With the new year under way, I find myself fully entrenched in my latest book project, The Case that Foiled Fabian: Murder and Witchcraft in Rural England. The manuscript is due on the publisher’s desk May 1. I noticed last night the book is already listed on the UK Amazon site, even though it won’t be out until June 2014. The product description reads:
On Wednesday 14 February 1945, the body of Charles Walton was discovered in the sleepy Warwickshire village of Lower Quinton, his torso pinned to the ground by a pitchfork that had been viciously driven through him. Walton, a life-long resident of Lower Quinton and a retired labourer, was believed by many to be a clairvoyant who could talk to birds and exercise control over animals. Indeed, with the vast majority of villagers believing that Walton’s death was carried out according to ritual witchcraft, such was his unusual past, the most famous police officer in Britain, Robert Fabian (Fabian of the Yard), was promptly dispatched by Scotland Yard to help solve this increasingly peculiar and foreboding mystery. Fabian was not a man prone to superstition and who had dealt with some of the most notorious killers of his time. However, there was something in the Walton murder that proved to be unnerving. Moreover, with all the clues continuing to point towards ritual witchcraft as the modus operandi and faced by a wall of silence from the villagers, Fabian faced, for the first time in his glittering career, the daunting prospect of failure. Renowned crime historian Simon Read will piece together the now-infamous events at Lower Quinton in an effort to provide an answer to the unrequited question: who killed Charles Walton, the victim of the last ritual witchcraft murder in Britain?
I’ll say it: I like being referred to as a “renowned crime historian.”
I should have the first draft done in another 10,000 words or so. I spent the holiday season in Britain, researching and taking photographs, and am quite happy with the way things are progressing. I have a feeling this will be my last book for quite a while, as—for the first time since I became a published author—I have no idea what I want to work on next. While I have a few ideas rattling around in the back of my head, none of them genuinely excite me. It’s a rather nerve-wracking thing to be bereft of ideas, for a writer can’t really write without them! That said, a break will do me good. Since 2005, I’ve written seven books (including the one I’m working on now) back-to-back. My brain and my carpal-tunneled fingers need a rest.
Turning the book in by the beginning of May means I won’t have to worry about writing over the summer. In addition to banging out books, I work a day job (unless you’re a major bestselling author, tapping at the keys doesn’t earn you enough to feed a family and pay the mortgage). This means I work on the books in the evenings after my wife and son have gone to bed. I’m actually looking forward to having time to crash on the sofa and watch movies—and, of course, catch up on my reading.
In other books news, there is now less than two months to go until the British publication of Human Game. I’m very happy to announce that Live Magazine, which is published in the Mail on Sunday (one of Britain’s major national newspapers) will be publishing a 2,500-word excerpt of the book just prior to the March 7 release. As frequent visitors to this site may already know, Human Game details the brutal, non-fiction aftermath of the events depicted in the classic film “The Great Escape.” The movie has always been popular in the UK and—until recently—always aired on television on Christmas day. I’m hoping this bodes well for the book’s UK performance.
My New Year’s resolution is to try and be more disciplined when it comes to the blog. My writing duties have cut into my blogging time, but I hope to be posting more regularly in the weeks ahead!
Until next time . . .