After nearly 15 years I’ve at last got that novel finished. Lockdown’s been tough for many people, and it’s hard not to go out and about as you please, not to see family and friends except on a screen, not to be able to pop out for that essential ingredient you forgot to buy for tonight’s meal.
But monotony, calmness, a lack of any sort of interruption or distraction is just what a writer needs, once past the tense early days of wondering how you’re going to get any food at all. So, ‘A Hidden Fire’ is almost ready to be launched on the world.
But not quite yet, because ‘Children in Read’ comes first. Maybe you think that’s a mistprint. It’s ‘Children in Need’, surely, that annual BBC fund raiser for children’s charities? Well, yes, but that’s precisely what ‘Children in Read’ is—a contribution to that annual event, supported by hundreds of authors of all kinds of books, who donate signed copies of their works to be auctioned for charity. Last year over £8000 was raised by this event, and hopefully there’ll be more this year. There are some huge names taking part in 2020: Anne Fine, Anne Cleeves, Ian Rankin, to name but three. And me. I have a feeling that I won’t be adding much to the final grand total, but I want to do what I can. Sadly, the new book can’t be made ready in time, so I’ve donated my all-time-best seller, ‘Family Business’, along with its sequel, ‘Queen of the Road’.
These two books were originally written as one novel, but my then publisher Severn House, who mostly supplied hardback novels to libraries, clearly saw a commercial opportunity in issuing two books, especially as there was a natural break in the story that made this possible. Perhaps now there’s a chance for someone to bid for both books at once, for a complete saga?
I’d aways thought of these books as contemporary novels. After all, they are mostly set during my lifetime, using my own memories of those long and eventful years. But I belong to the Historical Novelists’ Association, and it’s clear from their website that anything up to the nineteen sixties counts as history. It makes me feel so horribly old!
‘Children in Read’ will be open for bidding from September 13 at 23.59, until around November 13.
For an early taster of some of the books to be auctioned, follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/606157880041358
As for my new novel, which is most definitely historical even by my standards, I’ve had a fine cover designed for the Kindle version by Jacqueline Abromeit of Good Cover Designs. So, watch this space, as they say!