Thursday 16 October 2014


I haven't done that many words recently, but I have been doing quite a bit of research for the next book (my historical novel). Originally, I was planning to wrap up the first draft by 1 November, but that's not going to happen. It would mean writing 3-4,000 words per day to hit that goal, and while it can be done, I'm a lot slower than that when I'm on my own. (That would be roughly equivalent to 15-20 pages of finished text.)

However, the new goal is to hit "The End" by 12 November. Which is the date when I pack my bags and fly out to join L.A. Witt in Seattle for four weeks. (The last week, the Dude is joining us for some sightseeing.) The plan is to see Washington State (where we have a book set), Portland and Seattle (where we have several books set) and write a couple Market Garden books while we're in the same room. We have some fragments, but really need to focus for a few days to wrap them up.

So, the last few research books helped me understand an entertainment career in 1930-1940ish, which is what I desperately needed to flesh out my character. Like, how do get a record contract, what is the usual rate of pay, and how many sold copies constitutes a hit? I also looked at the evolution of jazz/swing, and some of that history was fascinating. I didn't know, for example, about the massively positive bias Paris had for blacks - essentially, once jazz/swing started making an impact, and no doubt also driven by Josephine Baker being a mega-star, Black was cool, and many black musicians/artists were astonished how much the Parisians loved them (even discriminating against, say, whites or other ethnic groups, like Romany, when it came to hiring), compared to their US/UK home crowd. (Of course, the Nazis ruined it all, and most black artists left Paris when the Nazis were at the gates.) It's not a part of history that's commonly taught.

So, yeah, fascinating stuff. It took me about two days to research all that, and there will only be a few sentences referring to it in the final manuscript, so in some ways, researching that deeply is an outrageous waste of time. However, I think it'll show in added depth, richness and confidence, so it's all good. If this book is going to be the best one I've ever done, putting in some extra work is no problem at all.

I'm planning to re-work some passages to reflect the research (just making it sharper and more correct - I was going with some guesstimates, and they didn't prove to be spot on).

On a side note, I hope everybody is having fun at GRL in Chicago this year. I'm hoping to be back next year.

Meanwhile, if anybody wants to meet me in Seattle from 13 November to 10 December, please get in touch. Happy to meet for a coffee/chat/sign books. 


  1. I wish I had read Lone Wolf before now. I would have loved to meet you. I enjoyed Lone Wolf, and hope to read more in the Bluewater Bay series.
    Have you ever met Darien Cox? Just curious. I really like two of his books: Criminal Pleasures, and Fit For The Job. Thanks for Lone Wolf!

    1. Heya - thanks for the comment! I'm glad you enjoyed the book. :) And, no, I haven't had the pleasure to meet Darien - maybe at a convention this year.