Newsletter no.116 August 2017

London has been swelteringly hot for days at a time – and then remarkably cool. When it was so hot I couldn’t work unless I put the fan on, but that sent all my papers flying about the room. By the time I’d anchored them down I had to wash my sticky hands and then the phone rang and . . . In other words, I didn’t get much work done while the hot spells lasted. Everything in the garden needed water, and as for the pots! Every year I tell myself not to plant up so many pots, and every year I give in and do exactly that. But I must admit the flowers and the runner beans are worth the trouble.

Back to work, and I can report that the hardback of MURDER FOR NOTHING is now out and hopefully amusing lots of people. Someone said to me that surely no one can be as self-centred as Angelica, the girl in this book. But I’m afraid she is alive and well and getting her own way about everything, all over the world. She certainly causes maximum bother to Ellie, who took her in when she said she had nowhere to go – and cried most beautifully to underline her case. Ah well; Ellie soon learned.

Covers I have known. As you know, I don’t always see eye to eye with my publishers about covers. They look to the sales department for advice as they know what sells, whereas I think in terms of what the people who read my books would like. How it works is this: I suggest something for the cover, and they consider if it’s eye-catching or not. In the cover for MURDER FOR NOTHING, we are in agreement; a number of cell phones, with the top one being all pink and pretty.

We are all so reliant on phones nowadays that I have to take this into account when writing my stories. In real life a call on a cell phone can get you out of trouble pretty quickly, so sometimes I have to work out why a character can’t use his or her phone. This happens a lot in FALSE PRIDE, which will be out at the end of the year.

Now I’m researching pills for my next book and writing a short story at the same time. It’s amazing how many ways I can find out to kill someone if you can work out the right questions to ask the expert. I think I’ve done quite a few different ways by now. If anyone has a bright idea for a novel way in which to bump someone off, would you like to let me know? I promise not to put it into practice, but only to write about it . . . and then only if it fits the next storyline.

Mark tells me my new website is up and running. I hope I’ve got everything on it, but as the total is now 80 books with traditional publishers, I’m not entirely sure that the odd title or reissue hasn’t slipped through the net. Have a look sometime. It might amuse you. And don’t forget the paperback is now out of Ellie’s MURDER FOR MERCY and, new! the audiobook of MURDER IN STYLE.

And finally, a blessing; May you reflect the warmth of summer and of God’s love in your smile when you meet other people.

Veronica Heley.

P.S. Harlequin, the big American publisher is taking two of the Bea Abbot stories for its book club. Hurray!