Archive for March, 2014

Four Days in October

Based on a photo of WPC 18 Ellis and Inspector Clayden patrolling outside Bow Street Police Station, 1924; from: http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/history-from-police-archives/Met6Kt/WomenPolice/wpFwp.html

‘Four Days in October’ is the sequel to my NaNoWriMo novel ‘The Woman of Gratz’. It’s four days before a crucial General Election, which will decide whether Maria of Gratz’s political enemies can stay in England. But until then, Maria is in danger. Mirabelle Leicester, her husband Leon and their friends Lucy Baines and the policewomen Busby and Pearce struggle to protect Maria of Gratz for four days in October …

The draft version of the story is on Wattpad here.


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It’s because I’m too tired to write, or I need to put together a cover picture (… hmm: pictures of 1924 fashions wanted, please!) or because I’m reading. At the moment I’m beta-reading my friend’s book The Theft of Samthan, set in the kingdom of Rheged in the fifth century. She’s blended together history, imagination, her knowledge of local geography and a mystery-plot to make a relaxing story that keeps me reading.

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ImageThe Woman of Gratz has had mixed reviews. My first reader thought that it wasn’t as fast-moving as The Girl from Heavytree Farm, which he preferred. The second reader likes it very much indeed: “The story is excellent, brilliant and any other superlative you would like to choose!  It’s got the right amount of action, depth of thought, and an excellent balance between romance and danger to the kingdom!  I’m not sure whether I’m meant to like Maria or not, but it’s quite clear that she’s so beautiful that other people, especially men, let her get away with stuff that others would not be allowed to perpetrate.  But you do keep leaving your stories on a cliff-hanger.” It’s lovely to get such positive feedback: thank you! As for the cliff-hanger — there is a sequel, of course. Because The Girl from Heavytree Farm has received better feedback overall, I’ve put it in for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award — but I do wonder whether The Woman of Gratz would have been better … too late now!
(Added in May): No, I didn’t make the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Worth trying, though.

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