This page describes the debacle that led to the first edition of "Tumbletick & Company" becoming a rare and sought after illegal book.

An interview with Elliot Symonds about the disasterous episode in the creation of "Tumbletick & Company" which has been described as The Hungarian Connection. April 14th 2008, Newton Flotman, Norfolk

"When I was first deciding on the look and feel for "Tumbletick & Company" I really wanted to have a dark and disturbing gothic horror look. This would hopefully appeal to the key demographic of older teenage boys as it just spoke of fantasy and high levels of gore. Therefore, in consultation with the design team at Author House, I selected the image of the "scary medieval vampire" from Shutterstock.com. It was a perfect representation of one of the characters referred to in the book (a big secret) and appealed to my twisted sense of writing that 'ugly isn't always nasty and pretty isn't always nice'.

The book was designed, approved and printed. I absolutely loved the image and the sense of dark despair, horror and violence that it portrayed. A few weeks after publication I received a phone call fom America and a gentleman introduced himself as Eugene Hopkins, a lawyer for Author House. He informed me that the book would have to be removed from sale due to a legal issue. My heart sank, I feared that someone maybe putting a libel case together for defamation of character. I asked what the reason was and Eugene informed me that the person who had sold the image to Shutterstock.com was not the original owner of the work and the real artist, a UK based painter, had found out and wanted the book removed from sale and all copies destroyed.

It turned out that an Hungarian conman had posted 27 pages of work as his own with Shutterstock.com and that I had picked one image from 3 million that could not be used. I wanted to say "sue and be damned" but realised quickly that this made the first edition illegal, rare and made those books a priceless piece of art for all those who supported me by buying a copy in the early days. I also realised that it allowed me to redesign the book, correct the errors within and ensure that Egremont no longer had the ESP skills he seemed to attain when he knew that Percy Fenton had bought a boat called 'The Brazen Manticore' when he was over thirty miles away at the time. All good fun now, but at the time it was quite an adventure in the world of artistic design and copyright."