'This time last year I was busy shaping a proposal for a digital-only title ready for a forthcoming publishing meeting. Little did I know then how this proposal would take off and become one of the most exciting books I’ve worked on as an editor at Osprey.
The response from the sales teams to Helmand: Diaries of Front-Line Soldiers was better than I had hoped for, and instead of a digital-only edition we planned for a paperback printing, with an eBook edition too.
After months of discussions with the Thornton family, who sadly lost their son and brother, John, in Afghanistan in 2008, the hard work was about to begin. However, they made my job so easy – collecting the various diary contributions that we would use, providing an extensive glossary of military terms, clearing permissions and much more – and it was their enthusiasm that got the project off the ground.
The more I worked on the book, the more I came to see quite how many people and organizations were involved, beyond the Thorntons and the fantastic Royal Marine contributors. Many people willingly volunteered their support once they heard about the project, such as Simon Weston, who wrote an incredibly moving foreword; Paddy Ashdown, who after reading the diaries provided a glowing review, calling it “Funny, heart breaking, absorbing and above all, honest. A must read book”; and Margaret Graham from Words for the Wounded, who has offered us much support and who is hoping to arrange some a talk with one of the contributors, John’s brother Ian Thornton. The MOD also leant invaluable support and help as we prepared the diaries for publication.
And it’s all for a good cause. The family have asked that all royalties from the sale of the book are split between two charities; the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.
Now, as I anxiously await the advances of Helmand, I cannot wait to see the result of all the hard work and time given by so many people in getting this book to publication.'