from a young woman who set out to become an archaeologist after reading The Sands of Time. And she’s done just that! Earlier this summer I heard from a man who is studying to become a watchmaker. I had a lot of crazy goals in mind when I started writing the first book. #1 being to finish the book. After that the biggest goal was to inspire readers to do something imaginative and demanding—something that required both risk and discipline—which is my idea of what creativity is. I won’t bore you by going into all that. Suffice it to say that I think creativity is an essential element of life. And that takes a lot of forms, from a perfect celery-potato donut to a monumental painting of a naked cat. Or a watch that keeps perfect time regardless of approaching danger.
I started writing Time Stops for No Mouse in the middle of January 1999 while my wife Martha was on a three month business trip to Asia. It started as a lark.
I was playing around on my computer at the end of the day, and I sketched out an unexpected encounter between a watchmaker and an adventuress. I wrote it the way you might doodle something on a napkin. There was something about it that I liked. I tinkered with it for a couple of hours. Then suddenly it was ten o’clock. I hadn’t gone home yet. I hadn’t had dinner. But I had written what looked like the first chapter of a book.
I made Hermux's acquaintance two years earlier entirely by accident. Here's me telling that story in a homemade video from 2007.