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Here I am, three days after the official publication of “Heir Apparent” – and it’s still exciting!  The new book is selling well: the wonderful Book Report tells me that I have sold sixteen copies via Amazon (I’ll have to wait for the Amazon report to see how many are paperback and how many e-books) while I have delivered nineteen copies to bookshops and sold four copies direct to friends.  That’s *counts on fingers and toes* thirty-nine copies in the first week – although of course the bookshop sales won’t bring in any money until they actually sell to customers.

So what’s next?  Well, I’ll actually have two writing projects on the go at the same time.  The first is a non-fiction book that I have been planning for a while, on my experiences of running a one-person consultancy business – how to be happy and productive while working alone.  (I hadn’t really thought of it applying to authors but I suppose it could… there’s another target market.)  I’ve done the planning and “plotting” (different for a non-fiction book but still important – you always need a beguiling narrative and a sensible structure to keep people turning the pages) and decided on the title: “The Solo Squid”.  It’s partly because when you run a one-person business you have to do everything yourself and you can end up feeling that you need at least eight arms, and partly because early on in the book I talk about working alone being a different kettle of fish and this gave rise to a marine theme.  I’ve booked the cover designer (Design for Writers – who else?) and set myself a January 2020 deadline – better get cracking!

And the second project is *drum roll please* the first book in the new series, set in Cambridge in the 1820s (well, of course) and narrated by a university constable called (I’m almost certain) Gregory Hardiman.  A little while ago I asked for your views on whether I should do “Plank 7” before or after “Gregory 1”, and you were fairly evenly divided on the matter.  Smarter commercial brains tell me that it might be good to get people hooked on a new series before they finish the old one, so that they have somewhere to go.  But, I will confess, the deciding factor was my own cowardice: I simply cannot imagine life without Sam and Martha, and this decision puts off the dreaded day when I will have to put the final full-stop at the end of “Plank 7”.