I have only been running this site for a few years but in that period there have been a lot of new authors writing naval and nautical fiction and it is apparently an increasingly popular genre. Many authors seem to be writing a series, with a new book coming out about the same time each year, and this gains them a loyal following. Whilst such books seldom end with a specific cliffhanger they do usually follow someones career and the loyal reader want's to know what happens next.
It's always nice to hear from fellow fans of the genre, and the question I'm asked most is "What's happened to ...?" or "When will the next book in the ..... series be out?" when that expected next book fails to appear. Unfortunately the answer is all to often 'I wish I knew'.
Today it is mostly asked about Peter Smalley and his popular HMS Expedient series whilst a few years ago it was G. S, Beard and his series about John Fury.
The first port of call in trying to answer questions is the authors web site, however not everyone has a site and for those that do, it may be eagerly updated to publicise a new book but will suffer a deadly silence if there isn't one and eventually just disappear when the payment for the domain runs out. Now life may have got in the way. It happens to us all and I know of one site where the author sadly passed away a few months ago but you would never know it from his site. Family will understandably have other things on their mind and may not know the passwords etc. Therefore authors web sites rarely tell us why the series has come to a halt.
The next avenue will be a letter or email to the publisher but all too often these will go unanswered. Is this because the author has left them so they feel they can be ignored or are they embarrassed because they have cancelled the series? Anecdotal evidence from authors I know is that series do get cancelled and that next book remains in limbo.
Finally if you can find it out, you might try the authors agent, but again you might not get a reply. So one thing seems certain. To find out what happened to your favourite series you will have to invest some time and even then may not find out.
So can we answer the question "What happened to Peter Smalley?"
He doesn't have a web site and email to the publisher went unanswered. Fortunately in this case a fellow fan was more successful and shared the answer he got "we came to the end of our contract with him and so do not plan to publish any more of his books." So no more from that publisher, but is he still writing? seeking a new publisher or, as many others are, going to self publish?. Email to his agent has gone unanswered and therefore the answer remains "I wish I knew."
So I'll end this with a plea to authors. Please let your fans, who have invested their hard earned cash in your books, know what is happening. And if you don't have your own site feel free to contact me and I'll let them know for you.