Newsletter no.117 September 2017

I stole away up north for six days in August and talk about temperatures dropping when you leave London! Five or six degrees, I kid you not! Yorkshire is beautiful, and I love Yorkshire cheeses, so there were compensations . . . not to mention attending the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta season in Harrogate. So I return refreshed to find another cheque from my agent for some royalties, and the suggestion for the cover of FALSE PRIDE, which should come out at the end of the year.

 Yes. Another cover. You know I sometimes struggle with the ideas my publishers have for covers. I thought that the cover for MURDER FOR NOTHING worked very well as so much of the plot dealt with what happened to various cell phones – and we had cell phones on the cover. Fine. Now for FALSE PRIDE I had made various suggestions which apparently wouldn’t work for various reasons and my publishers have picked on one which shows lots of jewellery in a briefcase. Actually, it’s a good cover, but I’d described the jewellery to be all diamonds and it isn’t. Sigh. But no, it’s not worth fighting about.

 Meanwhile I have delivered another short story, titled RECYCLING to the Methodist Recorder and they are putting it into an issue shortly. Memo to self; must find out when it comes out. Now I have to start thinking about one for the Christmas issue. Maybe something about how much a gift should cost? Hmm. Further thought required.

 I had a big struggle getting back to the next Ellie after my holiday. Sometimes I try to do a little bit of work when I’m away but this time either my wonderful computer guru or I got the date of my departure wrong, and I went away with only a tiny notebook for company. (I’m talking a paper notebook, not an electronic piece of wizardry). And I didn’t do any thinking about the next bit of plot at all. Now I’m back and facing the computer screen I see where I went wrong. Usually I have to stop work at the end of the day while the ideas are still working away in my head, so that the next morning I can slot straight back into the flow. But this time I finished off a scene and thought I’d start again with one of three missing people coming through the door and I couldn’t work out which one! Ridiculous, isn’t it? Finally, I worked out which person should enter next and that started me off again.

 This reminds me of the way Peter Cheyney used to work. Do you remember his ‘hard-boiled’ detective books? He used to say that if the plot flagged, he’d have someone open a door and discover a corpse. Actually, that’s a thought – I have a number of people I intend to kill off in this next book. Hm. Who’s next?  

 Thanks to those people who have sent me ideas about how to commit murder. Three of them were particularly good. I have started a file to keep this information in, and am sure I’ll be using them as and when required. And no, I am not going to tell you what people have suggested!

 And finally, a blessing; May you always feel strong enough to greet friends with a smile.

 Veronica Heley.