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“Worm in the Blossom” is done – it’s on the shelves (real and virtual) and I’m talking about it to everyone who will listen (and a few who start to edge away…).  But Sam is not one to sit idle, and he knows as well as I do that he has four more stories to tell.  I work best to deadlines, and so I have set the next one: 21 October 2016.  You can see it on the countdown clock, which now shows a lovely big fat twelve months.

So what happens now?  My first task today is to set up my “Plank 4” files in Scrivener, my writing program.  This entails copying across my character studies, for easy reference – so that I always know, for instance, how old Sam is, and how many siblings (living and dead) are in the Wilson household- and creating some blank chapter files.  I then ease into the research in a gentle fashion by reading up about the year concerned, which this time round is 1827.  I create a diary of all the key events that might have impacted on Sam and his circle, and for some reason I also enjoy researching the weather – I’d hate Martha to miss a good tornado or stinging fog.  I make notes and notes and notes and notes.  If they are expanding on general topics – such as Regency fashion or the servant structure – they go into my general “Plank research” files.  If they apply specifically to “Plank 4”, I make a new file for them.  For instance, “Worm in the Blossom” generated a lot of information about the law surrounding fratricide that I probably won’t use again, so that’s not in the general “Plank research” files.

And what of this blog?  I imagine that things will go quieter for a while, although I will of course update you on developments like my talk in Toppings, and sales figures for “Worm” (as of this morning, thirteen paperbacks and four Kindle books sold through Amazon – I daren’t go in and check the bookshops just yet…). But do stick with us: Sam, Martha, William and I are going nowhere.  Except maybe France…