It occurs to me that some people might be interested in how Sardinian Silver came to be written.
I went to Sardinia (from England, my home) in 1962, after seeing an ad for a teacher of English in a (dreadful) Berlitz school: I'd resigned from a job I didn't like after graduating from university in 1961. The first draft of the novel was written after my return from Sardinia: in 1962-3 I was again teaching English in a better school in Reggio Calabria, in the toe of Italy, and I used to sit writing in an outdoor cafe. With pen and paper of course—no word processors in those days!
Before going to Sardinia, I had worked in hotels as a tourist representative during my university vacations in Scotland and Switzerland. I decided to use that experience, rather than teaching, in the novel. Although the places are real enough and some characters were suggested by people I knew, everything was fictionalized. Thus, although based on my own experience, the novel is not autobiography.
In 1964 I was selected to go on the Anglo-Soviet exchange to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) for a year. (I learned Russian during my national service in Britain in the Royal Air Force, 1956-58, and subsequently studied it with French and German as well at Cambridge University. I only learned Italian when I went to Sardinia.) I was still trying to type up my manuscript on the ship from London to Leningrad—but I had to mail it back to England from Helsinki, the last port before reaching the Soviet Union, because there was always the possibility that, with censorship there, custom officials would confiscate the manuscript.
Subsequently, after coming to Canada to teach Russian at Queen's University, I continued work on it and other creative writing projects, attending various workshops at the University of New Brunswick and the University of Iowa. Later I joined a writers’ group in Kingston and had imany of my writings critiqued by the others.
My main work of course was academic, and I published many academic articles and a major book on the Russian writer, Mikhail Bulgakov. But I continued to write creatively, short stories (about 20 published in literary journals), novels and, more recently, plays. I have submitted these interminably to publishers and theatres without success, although some of the plays won competitions and were performed locally in the amateur theatre.
In 2004 I returned to Sardinia for the first time, finding it vastly changed (as described in the appendix)—giving the book, I think, a certain historical value. Having tried for years to get the novel published, I finally did so through iUniverse in 2008: the only problem now being to market it amongst so many other novels published and availabe. (More on this shortly.)