Some time ago, before I started writing books, I belonged to a group on Facebook called Fast Fiction. At one point we were challenged to write a story around an inanimate object, and so I wrote a short story called ‘The Seat’. The seat in the title was a stone bench in an old garden. My latest book ‘Aunt Bea’s Legacy’ grew out of that short story, extra inspiration gained through my love of the house I’ve set it in.
When I wrote ‘Aunt Bea’s Legacy’, I had intended it to be a one-off, stand alone. However, no sooner had I finished it, another story clamoured to be written. The idea for it came unbidden into my head and wouldn’t give me any peace. So, I wrote it, very quickly indeed and ‘Aunt Bea’s Legacy’ suddenly became book 1 in a series of stories that will centre around River View Farmhouse and the village of Sutton-on-Wye.
While book 2, ‘By the Gate’ is being beta-read, I am face with writing Book 3. But what to do? I didn’t want Sutton-on-Wye to become a place where people died wholesale, like in ‘Midsommer Murders’, nor did I want it to be a revamp of Rebecca Shaw’s ‘Village’ series. My village is rather different and in any case, her central character is a vicar and the ‘big house’ in her books is a posh place, a private health club (as far as I can remember) and my ‘big house’ in Sutton is a nursing home. ‘Aunt Bea’s Legacy’ is not a murder mystery but it does involve a crime investigation. ‘By the Gate’ is the story of the investigation into a seventy year old murder after a skeleton is unearthed in a field. I have an idea what the fourth book will be about but first I have to write the third one.
I can almost hear you asking ‘why don’t you make the fourth book the third one, if you know what it’s going to be about?’ Good question. The only answer is that I have to have some key players in place before that and they will arrive in book three.
All this got me thinking about my other books. ‘The Hiraeth’ was intended to be a one-off but evolved into a trilogy and my children’s book, ‘Robin’s Ring’ was also going to be a stand alone, but will now have more books to follow.
It seems that writing books is more like ‘real life’ than I realised. One decision made leads to another, or an original plan ultimately becomes something different. Writing – and life – can also be a struggle, or a puzzle, but eventually it pieces together and evolves into something that makes sense – we hope!