I thought I had better take this opportunity to confess that instead of getting straight to work on editing and publishing ‘The Unexpected Suspect’ (Pitkirtly XVI) I’ve irresponsibly returned to something completely different which I’ve been working on as a background project for over a year. This is quite unusual for me these days, because I am more likely to focus on one thing until it’s finished in case I lose the thread. What happened with this novel was that not only did it need more research than most of the others, but it has turned out to be quite a bit longer too – not to mention the fact that it has spawned two sequel ideas, but I’m trying not to think about that at the moment!
The background project which is now being pushed into the limelight is called ‘The Heir to Marshingdean’ and is set in 1814 – 1815 in Brighton. There are some elements of history, romance and mystery (of course) but all in all It is probably more of a ‘coming of age’ story than anything else.
The research started a few years ago when I was en route to a holiday in Germany. I happened to be travelling through Belgium by train on the day of the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, and unexpectedly became fascinated by the battle itself. I read some fiction around it and then took a short course online about the battle. In the course of my reading I discovered that it had been a Brighton newspaper that broke the story of Napoleon’s escape from Elba in 1814. Because I was born in Brighton, I had always been interested in writing a story set there, and I decided one of the characters would work on a newspaper. The main plot, however, centres on one of two ‘brothers’ whose life is completely changed twice during the book by the actions of others. There is a thread of mystery running through it which is neatly resolved at the end. Or maybe I’m being over-confident about that.
I must admit that the characters in this novel don’t actually reach Waterloo! That’s partly why it needs a sequel. I expect to start on that the next time I have a spare moment, which will probably not be until January 2019, because the rest of this year looks like being particularly hectic and I want to write another Pitkirtly book in November for National Novel Writing Month.
One reason for letting this leap-frog over Pitkirtly XVI in the editing queue is that I intend to upload it to Amazon in time to enter it in the Kindle Storyteller competition (closing date 31st August!). I don’t very often have anything (almost) ready at the right time for a competition, so I thought I would put a bit more effort into it, and give it a try. I thought this might be feasible as I was actually almost finished the edit when I realised it needed another few chapters at the end to round it off. I’ve now completed the edit and pressed ‘publish’.
Because I’ve decided to go in for the competition, I will not be allowed to publish this book at any other ebook retailers for a little while. I apologise for this to my regular readers, and also for the fact that the project will slightly delay the release of Pitkirtly XVI, but only by a few days, I hope. [scurries off to begin first read-through]