I am nearing the end of my new novel under the working title of THE TRAIL BEFORE ME. It has to be with my publisher Piatkus by the end of April. If I meet no snags I should achieve that. It is always an exciting time to see the finished text and enjoy what lies ahead when all the various departments at the publisher’s bring their contributions together to produce the finish book, which is always a thrill to hold. More on THE TRAIL BEFORE ME as the completion approaches.
Just back from a very interesting and enlightening meeting of the Flying Ducks, a group of Northern writers who meet on the first Thursday of the month We were given an enlightening and lively meeting by John Jackson about Social Media and the way in which writers can use it to spread news of their writing and make their books more widely known.
Come and meet the author Jessica Blair at the Guisborough Bookshop Saturday 11.00am until 2.00pm
The first Jessica Blair novel, THE RED SHAWL was taken by Piatkus and published in 1992, at their suggestion under the name of Jessica Blair. Since then there have been 24 Jessica Blair novels. The twenty-fifth TREAD SOFTLY, ALICE will be published on 4th February 2016. It is set in 19th Century North Yorkshire, the Highlands of Scotland and the Boer War in South Africa. Two brothers, serving Army officers, fall in love with the same girl. She leaves England to marry one of them, but which one? Forceful events take a hand in her decision and turn her life up-side-down. Will she ever find the happiness she seeks?
Last Thursday I attended the RNA’s Northern Group’s meeting at Beckwithshaw near Harrogate. It was good to be sharing time with writers again. I had missed a full session of meetings earlier in the Year and this was the first of the Autumn meetings. The exchange of news about what we have been doing and are doing was lively and interesting as it covered many aspects of writing.
Frances Brody had brought along a copy of her novel A DEATH IN THE DALES published that day by Piatkus a division of Little Brown Book Group. I share the same publisher and was able to tell the meeting that I had recently signed a contract for a 90,000 word novel to be in their hands by April 2016. I am 8,000 words into the novel but as yet I have not decided on a title. I do like to have a title at the start because it helps to focus the mind on the story at the start of a writing session. No doubt something will soon spring to mind.
I have recently been visiting my daughters in Lincolnshire, the county I call ‘my second home’, the first being Yorkshire. I came to know Lincolnshire during the Second World War. I did most of my flying from there as a crew member of a Lancaster bomber operating from Dunholme Lodge and Spilsby. After that my association with Lincolnshire continued when two of my daughters settled in Lincolnshire and through them I came to benefit from the friendliness of its people. Whenever I visit my daughters I haunt the secondhand bookshops and generally find some gem to add to my collection. The other day I found two that I knew could help my research into the background of the novel I have had commissioned by my publisher, Piatkus, part of the Little Brown Book Group. This will be under the name of Jessica Blair and has to be ready to go to Piatkus in April 2016. In the mean time two novels came out in February – JUST ONE MORE DAY (hardback) which has a World War Two RAF background, and A TAPESTRY OF DREAMS (paperback) with the woollen industry of the West Riding of Yorkshire and sheep farming in Lincolnshire as its background.
The next Jessica Blair novel TREAD SOFTLY ALICE is in the hands of the publisher and will appear in April 2016. Its background is Scotland’s Highlands, Yorkshire’s moors and the Boer War in South Africa.
With JUST ONE MORE DAY published in February and the next novel TREAD SOFTLY, ALICE with my publisher, Piatkus, I took two months away from writing. Do writers ever completely escape from writing? And do we ever really want to? Does our subconscious continue to tick away in the work we love? Yesterday I was aware of an idea for my next novel pushing itself into prominence in my mind and before long I was sat down tapping my computer keys and seeing words appearing on the screen. The new book? Those first words recording the idea are the start from which the whole idea can evolve. Now I have something to work from and let my ideas expand. It is the start of an exciting journey during which I will be in new places, meet people, most of whom I don’t know at the present time, but they beckon with enticing possibilities. Wish me an interesting and fulfilling journey.
Yesterday, 7th March, I was at the WHITBY BOOKSHOP signing copies of my latest hardback novel JUST ONE MORE DAY, published on 5th February, by Piatkus, an imprint of the Little Brown Book Group. It was a bright sunny day with the result that there were many people visiting Whitby which meant that lots of feet crossed the shop’s threshold. People showed interest in my work and I enjoyed chatting about it. Among them were familiar faces from past signing sessions and others were new to me. They all made a lively and interesting two hours for me. On the same day the paperback of A TAPESTRY OF DREAMS was published. There were more books to sign, among them earlier novels by Jessica Blair. One lady produced a copy of HARPOONED:- The Story of Whaling, a highly illustrated book which was published in 1980 by Conway Maritime Press, written under my own name, Bill Spence. It was this book which led to the birth of Jessica Blair in 1992 and my first novel under that name, the RED SHAWL. That had whaling and Whitby set in the nineteenth Century as its background.
Best Wishes to you all. Keep reading.
I have had good vibes coming after the publication by Piatkus of JUST ONE MORE DAY on February 5th. This novel is set in Bomber Command in the Second World War and comes during the 70th anniversary of the end of that war. Readers who like this type of novel may be interested to know that as Jessica Blair I have written other novels with this background. THE RESTLESS SPIRIT, WINGS OF SORROW, IN THE SILENCE OF THE SNOW are all published by Piatkus, an imprint of the Little, Brown Book Group. Happy reading