No rest for the wicked…

It’s that time of year when what I should be doing is winding down, chilling out, curling up indoors with the kids and a good Christmas movie. That’s what I should be doing. Someone ought to tell my mind that, though, because all it wants to do is gets its grey matter stuck right into researching the next book. It would seem that I have itchy feet – or should that be fingers? – to get working on the next project. As a result, I’ve made a start, ordering the relevant preliminary books and having a more than casual gander at what’s out there in terms of internet resources. And I’m quite enthused – excited even, because I have not one, but two ideas I’m currently running with!

The first idea is to write a follow-up, a sequel of sorts, to The Gisburn Witch. When I started the first book, I only ever saw it as a single, stand-alone piece of work, and in many ways it is. Jennet Preston’s story is concluded within that novel, there is no cliff-hanger ending, no groan from the reader at the realisation that they have to ‘wait until next time’ to find out what happens. At the same time, however, it occurred to me when writing that there were other stories, and other characters, connected to Jennet but fascinating in their own right, upon whom I could shine a whole different light. That’s the idea of the next book – to move the story on, but also to revisit some of it in a different way, from a different angle. And – sigh of relief – I already have a working title for this one! I say sigh of relief because I agonised – and I mean really, really deliberated – over what to call the first novel, so it’s a relief that this one has come so easily. The book will be called A Girl Named Sellers and it will be the story of Jennet Device, the little girl who was so instrumental in the Pendle Witch Trials and the downfall of her entire family. It will be a story which asks, how do you live with the consequences of your actions, and can you ever escape your own identity and reputation?

The second idea is to move away from my beloved Pendle characters and consider a different part of early Stuart society altogether. James VI and I’s queen, Anne of Denmark, is perhaps one of the most overlooked queens in history. We’re all gripped by the Tudors; the endless affairs, intrigues and beheadings – it’s perhaps little wonder that from a literary point of view the Stuarts feel like the sobering hangover which follows the wild party. But they are a fascinating bunch in their own right, and Queen Anne especially deserves some air time. So that’s what I intend to give her, one day soon.

But for now, research, research, and more research!! And editing…lots more editing.

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