Newsletter no.103 July 2016

Many thanks for all the good wishes and cards I have received following my stint in hospital. Yes, I’m back home and gradually doing more every day. Slowly. I get tired and go to lie on my bed and very often fall asleep for a bit. But yes, I am recovering my wits and some of my energy. They tell me it will take time.

Several people suggested that I use my experience of having had a heart attack by putting it into my next book. I thought about this for quite a while. You may think that characters are created by the author and should therefore act as the author decides, but it is not so. As I have frequently bewailed in this newsletter, my characters decide their names, their jobs and their looks without any reference to me. I am merely the writing machine which gives them life. Think of the dreadful Diana, for instance. She’s the bane of her mother’s life with her over-ambitious, greedy ways. I thought I had invented her, but no; my readers tell me she’s alive and horribly active, all over the world.

            So, should I arrange for Ellie Quicke to mirror my experience and suffer a heart attack in the next book? She says not. Not because it couldn’t happen to her – which it could – but because she wouldn’t want to make a fuss about it if it did. So there you are. And I will probably recover much more quickly from the trauma if I don’t write about it.

Meanwhile, Murder in Style has hit the shops here in the UK and, as we speak, is sailing across the oceans to be sold in America and Tasmania and wherever, in a couple of months time. This is the story set in a fashion boutique started by twin girls who had been unwise in their choice of husbands. When one of the twins tumbles down the stairs and dies, it sets off a chain reaction of greed and malice in those left behind. Ellie tries to sort out the mess and is drawn into danger herself.

Meanwhile again, I was due to deliver the next Bea Abbot story at the very time I was hospitalised. With only a tiny bit of checking left to be done, my daughter bravely accessed my computer and sent the manuscript off to Severn House – who, thankfully, loved the story and accepted it straight away. I dealt with a few queries on my return home and, all being well, the book should be out at the end of the year as planned.

I have tried to start the next book but, although I know what happens in the storyline, I can’t summon up enough energy to get stuck into it. My editor at Severn House has sent me lots of lovely messages, saying she’s not going to keep me to the scheduled delivery dates, and to have a good rest before I get back to work. And so I struggle on, writing half a page at a time and revising . . . because I think most of what I’ve written so far is Not Good Enough. Sigh . . . but soon, I hope, I’ll be back on form.

So here’s a true story to raise a smile . . .

                                                                 Life’s Like That.

Walking home, I passed a father about to put two small boys into his car. One of the boys spat at the other. The victim didn’t seem to know how to respond, and the  father ignored the bad behaviour.
So, I said, ‘No spitting, boys!’
Heads swivelled. The father echoed my words, ‘No spitting, boys!’
I went on down the hill.
The boy who’d been spitting enquired, ‘Is that the Queen?’
‘Yes,’ said his father. ‘Get in the car.’
‘She hasn’t a crown. Nor a proper dress.’
I giggled all the way home.

Finally, a blessing: may you find something to make you smile on the cloudiest of days.

Veronica Heley

NEW . . . .

MURDER IN STYLE, the 17th Ellie Quicke. Out in the shops in the UK on June 16th. ISBN 978-0-7278-86309.

MURDER BY SUSPICION, the 16th Ellie Quicke, the large print edition.

Also MURDER BY SUSPICION, the trade paperback.

The new pop-up by Francesca Crespi, for Noah’s Ark, has a text written by yours truly. Francesca’s work is stunning. Frances Lincoln, ISBN 978-1-84507-937-6.

You can hear me reading various bits and pieces in recordings made by Isis (Soundings) as follows: Podcast & Interview:   Collected newsletters 2011-2014 (one audio file)   Links to individual newsletters (click on each title)

Find details of my E-books at