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
JUST ONE MORE DAY (hardback) published by Piatkus, an imprint of Little Brown Book Group. A Second Word War story set on a bomber airfield in Lincolnshire. It follows the lives of three WAAFs and the aircrews of Bomber Command. The subject matter was suggested by my publisher, to be published this year which is the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
Also published today by Piatkus is A TAPESTRY OF DREAMS (paperback). Greed and ambition threaten lives in this powerful drama set in the 19th Century woollen mills of the West Riding of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire sheep farming.
Apart from being a ghost story WHISPERS IN THE SNOW (Piatkus eBook £2.99), which came out for the Christmas market also had an old RAF Bomber Command airfield as its background. This also made it a fitting introduction to my next Jessica Blair novel JUST ONE MORE DAY coming out on February 5th in hardback. This also has a RAF background as it follows three WAAFs who serve on a bomber station, written to appear in 2015 as this is the 70th anniversary year of the cessation of hostilities in the Second World War
WHISPERS IN THE SNOW 1 November 7th, 2014 Posted in Books, Jessica Blair Country |
A disused wartime airfield in Lincolnshire. Hacked up runways overgrown. Nissen huts once living quarters, offices, and briefing rooms for a Lancaster Squadron , all falling apart. What stories can it tell? What whispers can be heard through the snow? WHISPERS IN THE SNOW by Jessica Blair. Published 4 December, as ebook £2.99 by Piatkus an imprint of Little Brown Book Group »crosslinked«