As most of you will know, I've written seven crime novels featuring Jack Scott, Sian Laidlaw and Calum Wick, two more with photographer turned amateur sleuth Penny Lane who is aided by husband Josh and gambler Ryan Sharkey.
The demise of Robert Hale saw Black Horse Westerns taken over by The Crowood Press, Wiltshire, but more general fiction - including crime - in limbo; those new publishers are primarily non-fiction. The good news for me (and readers?) is that another publisher is willing to look at a new Penny Lane novel, and will also look at the Penny Lane back list if they decide to continue the series. Excellent. All I have to do is write the new book.
Well, I always boast that I can write a western in just a few weeks. A crime novel for the publisher so far expressing cautious interest would be almost three times as long, which means writing it could take a few weeks times three - and, of course, 'a few' is open to any kind of interpretation!
My optimistic view is three months. And as it's now mid-April, that's looking at completion at the same point in July. Eighty thousand words. Twelve weeks. Not even one thousand words a day, so within easy reach - right?
We'll see. So far there's a working title: The Silent Halls of Death. And a prologue that has now become the first chapter. And four more chapters. Nine thousand words done (almost), leaving seventy-one thousand to do.
Penny Lane lives on...