All ventures or organisations have a beginning.
Ours was in 2002 whilst attempting to save a 250-300 year old beech tree in Adlington, Chorley from a housing developer’s jaws.
We had similar values – determination, a no-nonsense, yet nuanced expression and little regard for so-called hierarchies. In short, we recognised obfuscation and illogical reasoning when we saw it.
Following this stand we kept in touch. There was obvious common ground in the form of literature and delight in simple discussions about the richness of words and what they were capable of. Together we bemoaned the state of bookshops’ fiction – the wares that agents and publishers had begun to represent and churn out, mostly in the name of populism, caution and safety.
Where were the brave works which once graced their shelves? Why had risk-taking and gambling on original works with important voices almost ceased to exist?
We talked for years. We never envisaged the day in 2019 when our own publishing house would emerge. Patricia Khan nee Ingham, born in 1951 and from newspaper stock, read my first literary novel (The Leaf Blower) around 2005. Five years later she acted as my agent and tried in earnest to sell my second literary novel, Mutler but without success.
There was a closed door. An entry route seemingly marked by nepotism, tame ambition and 19-year-old interns making unqualified judgments on novels which often then never progressed before more worldly eyes.
Around this time – 2010 – Patricia devised the name Thinkwell. THINK WELL. Oh, the number of fools and quacks that don’t! It acted as her agency name, but met by rough, unappreciative winds and reticence soon went underground.
Reviving the name in 2019 with my suggestion that it become Thinkwell Books, UK, we published my third literary effort, Wagenknecht and this got us thinking…not only about taking control of the publishing process in a very polished manner which rivalled the finest houses out there, but also in a wider sense – embracing similar talent cast aside and rejected; often through blinkered, insular and entrenched personnel doggedly hanging on to ‘safe’ fiction which does little to inspire or excite.
We welcome fiction, sport and political/social works that make us sit up and thirst for the next line, the next profound, humorous, emotional, devastating or stupefying glimpse of originality.
Jeff Weston, born 1970