After months (and months) of writing, the draft copy of Building 41, the third and final episode in the Harry Stammers Series, is now out for test reading and we are, pending any last minute hiccups, looking good for an April or May 2016 release. Of course it does all depend on what my beta readers think. If they spot any flaws, then some re-writing may be necessary and I’m already planning a few last minute tweaks – little things that I’ve spotted myself. But (and I don’t know how other writers approach this) I have reached that point in the writing cycle where, though I can read the book, I can no longer really see it. When you’ve read the same text, over and over again, you become a little blind to it (well I do), which is, of course, where the beta readers come in. This year, I’m welcoming two new test readers to the team, both avid fans of Harry Stammers & co. They both have packages winging their way to them as I write. Then, when all that is done, it will be the final proof reading and we’ll be done. Then, I suppose, I can start thinking about the next book…
I am not, as yet, entirely decided about which way to go. One idea that I’m toying with is to write a spin-off, using a minor character from one of the books. There are a couple of candidates, Chief Superintendent Simon Broadbent from ‘The Battle of Wood Green’ being one. I liked Broadbent. He wasn’t an entirely good egg. Not by the time I met him in The Battle of Wood Green, anyway. But then being gay and a senior police officer in 1977 can’t have been easy and I have been wondering about how he managed to advance to the heights of Chief Super. Of course, Broadbent bows out on a somewhat sticky wicket in TBOWG:
(Peter Owen says to Jimmy Dobson) ‘When you’ve done that, make arrangements for the Chief Superintendent’s suicide, would you? I hear that bent coppers usually prefer to throw themselves from the tops of tall buildings, rather than face the humiliation of a long prison sentence. And Chief Superintendent Broadbent is bent in more than ways than one.’
(Jimmy Dobson replies, rather ominously) ‘It will be my pleasure.’
But I never did discover what actually happened to him…
Then there is Alphonse Richelieu (also from TBOWG). A lot of you liked Alphonse. He is one of the characters that people most ask me about. Curiously, people seem suspicious of him, even though he appears, on the face of it, to be an entirely loyal friend of Rosemary Sellers. Some readers were convinced he was going to turn into a villain in the end… But what’s his back story?
So who knows where I’m going next? I certainly don’t! If any of you would like to know more about Broadbent, Alphonse or any of the other characters from the books, feel free to email me. I’m open to all suggestions!
Anyway, it is back to Building 41 for me – I’ll update you all soon.