Wasn’t that a terrific bank holiday weekend? In fact, it was so hot here in Cambridge that I had the perfect excuse to stop tidying the garden and head indoors to spend time with Sam and Martha. As regular readers will know, I have now plunged back into research and preparation as I turn my mind to the writing of “Plank 6”. To encourage without scaring myself witless, I have even settled on a publication date and have reset the countdown clock on the left. Taa-dah!
As I may have confessed some time ago, “Plank 6” is actually a little more advanced than usual. When I first decided to write a series of seven Sam books, I plotted them all in general terms – which crime would happen in which year, and which significant character milestones would occur in which book. But when it came to “Plank 5” – now published as “Faith, Hope and Trickery” – I just wasn’t feeling it. I tried: I did lots of research, and I even wrote the first chapter – but in the end I had to admit defeat and swap it with the plot for “Plank 6”. And so now I find that a fair amount of preparatory work has been done, and you’ll be glad to hear that the time has indeed come for this particular plot – now I’m really feeling it!
One of the key plot points I need to clarify concerns intestacy – what happens to your assets if you die without a will. (Not really a concern for me, as I plan to spend it all before I go, on shoes, chocolate and books, but for rich folk it’s quite an issue.) And, as you can imagine, it’s something of a legal minefield – particularly when it comes to researching historical legislation. I did some reading around the subject, tying myself in knots with new vocabulary like “cousin-german” and the crucial difference between heirs and next-of-kin. But in the end I decided – for the first time – to take advantage of the huge amount of knowledge out there in the historical writing community. For quite a while I have been a follower of a Facebook group called English Historical Fiction Authors, and have enjoyed reading all the posts they feature. But yesterday I put up a question about my particular intestacy issue and wham! within about an hour I had four very learned and helpful explanations. How very generous people are with their time and expertise. I have previously answered a query myself – about Georgian insults, if I remember – but will make sure to contribute more when I can, to repay my debt.
Graham Thomas said:
Yes, a lovely Bank Holiday weekend indeed. I’m walking the Pennine Way in a series of stages and this weekend saw us tackling 2 of the toughest days, 16 hilly miles on day 1 and 21 hilly miles on day 2. The lovely weather made for some lovely scenic views but it was a little too hot at times.
The resetting of the countdown clock is an exciting day for us long term Plank fans and I’m glad to hear that you have had some valuable help with the twists and turns of intestacy.
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