It’s been a while since I provided an update on what I’m up to as regards writing, so here it is.
I’ve more or less completed a compilation of the letters between Sir John Franklin, the Arctic explorer whose biography I wrote some years back, and his fiancée the poet Eleanor Anne Porden. I did have a publisher who was interested, and emails went back and forth for many months, but ultimately they decided it wouldn’t be commercial enough (the familiar cry in non-fiction publishing these cash-strapped days). I may sound out other publishers, but I’m not optimistic so I’m considering going it alone as an ebook.
In the meantime I wrote another article for Aquila children’s magazine: this time for a Life on Mars edition. I did a piece on HG Wells’s War of the Worlds and the Orson Welles radio show that fooled some people (although probably not as many as is popularly believed) that a Martian invasion was actually happening. It’s interesting to note, though, how relatively recently the idea of beings living on Mars was still considered a genuine possibility.
While I was out walking the dog a few weeks ago in the village where I now live, I noticed the boot-scrapers built into the walls of a number of the old cottages. That, combined with the archways of a couple of old coaching inns, gave me the idea of running a regular History Detective series for Aquila. I’ve put the idea to the editor, who likes it but has got to decide whether she has room to squeeze it in.
I’m on the verge of beginning a new novel. In fact, I’d already started a children’s timeslip novel which I’m pretty enthusiastic about, but I reluctantly put it on hold when a new idea came up.
I can’t say too much about it yet, but I will reveal that it’s a crime novel set in the 30s! I know from having written Murder in Montague Place that crime novels can be a nightmare to plan out, and this new one is no different. I don’t find it hard to come up with ideas, but once you start to build up a number of characters, suspects, clues, red herrings and the like you begin to hit problems of logic, chronology, clashes between different ideas etc etc. And although writing everything down helps, you also have to carry a lot of it in your head till eventually it feels as though your brain will explode.
So the situation is that I’m about ready to make a start, but it’s a bit like jumping into unknown waters and not knowing the best spot – which is too deep, which has hidden dangers just below the surface and so on. I think I need another cup of tea while I mull it over…