Fortunately for me, the word hiatus just means ‘gap’ – it can be big or little. When I used it in the heading of my last entry, I thought it would be short because my operation was due this week. Today, however, I got the news that I wouldn’t be going in until the 26th so we’re now talking of a stretched hiatus (which sounds like a gynaecological term but, as far as I know, isn’t). In fact, it’s now been stretched so far that it’s not a hiatus at all because I’ll probably post a couple more things in the interim. Instead then, it’s now a delayed hiatus, which is probably a cosmic anomaly.
Anyway, to celebrate or deplore this fact, I decided that it’s about time the poor old Sparrow got some attention. For no discernible reason (apart from the obvious fact that they’re literary masterpieces), readers seem to be showing some interest in the Jack Carston books, especially Material Evidence, but The Figurehead and The Sparrow Conundrum are languishing, seemingly unloved. The former did, of course, have its blaze of glory last month when I made it free for a couple of days and it leapt to number one in Amazon’s historical fiction list. It even earned a couple of 5 star reviews, too.
The Sparrow, despite 13 reviews (11×5 star, 2×4 star), is friendless, forlorn but, this weekend, will also be free. You can download it on Saturday 29th or Sunday 30th from the USA here and the UK here.
The delayed hiatus also gives me more time to finish an interesting wee project. As part of the year of Creative Scotland, Haddo House, a National Trust for Scotland property near Aberdeen, is holding a crime festival on October 19-21. I’ll be repeating the workshop I gave in France but I’m also devising the scenario for families which visit the property to solve a mystery. It has to be suitable for ages 6-16, which is actually a difficult spread, but I still think it’ll be fun. The presence of young kids meant I had to scrap the first idea (the Laird has a habit of seducing chambermaids, they get pregnant, are sacked and want revenge, so murder him most foully). But
it’ll still be interesting because I’ll set it in the mid 19th century, they’ll walk through 3 rooms, spotting (or not) clues, and then have to decide who knocked out the Laird and stole some money. They’ll then get a second chance because we’ll give them access to modern techniques – DNA, chemical analysis of soil and glass samples, fingerprints, etc., to show them how much easier it is to solve crimes nowadays.
It’s interesting for me because thinking up a story by starting with clues doesn’t feel natural. I prefer to get the characters interacting and let them decide who does the deed and how and why they do it. The clues are then by-products of their actions. But being forced out of your comfort zone is always a productive experience.
But forget all that, look into my eyes and repeat after me ‘Must download Sparrow. Must download Sparrow’..