Newsletter no.143, November 2019

Congratulations are called for since Severn House have accepted the next Bea Abbot story – FALSE CONCLUSION – and said some nice things about it. They have suggested a cover which I like very much and the book will be published next March in the UK and three months later in the USA, etc. So now I can relax for a couple of weeks until the line edits come through. As you know, these have to be dealt with quickly, or it puts the proof reading back . . . and that puts the production date back and . . . I’m sure you get the picture. But for the moment I can bask in the kind words of my editor, while turning my thoughts to . . . Well, actually, I am having a short rest before I turn my mind to . . .

The Christmas story for the Methodist Recorder. I don’t have to put it in till the end of this month or possibly even the start of December, but as you know I like to take my time and think every little plot point through before I send it in, on the basis that if I make a mistake, it’s likely to make it through to the printed page. So, CHRISTMAS MISLAID is coming along a treat, and yes, the broken, unsalable Christmas tree which my nearest and dearest have christened ‘Percy’ has been included in the story. When will this tale see the light of day? I’m not sure yet. I’ll let you know when I hear.

At some point I will have to start thinking about the next Ellie Quicke story. For some time now I’ve been wondering if I’d seen the last of her and her dreadful, grasping daughter, Diana. And yet . . . and yet . . . there was a tickle at the back of my imagination (if you’ll pardon the description) about Diana’s husband and the way he was carrying on. So I began to think about this and that.

Where, in fact, do stories come from? I don’t know about other writers, but I pick up a stray thought here and an odd comment there and see what happens next. It’s rather like making a jigsaw. I think about the people I’ve already written about and their circumstances. Then a small idea floats into the back of my mind as to what might happen to them if . . . Then, there’s a nice piece of action here, and perhaps there’s a conflict of interests there . . . and before you know it, a story begins to come together. Perhaps it will work, perhaps it won’t. The only thing I am sure about is that I am getting a trifle tired and will have to work less hours in future than I have been doing.

An odd thing was reported by one of my faithful readers. Many years ago I needed information about killer-type dogs, and my friend obliged. She herself is into Golden Labradors but she knew all about the other breeds and I used what she told me in MURDER IN THE PARK, No. 9 in the Ellie Quicke series. This came out in 2007, went into paperback and large print – and now has dropped out of the list of titles available. I didn’t realise it had gone out of print and now my agent is negotiating to see if we can bring it back as an e-book. Thanks to Gill for pointing this out.

May you only remember the good points about your friends and overlook the occasional irritations . . . hoping they will do the same for you.

Veronica Heley