The Department 19 Files are opened today!

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It’s barely a month until Department 19: Battle Lines is published, and there’s going to be a lot of cool stuff happening between now and then. I’ve also got some awesome World Book Day news to tell you as soon as all the details are finalised, and I’m about to start serious work on book four. But today is a big day for me, for a simple reason – today sees the publication of the first of a trilogy of original Department 19 stories called The Department 19 Files.

Here are the (awesome!) covers:

1917 - cover image 1918 - cover image 1919 - cover image

So the obvious question – what exactly are they? To answer that, let me take you back through the mists of time, to when a naive young writer had just sold the first three books in the series that would soon come to be called Department 19 and had a grand, ambitious idea…

I had just written the chapters of Department 19 that are set in London in 1892, and was having more fun than I’d ever had in my life – the story was opening up in front of me, and I was incredibly excited about the possibilities of the world that I’d stumbled upon. I was already planning the chapters set in New York on the eve of the Great Depression, when an awesome possibility struck me…

The story of Department 19 takes place inside an organisation that had existed for more than a hundred years, and I had already decided it was going to feature fictionalised versions of real events and people. So the idea was that in between writing the novels that tell the main story, I would write a series of stories from the organisation’s past, with the end result being a long alternate history of the twentieth century, from the perspective of Blacklight and the men and women who had served it over the years. Stories set during the two World Wars, during the Cold War, during Vietnam and Korea and the War on Terror. Tales of Operators and vampires in far-flung corners of the world, as the key moments of the century played out around them. Pretty cool, right?

Alternate History

Unfortunately, I had no idea how long the novels were going to become, or how much time actually publishing them was going to take. So the grand plan was sidelined, as I concentrated on telling Jamie Carpenter’s story. But the idea was still there, ticking over and gradually fleshing itself out as I worked on the books, and I slowly filled a notebook with ideas for stories set in the illustrious (and often very dark) history of Blacklight. And one particular story kept nagging at me, wanting to be told…

In Department 19 a reeling, awestruck Jamie is shown the Fallen Gallery, where the names of the men and women who died in the service of Blacklight are recorded for posterity. It also contains portraits of the five men who founded the Department, and a stone bust of Quincey Harker emblazoned with the legend ALL THAT WE ARE, WE OWE TO HIM. Quincey always fascinated me – he is mentioned in the sort-of epilogue to Dracula, when Jonathan Harker gives an update seven years after the destruction of the Count, and when I was first wondering what those characters might have done after the end of Stoker’s classic tale, Quincey was at the front of my mind. I knew that I was going to make him responsible for the expansion of D19, and I knew that why he did so was going to be related to his service at the front during World War One. I didn’t know the exact details, until I wrote his story, the first part of which was published today…

Now, before you ask, there are a couple of things I want to clear up.

Firstly, that if all you want to read is the story of Jamie and his friends versus Dracula and the forces of evil, then just buy Battle Lines and the two novels that will follow it. There are no secret revelations in the Department 19 Files that change what’s happening in the novels, no bits that will mean the rest of the series doesn’t make sense if you haven’t read them. I promise you that, right now. This is a trilogy of new stories, set in the same world as Jamie’s, which you don’t have to have read the novels to enjoy, and vice versa…

Secondly, these are NOT novels – they are short stories. So please don’t buy them expecting 700 new pages of blood and mayhem :)

Thirdly, they are only available as ebooks – there are no plans at the moment to release physical editions of these stories…

So with that out of the way – if you want to read about Quincey Harker and his horrifying adventures in the darkness of the Western Front, pick up The Devil In No Man’s Land. If you want to see a younger Valeri Rusmanov doing what he does best as Europe is gripped by the flu pandemic of 1918 (and read some of the nastiest stuff I’ve ever written!) then stick around for Undead in the Eternal City. And if you want to know what happened when Quincey Harker returned home and discovered the truth about what his father and his friends really do, then The New Blood contains the answers, along with some characters that fans of Dracula will be very familiar with!

I’m really proud of The Department 19 Files – they’re some of the darkest, most painful stuff I’ve written, and are full of all the action and gore you’ll be expecting :) They shed light on the early years of Blacklight and how it became the organisation that Jamie and his friends are parts of, and they allowed me to write about one of the most fascinating periods in history, a period of mechanised death and devastation on a scale that is almost unimaginable in these days of drone strikes and laser-targeted bombs. And I’m very hopeful that the time will come when I can do more of them – there are more stories to tell. Many more…

I hope you enjoy them – let me know in the comments section below!

The Department 19 Files will definitely be available in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, from wherever ebooks are sold. The rights and territories get very complicated very quickly, so I can’t be certain about the rest of the world in the short term, but I’m working on getting them as widely available as possible ASAP. I’ll post updates here as and when I have them. The same goes for translations – my fingers are crossed, but it’s a case of wait and see for the time being.

Some of the links are not live yet – I’ll update them as they come online…

1917 - cover image

 PUBLISHED TODAY!

 UK links: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Waterstones | Google Play

 Australia/New Zealand links: HarperCollins

 Canada: Amazon | Kobo

1918 - cover image

 PUBLISHING 7TH MARCH 

UK links: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Waterstones | Google Play

 Australia/New Zealand links: HarperCollins

 Canada: Amazon | Kobo

1919 - cover image

 PUBLISHING 14TH MARCH

 UK links: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Waterstones | Google Play

 Australia/New Zealand links: HarperCollins

 Canada: Amazon | Kobo

11 Comments
  • Nate
    March 1, 2013

    Are these going to be made available in the U.S.?

    • Will
      March 4, 2013

      Hi Nate – they definitely will be, we’re just working on exactly when. I’ll post the info as soon as I have it…

  • Zac Harding
    March 3, 2013

    I loved The Devil in No Man’s Land! Just as good as your longer stories and got me extra excited about reading Battle Lines. One of my favourite things about your Department 19 books is the historical chapters because of the background they give to the organisation. Thanks so much for these extra stories!

    I wrote a post about The Department 19 Files on my blog http://www.bestfriendsrbooks.com and I’m running a competition where your New Zealand fans can win a copy of The Devil in No Man’s Land and the next two stories. They can enter here – http://bestfriendsrbooks.com/2013/03/03/introducing-the-department-19-files-by-will-hill-giveaway/

    • Will
      March 4, 2013

      Glad you enjoyed it Zac – cheers for reading! Hope you stick around for the rest of the series :)

  • naz
    March 10, 2013

    hey will ur an amzing author i love the rising read it twice and i cant wait till battle lines. do u know when it will be on sale in australia and its weird coz everyone thinks im awkward coz im in love with the book and im a girl lol so plz tell me if it will come to australia ill love to buy it.
    xoxoxo
    love naz

    • Will
      March 11, 2013

      Hello! Am so pleased you’re enjoying the series, and I’m delighted that you’re a girl – I’ve never thought of them as books for boys, and have always that hoped both genders would enjoy them :) I’m pretty sure Battle Lines is published in Australia on the 1st of March – hope you enjoy it…

  • Harry
    March 13, 2013

    Hi I’m Harry I love your books can’t wait to get the next one why can’t it be out sooner. Also I got my friends to read it and they love it.

    From Harry

    • Will
      March 13, 2013

      Hi Harry – glad to hear you’re enjoying the series, and thanks very much for spreading the word :) Not too long now until Battle Lines…

  • Matty
    March 14, 2013

    I absolutely loved the first two D19 novels, so I’m anxious to read all your short stories. But I’m not to good with reading off of screens, (the words start to blur after even a few minutes) so I was wondering if, after you’ve finished writing all the short stories, you were planning on publishing them in a single paperback volume. If so, I can wait to read them…

    • Will
      March 24, 2013

      Hi Matty – the D19 Files are too short to publish as physical books, so I’m afraid they are digital-only. I’m hoping to get the chance to write more of them in the future, and if one day there are enough of them to compile into a physical copy then that’s something we’ll look at. In the meantime, I’m sorry that you won’t be able to enjoy them. Thanks for reading.

  • Nate
    April 4, 2013

    I just saw that 1918 and 1919 are now available in the US. Do you know why 1917 hasn’t been released?

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