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As you know, I am spending my December working on a non-Sam project – it’s a non-fiction book about running a happy one-person business.  I’m calling it “The Solo Squid”; it just came to me one day (as I thought about how a solo entrepreneur has to do everything, from mending the printer to chasing the unpaid invoices, as well as actually doing the work – so the eight arms of the squid are only just enough) and everyone I mention it to says that they love the title.  I have finished the first draft and the editing of that starts today, while on the cover front (so to speak) I am at the exciting point of waiting to see what the miracle-workers at Design for Writers have managed to create for me.  I’m hoping to publish the Squid early in January, which will be an exciting start to the new year.

But I have not abandoned historical fiction, not by any means.  As regular readers will know, I have decided that I am going to put the final Sam book on hold (not least because I cannot bear to say goodbye to him) and instead get started with the first book in my new series – that’s “Hardiman 1”.  The new series is set in the same era – the 1820s – but this time in Cambridge, my home town.  Gregory Hardiman is a university constable, which gives him licence to move around the city and stick his nose into all the colleges and departments (which may not have been called “departments” in the 1820s – perhaps “schools”?  I’ll let you know…).  And one thrilling difference between Sam and Greg is that university constables still exist!  Yes, I can go and meet Greg’s current day successors and ask them all about the job.  I have been in touch with the University Marshal (an office now held for the first time by a woman – a former bomb disposal expert, no less) and she has invited me to come in and meet her and her constable colleagues in the new year.  Even more exciting (is it possible!), her email says this: “As a Constabulary, we continue to use many of the items that were in use in the 1820s”.  So I may be able to actually see items that Gregory would have used.  January is going to be a fabulous month.