About the Author
About the Publisher
Brian John was born in Carmarthen in 1940 and brought up in Pembrokeshire. He is married and has two grown up sons and two grandsons. He studied at Haverfordwest Grammar School and at Jesus College Oxford, where he read Geography, had a lot of fun and obtained his D Phil degree for a pioneering study of the Ice Age in Pembrokeshire.
When he was a student he led two University expeditions, to Iceland and Greenland, and thinks it is a minor miracle that he survived. He then worked as a field scientist in Antarctica and spent eleven years as a Geography Lecturer in Durham University. He has travelled widely, mostly in cold places.
In 1977 he and his family moved to a smallholding near Newport in Pembrokeshire, and since then he has made his living as a writer and publisher. He is also actively involved in environmental and community organizations.
He has published hundreds of articles andmore than 80 books, and among his publishers are Collins, Pan, Orbis, Aurum Press/HMSO, Longman, David and Charles, Wiley and Edward Arnold. His published output includes university texts, walking guides, coffee table glossies, and books of popular science. Many of his titles have been published by Greencroft Books, and have been of particular interest to readers in Wales -- for example tourist guides, books of local jokes, walkers' handbooks, and titles on local folklore and traditions.
Then came the Angel Mountain Saga......... The novels have received wide acclaim for their narrative skill, their strong sense of place, and their historical authenticity. Much to Brian's surprise, the Saga has been a runaway success, and the heroine, Mistress Martha Morgan, now has a cult following of readers from all over the world. Eight novels so far. Will there be any more? The author is sworn to secrecy.......
Sales of the paperback editions of the novels are holding up well, and "On Angel Mountain" has now sold about 32,000 copies, excluding Ebook (Kindle) sales. The accumulated paperback sales figure for all the titles in the saga currently stands at about 76,000.
Another recent book (reprinted several times) is "The Bluestone Enigma", which takes a controversial look at the various theories used to explain the transport of certain bluestones from West Wales to Stonehenge.
Brian's recent children's story called "The Strange Affair of the Ethiopian Treasure Chest" has been well received, and won the 2011 Wishing Shelf Award for books aimed at the 6-8 year-old age group. That's a great accolade, since the judges were all primary school children from the appropriate age group.
In November 2012 Brian published "Ghostly Tales from Pembrokeshire" -- which became a Christmas best-seller and continues to be very popular.
In the period 2012-2014 he was hard at work on "Acts of God", and since the successful launch of that title he has been involved in negotiations for the dramatisation of the "Angel Mountain" stories into a landmark costume drama for TV.
Greencroft Books is a small "backwoods" publishing house based near Newport in Pembrokeshire. The business was established in 1973 by Dr Brian John, and since then he has published more than 60 titles under the Greencroft Books and Cilgwyn Publications imprints. For the most part the publications are aimed at the local book market, comprising residents and visitors to Pembrokeshire. Landscape, environment, social history, tourist guides, walking trails, geology and folklore figure prominently in the publications list. Most of the titles over the years have been written by Brian John, but he has also collaborated with a number of other authors and has commissioned others to write certain books on crafts, local history etc.
Brian undertakes most of the typesetting and design work himself, using Apple Mac computers and Mac-dedicated software. He also does much of his own photography and illustrative work. He always seeks to place his printing work with local printers so long as their prices are competitive. Book print runs are generally 2,000, and Brian does his own distribution to the trade. Within Pembrokeshire this is just about feasible for a one man band......
Greencroft Books also undertakes contract publishing, and work has been undertaken for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Menter Preseli, and the Norwegian Glacier Museum.
It is a source of pride to Brian and the family that Greencroft Books has never received any grant aid from anywhere. Unlike the majority of other publishers in Wales, this one only publishes books that will sell in a free competitive market, that will cover their costs and turn a profit.
What they say.......
Comments about the Angel Mountain novels:
"I have just recently discovered this wonderful series and wanted to thank you for publishing such a marvellous story and historical document! " Helgard Krause
"Your style is so full of the values of goodness, love & care, it's as if you are reaffirming these values in the reader who now seems to live in stress and turmoil - too much almost to hang on to in today's crazy world." Rob Waygood
"Have just finished reading Rebecca and the Angels. It is wonderful, but do I have to wait until November for Flying with Angels? Please publish sooner!" Kate Thompson
"Our family have thoroughly enjoyed reading the Angel Mountain saga and have read all the books in the series." Leigh Forman
"The fact that Martha Morgan is a creation of your imagination has, for me, in no way detracted from the pleasure I gained from enjoying Martha's company. Long may you continue to develop such full and interesting characters! It makes the reader feel a sense of loss when the story ends...." Sharron Clement
"The saga series is certainly worthy of classical status, and it is very easy to see Martha's story as a lavish period drama, and indeed a 'block-buster' film with, perhaps, Catherine Zeta Jones as Martha? Can't wait." Roy Waterford
"I must say once more how both my wife and I are enjoying the series of boks, they are bringing to life what it must have been like in the area in past times....... " Michael L Whitbread
"I've just finished reading Dark Angel - the story just gets better & better - will poor Martha ever find true happiness!?" Joyce Lewis
"I feel compelled to write to you having just read part 5 of the Angel Mountain Saga. Tears rolled down my face as the life of Martha Morgan came to an end and I felt a real sense of loss. All of the books have been amazing, enthralling, educational and inspirational. I congratulate you on such an achievement." Pam Wilson
"I have enjoyed the first four volumes of the saga and now look forward to yet another good read. How do you keep the momentum of the story and the development of the many characters going for so long and in such a lively way?" Heather Gordon
"I write to say how much I enjoyed the seven books of the life and times of Mistress Martha Morgan of Plas Ingli. Once I started reading On Angel Mountain I found it difficult to put the book down, and as I continued through the remaining books it got even harder. The reader gets into the way of life of Martha and all connected with her - it gets into the blood!" Ileen White
"May I congratulate you on your fascinating Angel Mountain series which has given me many happy hours of reading. I hope to live long enough to see it become an equally delightful television series." Mair Price
"Congrats to Brian John on managing to draw all my senses into the book!!! The last time I was obsessed with a compelling need to read a book from cover to cover was 20 years ago when I read the Poldark novels by Winston Graham. Long live Martha Morgan!! " Heather Giles
"I would just like to congratulate you on a series of such wonderful books that you've written. My mother bought the whole series and was completely enthralled with them. She passed them on to me and I am currently working my way through the second book, which I find difficult to put down! " Sally Whittock
"I wanted you to know how much I loved your last book in the Martha series. I found I couldn’t stop crying at the end…not because I was sad, but because the completeness of her ending was something I felt said something to me very profound (my 93-year old aunt had just died so perhaps it was on my mind). I think there is a bit of Martha in me.........." Clarissa Dann
"Today I feel very lonely. After some months of reading, last evening I completed Guardian Angel, and now Martha has left me. This is only the second time I have been able to read a complete literary Saga, from beginning to end, back to back, and in one complete sitting, as it were, without any other reading in between. It has been a most satisfying, if somewhat tragic, reading experience, for which I offer you my very sincere appreciation. I first became aware of Carn Ingli on an Easter break around five or six years ago, and although the first couple of Angel Mountain books were then available, I didn't actually purchase any until earlier this year when I ordered all six in one delivery, since when Martha has been my almost constant companion, whenever I could get away from the lesser things of life." Neil Carter