Going well…. So far

A Different Coast 4Last week I was doing really well with A Different Coast (sequel to Her Parents’ Daughter). The first chapters were writing themselves (almost) up to last Thursday when I had to go away for a three days.
Getting back into the routine on my return was not difficult but time was taken up by re-reading the 16,000 odd words already written to get ‘who knew what and when’ into my head again. And, as with any re-read, there was the inevitable need to change stuff. I also spotted some typos and odd words where Word had decided I had spelt a word wrongly and had auto-corrected it to a completely different one from the one I meant.
Having caught up with the plot (and incidentally a. changing the name of a protagonist when I realised to characters had very similar names, and b. moving the location of the ‘different coast’ ten miles further west) the story gathered pace and another 4,000 words have been added over the weekend.
Now over 20,000 words and on the tenth chapter it’s still going well…
I await the blocking wall… which will, no doubt occur.


Books write themselves

I’m now three weeksLibrary into writing my seventh novel. It will be called A Different Coast and it was planned to be the sequel to Her Parents’ Daughter – a Cold War inspired murder mystery set in Yarmouth – on the north west coast of the Isle of Wight. The first days were spent, unusually for me, planning out the plot from beginning to end. The Excel spreadsheet with the relevant time frame was set up so, that I don’t have the same character in two places at the same time – or indeed somewhere after they are dead – and the characters were decided upon. I reminded myself of the characteristics of ones from Her Parents’ Daughter and set out the main traits of the new ones.
I started writing the words just over a week ago (again monitoring words/pages/chapters on Excel – I love spreadsheets). Now approaching 16,000 words – and on Chapter 6 of a planned 30 – the bloody thing has got a mind of its own.
In between Her Parents’ Daughter and now I finished A Set of Lies, a book that had been in the planning and writing for 15 years which chronicled the investigations by Skye Lacey and Fergal Sheppard into what really happened to Napoleon Bonaparte after he had given himself up to the English in 1815.
Well into Chapter Three of A Different Coast Skye and Fergal appeared. I did not expect them and I had no idea they were going to make an appearance. It was not in my original ‘word sketch’. It just happened. Bu then, it is entirely logical; action in Her Parents’ Daughter began and ended in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, in 2015, much of the action in A Set of Lies was in West Wight between 2014 and 2015. It is entirely logical that the protagonists would have met and would become involved with each other.
Every conversation I begin to write now leads me in the direction the characters want, I feel that sometimes I have no say in it.
But it does make the writing exciting – I hope the reading will be as much fun.

A Different Coast begins

A Different Coast 1The follow up to Her Parents’ Daughter is underway….
The beginning, middle and end have been mapped out and the chapters have been outlined but whether the final book will bear any relation to these initial thoughts is another matter!
New characters appear (currently unnamed) and they will have minds of their own as to how the plot progresses, but those who have read Her Parents’ Daughter will recognise Jane Carmichael, Berndt Schreiber and Gordon Hamilton.
Also Skye Lacey and Fergal Sheppard from A Set of Lies make their appearance – as they are back on the island after their successful book tour of America and are now famous for their historical detective work.
New locations also appear.
Yarmouth, on the Isle of Wight, is again the scene of a murder but historical context is set by a visit to East Berlin in 1981. The ‘different coast’ remains to be clearly identified….
Keep checking this website for updates of progress…..


Napoleon Joins the Saints

JamestownOn 15th October 1815 a crowd of curious St Helena islanders (saints) stood patiently on the quayside to welcome the famous captive to their island. The Northumberland had finally anchored off Jamestown after its long voyage from Plymouth. But the ‘Emperor’ did not set foot on dry land for a further two days as members of his entourage inspected Longwood, the house designated to be their home after a brief sojourn at the house of one Mr Henry Porteous in Jamestown.
It was only on the morning of the 17th that he was due to set foot, after over three months on board ships, on dry land. The wharf and landing stages were crowded as every inhabitant on the whole island, black and white, were eager to get set eyes on the illustrious prisoner-of-war. It was decided that, to avoid embarrassment, the prisoner would wait until nightfall by which time, it was hoped, the majority of the curious would have abandoned their wait. But even after dark  soldiers with fixed bayonets were required to force a way through the throng from the landing steps to Mr Porteous’s house.
On the 18th Napoleon inspected Longwood and many alterations and improvements were to be undertaken before he could take up residence.
Disliking the confines of Jamestown and the unceasing attention of the crowds, he transferred on the 19th October to the house of the Balcombe family where he stayed for two months after which time he finally took up residence in Longwood.
Or did he?
Of those on St Helena who had known Napoleon all would have laid down their lives for their Emperor and happily kept up the fiction of the true identity of the captive.
There were some who were in the pay of the English Secret Services and knew that the Emperor was safely in Dublin with Wellington’s spy-master, Bernard Lacey.
Most of those who came into contact with the captive, however, had never known the emperor and such was the training of the impersonator that no one guessed.
In A Set of Lies there is an alternate view of history and who the man really was who spent those two months happily living in the confines of the Balcombe’s small homestead.