Newsletter no.122 February 2018

I am so cross with myself! When I have an idea for a story and I don’t know exactly how a particular plot point should work, I get on the phone or the internet or ask a friend about it. At different times I have asked for help from a pharmacist, a builder, a policeman, the Fire Brigade and friends and acquaintance who have the expertise in their field which I lack. When I started thinking about the plot for MURDER BY SUGGESTION I tapped into one of these and thought I understood what happened to a Will when the parties concerned had gone through a divorce. But no: I got it wrong.

When I turned in the manuscript my agent smartly pointed out my mistake. And then, when I’d got over the horror of what I’d done, I had to work out how to alter that bit of plot to make sure the right person inherited under Bunny’s will. (He was called ‘Bunny’ because his nose whiffled when he ate.) My agent and my editor both think I’ve got that bit of plot right now and I am so relieved . . . but still annoyed with myself for not having understood exactly what would happen in real life to this particular set of circumstances.

Now I’ve dealt with all the little queries that arise when a manuscript is submitted, the story has been accepted for publication at the end of June, and the designer is thinking about the cover. I’ve made some suggestions and we’ll have to see what he comes up with. We want to indicate that this plot is all about money, so perhaps a matched set of luggage might do it, or a stonkingly expensive handbag? Or, because the storyline does feature it, a box with lots of different compartments for a number of pills?

I think it’s fair to say that most crime stories are about money, although I do write about other things as well. Sometimes it’s about control. I must admit I do deal with some very dark subjects from time to time. Now I’m moving smartly on to work on another Bea Abbot book and find that there’s an awful lot of food preparation going on. A chef has bobbed up as a main character. He is youngish and majors in fish dishes. Are my culinary gifts going to be called into question? Where do I look for answers? I think I’ll keep the cooking simple.

The last Bea Abbot story to be published came out at the end of 2017, and it’s called FALSE PRIDE. I haven’t got any reviews in yet, but I’m hoping people will like the story, because I certainly do. The Christmas story for the Methodist Recorder was well received. It was called ‘What is a gift?’ If you haven’t been able to get hold of a copy and would like to read it, just email me and I’ll send you a copy, free, by email. And now I have to think up something for the Easter edition . . .

Finally; may the first signs of spring help you to look forward with hope to the future.

Veronica Heley.