There are several schools of thought about how to get things done. One is to carry on with one project until you’ve finished, another is to start doing lots of things at once so that you don’t get bored. I suppose my approach falls somewhere in between these two extremes. I don’t like to find myself actually writing more than one novel at a time, because if I’m writing I like to centre myself as far as possible in the world I’m writing about and not get pulled out of it and into another one – even if it’s the real one!
However, with the first draft of ‘The Queen of Scots Mystery’ complete, I did find time to do a little research for my next project while I was waiting for the printed copy to arrive.
If you look closely at the picture, you’ll see a DVD case entitled ‘1950s’ which should give a clue about the setting for my next novel. I find watching these excerpts from Pathé news not only provide information about what was happening in specific years, but also give a feeling of the tone of reporting at the time. For example, when I was researching 1951 and the Festival of Britain I discovered several sections in the newsreel footage for that year that were surprisingly disrespectful to women, which made me think about how much attitudes have changed since then. You can also get some ideas about what the weather was like during major national events, who the celebrities of the age were and what the people in the background were wearing.
With this year being an important anniversary of the Coronation, I expected to find souvenir supplements in some of the papers, but I couldn’t track down any of these. I suppose I have always thought of the Coronation as particularly significant because it was the first big event I can remember – and I think this is mainly because of the souvenir chocolate that was distributed to children at the time! The ‘Radio Times’ had quite a nice feature about it and I’ve managed to source a magazine which seems to specialise in nostalgic articles about Britain.
But I’m actually getting quite a bit ahead of myself with this talk of the Coronation – that will be for one of next year’s novels! In the one I plan to start in July, the King hasn’t even died yet.
Don’t worry about me neglecting ‘The Queen of Scots Mystery’, by the way – the final editing process has now begun and I hope to have it ready within the next few weeks.