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It’s nearly upon me…  One day soon, I am going to have to stop noodling around in the name of research and start writing the first book in my new series.  What is different this time is that when I wrote “Fatal Forgery” I didn’t know it was the first book in a series – I thought it was a standalone effort, if I even gave the distinction a moment’s thought.  And so when I came to start “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat” – the second Sam book – I realised that I would have to continue with Sam as I had, with no planning, created him for his first outing.  I re-read “Fatal Forgery”, making careful notes of anything I had mentioned, carelessly, about his appearance or family or opinions, so that I could be consistent.  And with every book, I added to his biography – always dreading the day when I made a mistake and a scar appeared in the wrong place or he gained a sibling.

This time it’s different.  I already know that Gregory Hardiman – fairly sure about that name – is going to appear in five books.  This means that he needs to be rounded and interesting enough from the outset to make readers want to learn more about him, and that I will have to drip-feed what I already know.  With Sam, information was drip-fed by default, as I created it.  And this past weekend I spent several hours thinking about how I want Gregory to sound – literally and on the page.  I know he’s a country lad, Protestant, and that he served in the army in Spain – all of those will inform his diction, vocabulary and views.  I’m also conscious that I really don’t want him to sound like Sam, and so I am thinking that I will make him something of a poet – moved by beauty and nature.  Sam was moved by bustle and activity and being part of thriving city, but I think Greg will be a country mouse by comparison.  And as for appearance, well, I’m thinking stocky and sturdy (as a Norfolk farmer’s son would have been), handy with his fists, and self-conscious about his facial scarring.  Yes, he’s definitely on his way…