When you have worked so hard on a book like Chariots Return you feel great excitement as physical copies finally arrive at your door.
We always know  Clays UK will do a great job printing the book, because they are the best in the business.
But you just want to see with your own eyes the cover you have designed, and watch it “pop” as you had imagined.
Even though I’m the author, I’m also effectively running a small publishing company – Keep It Real Publishing. And I like to work closely on covers with our design specialist Tim Underwood.
We’re perfectionists – and it’s a moment of great satisfaction to see how well a cover works and feel the pages run through your fingers.
The arrival of Chariots Return brought delight and relief – because I felt extra pressure to get this one just right.
When you’re paying tribute to an Oscar-winning film like Chariots Of Fire, you feel you have an obligation to the movie’s wonderful producer Lord David Puttnam. I’m proud and humbled to say that David helped with Chariots Return – and greatly added to its authority of the book.
Later this summer Chariots Of Fire will be re-released by owners Disney and distributors Park Circus to cinemas in the UK and Ireland to coincide with the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
I felt I was dealing with the best of the best – Hollywood royalty – and this inspired me to even greater heights.
Distinguished figures such as World Athletics President Lord Sebastian Coe gave some important insights, as did Team GB legend Sir Brendan Foster.
And you have to show proper respect to the International Olympic Committee when requesting use of the iconic Olympic Rings for the cover. We got special permission to use the rings in the context of a Paris Olympics 1924 identity card – so we were very lucky.
Once we received the books, we sent copies out to some key people and magazines for their reactions. We also alerted Waterstones.
David Puttnam very kindly called Chariots Return: “Terrific! Informative and genuinely affectionate. Brilliant!” That almost moved me to tears because the great man was the one I wanted to impress the most.
Athletics Weekly called my book: “A winner! A timely publication, well written and brilliantly researched.” That meant so much, coming as it did from the athletics community.
For the same reason, when Jeff Benjamin from The Running Network called Chariots Return “Truly phenomenal”, it felt like further confirmation that I’d handled a complex human story and one hundred years of athletics well enough to please those who know best.
Now we’re praying for the sales to reflect the narrative and design quality achieved. And we think the sales can hit the heights too, with the help of people like you!
Enjoy Chariots Return, and thank you for sharing this thrilling experience with me.

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