With the New Year come new plans and new ideas and the team at Impress Books have been working on the Alex Hastings series on my behalf. I’m trying to do my bit, writing the new book (which is as yet untitled). I’ve found myself juggling things a bit as “The Moth Man was, in fact, an “extra” to the series. Originally I planned four Alex books in total, three in Somerset and a fourth in the North East. The idea was to have each book cover one year but when I embarked on “The Drowners”, I found the meat of the book, the crime story, actually fitted a shorter time scale. Rather than try to drag it out to a year I decided I would keep it the length it seemed to fit best and started looking at how to rearrange the whole story (what my tutors called the “story arc”) so it flowed nicely from one year to the next. The result fills the gap between the winter of 1986 and the general election in June 1987. It also gave me a chance to explore more of the lives of my characters and to look at a whole new type of crime so I guess that’s all for the best.
After finishing “Moth Man” I took a bit of a break, planning and tapping away but not really working very hard at it. I was jerked out of my indolence at a friend’s wedding when the photographer, who was my friend’s father stopped at my table and asked, “Are you the writing lady?” Rather surprised I admitted I probably was – though there are a lot of other writing ladies he might have been mistaking me for. “Why don’t you hurry up and write the new book?” he asked before heading off to photograph the cake (which was a festival of Dr Who figures including a Dalek. I have some very interesting friends.) I had no idea he’d even read the books but over the next few weeks people rang me up and asked where they could get the next one, “for Christmas”. I had to admit they couldn’t. So here I am, doing my best to fulfill the advance orders for next Christmas. Hopefully book four will be out in September or thereabouts this year. And it is still set in Somerset.
As well as continuing to publish the series, the lovely folk at Impress Books have done a terrific job on the covers of the three novels. Keeping the original pictures, they have played with the colour balance (most noticeably for “The Drowners”) and now my name is above the title. Believe me, when you are an author this feels like a really big thing. Thank you Julie, Rachel and all involved for such a good job. And finally some exciting news. I will be recording “Death of the Elver Man” as an audio book, to be released free on YouTube as a serial in the summer. We are still working on the details but I will post dates and the web link closer to the time. So for all those of you who have stared in bewilderment as your Kindle reads “Death of the Elver Man” to you and wondered who on earth “Adder” is, I hope you will enjoy the audio version.
A happy new year to you all and I hope we will meet up sometime at a signing or reading.