Susan Grossey

Slowing down, for good reasons

I’ve just had a five-day break in Norfolk.  For those of you not from the UK, Norfolk is one of our more traditional counties, for which we love it – you can visit seaside towns that seem much as they must have done in the 1950s, and the simple pleasures of bird-spotting, cake-eating and countryside-walking are Norfolk’s selling points.  And what inevitably happens on a Norfolk break is that you slow down and take stock – you step back from daily routines and pressures and wonder why life can’t always be this relaxing.

As some of you will know, I am retiring from my full-time paid work at the end of this year – for many and complicated reasons, but it’s the right decision at the right time and I am looking forward to spending much more time on writing and book marketing.  However, when I announced my plans to my clients, I was (very flatteringly) inundated with requests for “just one more training session before you go”, and my diary for the last three months of the year is now jam-packed with bookings.  The net result is that I am further behind with “Plank 7” than I would wish – and I was getting panicky about meeting my own deadline (mildly important) and also finding the actual writing a chore rather than a pleasure (hugely important).  And after looking at it from the distance of Norfolk, I have decided to postpone my publication date until 25 February 2022.  (My late father’s birthday, so always a significant date for me.)

I am aware that we are in the middle of our title poll – many thanks to those who have already voted.  I can’t see me changing the plot elements significantly or changing my short-list of titles, so the decision of that poll will simply carry forward – and it will be lovely to stop calling the poor thing “Plank 7” and give it a proper name instead.

And to those of you who suspect that this is all simply a ruse to spend a couple more months with Sam and Martha, well, I couldn’t possibly comment…


  1. Graham Thomas Avatar
    Graham Thomas

    Dear Susan

    Welcome back from your well earned break. That is exciting news about your retirement plans, even though I’m sure that it’s a time of mixed feelings for you.

    I think that a lot of us have taken stock of things in recent months and, like you, I will also be retiring in the near future (at the end of January).

    It’s very nice to know though that your clients value your expertise and I’m sure that the time will fly past over the next few weeks whilst you try to fit in the extra training requests etc. I can certainly understand the decision to postpone the publication date rather than try to juggle too many things at once and, as you say, there’s the added bonus of you getting to spend more time with Sam and Martha.

    Best wishes


    1. ihatemoneylaundering Avatar

      Dear Graham

      I think you are right: lots of people have taken this time to reflect and reprioritise. I have always wanted to give the Sam Plank books more of a chance by spending more time on marketing, but it has just not been possible. And I realised that I was rushing – and therefore resenting – this final book, which was a great shame.

      I wish you every happiness as you too move into the next stage of life – retirement always sounds too inactive for me – and I very much hope that you will use some of your freed-up time to read more historical crime fiction, perhaps a new series set in Cambridge…!

      Best wishes from Susan

  2. Roy McCarthy Avatar
    Roy McCarthy

    Wow, that’s a surprise Susan. Though, as I’ve found, ‘retirement’ is actually an opening of various other doors. You won’t find yourself looking for stuff to do, that’s for sure. As to Norfolk, it’s difficult to imagine it was one of Britain’s most populace and prosperous counties before the Industrial Revolution.

    1. ihatemoneylaundering Avatar

      From my sick-bed I have been watching “A Year in Provence” with Carol Drinkwater, and she is so enormously enthusiastic about her own writing and the wonderful escape it provides that I simply cannot wait to get started properly in January!

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