I rather fear that my blog posts at the moment are a bit dull – there’s not much to say when you’re knee-deep in research. But I am finding it a mental challenge to live with two constables at the same time. There are six Sam Plank novels out there and I want to take every opportunity I can to promote them and acquire new readers. In this endeavour I have help from all sorts of lovely people, including – today – Helen Hollick, who has featured a conversation with Martha Plank on her historical fiction blog Let Us Talk of Many Things. In an imaginative departure for her blog, Helen periodically features conversations not with authors but with their characters, and today it is Martha’s turn.
At the same time, I am ramping up the research for my new series – the Gregory books – which will be set in Cambridge (but still in my beloved 1820s). This involves long hours in the library (don’t feel sorry for me – it’s my version of paradise) and even the outlay of £20 on a comprehensive and chunky history of the university (I figure that I’m planning five Gregory books, so it’s a bearable investment of £4 per book).
But what should I do about my monthly updates? These go out to subscribers on the first of each month (do sign up – I’m currently writing for a very select and loyal audience of thirty-one!) and so far have concentrated on the research that underpins the Sam books. Indeed, all nineteen updates have been called “Sam Plank update”. Shall I re-brand them? Or keep that title and just explain each time that the research – although still late Regency and therefore equally of interest to Sam fans – is being done to furnish Gregory with his life and backstory? It doesn’t matter one jot at the moment, I suppose, but when the Sam books are picked up for a blockbuster Sunday night telly drama and I’m having to beat journalists off with a stick, I want to have my author profile and presence all neat and tidy. In the meantime, turn away now if you’re squeamish: I’m off to research facial and eye injuries caused by muskets in the Peninsular Wars.