You know when something’s in the background and then all of a sudden it’s RIGHT THERE? That’s kind of how it’s been with my latest book.
Once I’d finished the draft of Pippa Parker book 6, Past Tense, I was in a bit of a quandary. There were lots of books I could write, but somehow I wasn’t in the mood. I had a few plot ideas for Mrs Hudson book 3, but nothing coherent, and an 85-90K draft felt like a big ask, especially as I’ve had lots of editing work to do over the last few months, and everyone at home all day. Similarly, writing about Maisie Frobisher’s travels seemed pretty odd in a locked-down world. And I felt like starting something new.
I had 3 series ideas; a spinoff from the Maisie books, an off-the-wall children’s series, and a series set in a mysterious, magical secondhand bookshop in London. I couldn’t decide between them, so I asked my newsletter. And since I got an equal number of votes for all three, they couldn’t decide either!
So I sat down with a piece of paper and listed pros and cons, and once I’d thought about research, and the likely market for children’s books at the moment, the bookshop series won out.
It isn’t sounding like much of an ambush so far, is it? Bear with me.
I was still feeling cautious, so I wrote a short story in the bookshop world first. It kind of tumbled out. And when I sent it to my regular betas, they really liked it.
So I outlined book 1, and started writing. And that’s when I got ambushed. I started the book in mid-June, and finished the draft in the first week of July. Then I plotted and outlined book 2, and kept going, with some pauses for editing, beta-readers, and proofing book 1. But I’m just over halfway through book 2 now, in late July.
Why did it grab hold of me in this way? I suspect because it’s something new, and the sort of light read that I want in these strange times we’re living through. It felt like a book I needed to write.
And I’m delighted to announce that Every Trick In The Book, book 1 in the Magical Bookshop series, will be out on August 4, and is available to preorder now.
Here’s the blurb:
Turning over a new leaf doesn’t always go according to plan…
When Jemma James takes a job at Burns Books, the second-worst secondhand bookshop in London, she finds her ambition to turn it around thwarted at every step. Raphael, the owner, is more interested in his newspaper than sales. Folio the bookshop cat has it in for Jemma, and the shop itself appears to have a mind of its own. Or is it more than that?
Gradually Jemma starts to make a difference … and then the anonymous letters start arriving. Who is behind them, and why?
As the threats escalate, and the shop becomes increasingly turbulent, Jemma and Raphael must work together to find the culprit. And what else will Jemma find in her investigations?
Every Trick In The Book is the first in the Magical Bookshop humorous mystery series, set in modern London.