Did I mention that I have decided that there will be seven Sam Plank books? It’s not a nod to JK, or anything to do with the significance of the number seven – it’s just worked out that way.
“Fatal Forgery” (Plank 1) is set mostly in 1824. “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat” (Plank 2) takes place in 1825. So I thought it would be interesting to set one novel per year until 1830, which is a good end point because policing in London changed significantly in 1829 (when the Metropolitan Police was founded) and Sam would be thinking about retirement then anyway, so I thought that he could work with the Met for a year, passing on his knowledge and skills, and then bow out gracefully. Or not – Sam rather makes his own decisions, I have found. If I am permitted to follow this plan, it means that I am now committed to Plank 3 in 1826, Plank 4 in 1827, Plank 5 in 1828, Plank 6 in 1829 and Plank 7 in 1830. And so far I have published them in successive years, which would mean publishing Plank 3 in 2015, Plank 4 in 2016, Plank 5 in 2017, Plank 6 in 2018 and Plank 7 in 2019.
Now I am used to planning ahead in my day job. I’m self-employed, so if you don’t put holidays in the diary well ahead of time, they don’t happen. And I work mainly with compliance departments, which are usually very organised and like to book staff training and other initiatives well in advance. So I already know what work I will be doing for most of 2015. But as far ahead as 2019…. that’s a bit scary.
And the other thing that is exercising my mind at the moment is wondering how I am going to keep track of all the details in the series. If, for instance, I mention Martha’s birthday in one of the books, I will have to make sure that it stays on the same date if I mention it again. I think before I go too much further, I am going to have to close-read “Fatal Forgery” and “Canary” again, and make a careful note of any details that I do mention, and keep a Bumper Book of Sam Facts. I wonder how JK managed it?