I know I’m meant to do it for the love of it, and honestly, most of the time I do: Sam, Martha, Wilson and I sit in my back bedroom (grandly called “the study”) and between us we put enough words on the page to release a new adventure every eighteen months or so. And it is a pleasure and a privilege to be able to spend all those hours on something so self-indulgent and enjoyable. But I cannot deny that it is thrilling to get recognition for the effort and the hours and the words. And in the past couple of days, I have had double recognition!
The marvellous Jo writes a book review blog called JaffaReadsToo (Jaffa being her feline office manager) and on her regular feature Hist Fic Saturday she graciously published a blushingly lovely review of “Heir Apparent”. Jo has been a supporter of the series since “Fatal Forgery”, when I was casting around for reviewers of historical fiction and she kindly agreed to take a punt on a complete unknown (whereas now I have reached the dizzy heights of “not quite unknown”). I was particularly nervous about sending her “Heir Apparent”, as it has the most complicated plot so far and – with Jo’s sharp eye – I knew that any inconsistencies would be laid bare… Thankfully she and Jaffa have given it their paw-print of approval – calling the Sam books “perhaps one of the best historical crime series I have read” – and I can breathe once more.
And then yesterday I was travelling home on a crowded train, having been separated from my phone all day by the welcome distraction of a family gathering, when I spotted that the wonderful Helen Hollick of the Discovering Diamonds book review website has named “Heir Apparent” her Book of the Month for November 2019! She had already published a lovely review, so this is an unexpected extra plaudit – and comes with the spiffy badge that you can see on the left of the page. Helen, it goes without saying, is a doyenne of historical fiction – as both a writer and a reader – and her opinion is one of the most valued around. I did a mini dance of delight on the train (95% internal, so as not to alarm other passengers) and then had celebratory fish and chips for supper. What a week!