With The Hunted Angel now on sale, and my sixteen other books given a dusting over, and reissued, I have made a start on my eighteenth book. Don’t hold your breath. It’s only six pages long at the moment, and months of toil lie ahead before it emerges as a completed novel, but you have to start somewhere, right?

I had two stories in mind. The first was an eighth Avalind book, entitled The Baroness. As was the case with the seventh book in the series, Larussi, Queen Avalind of the Kingdom is a somewhat peripheral character here because the book completes Strella’s story arc, just as its predecessor’s did Larussi’s.

My current seventeen books fall into three groups. The seven Avalind books are, strictly speaking, Fantasy (even though the last of them, Larussi, has no Fantasy elements in it at all).

The seven Rutter books are modern(ish) thrillers. They are set over twenty years ago when the Internet was still a relatively new thing. I predate the World Wide Web by decades. I was nearly fifty years old before I called up my first-ever web page, and it took me weeks to work out how to use email properly. Today, I have high-speed fibre-optic broadband and my own website. I am on the Net every day, which underlines how much I have learned in that time. I am, however, entirely self-taught, which means that I know exactly what I need to know – and no more.

That is what prompted me to set these books at the end of the Twentieth Century and the beginning of the Twenty-first. Julie Rutter, like her creator, is no computer geek. Like me, she dates from an age before widespread cyber-communications. Anna Torrance, however, is. Because the stories are seen from Rutter’s perspective, though, it means that Anna’s apparent wizardry can be displayed as exactly that, instead of going into all the technical details, which I would probably get wrong anyway. Rutter knows that it isn’t magical really, but she has faith in her detective partner’s knowledge and ability. My two most recent works were both Rutter books.

The third group, conveniently titled, Other Works, is a disparate trio of completely unrelated books. The Planning Officers is a satirical comedy, set in the world of local government; Stella and Rose is an anthology of short stories (one of which is an eighth Rutter story). Finally, The Author’s Manual is my only non-fiction work. It deals with creating, editing, publishing and selling your own book.

Seven Fantasy books, seven thrillers, but only three of anything else? That is what made my mind up. What I need to write now should be something new. New for me, that is. I need to write anOther Work. Strella can wait her turn. She won’t mind. She needs time to settle down with her new husband, Simian, after all.

Consequently, meet Bruno, my first male protagonist since Callin Vorst, all the way back in Usurper (published 2011). I will save the details for a subsequent post because this one is long enough already. Suffice it to say that Bruno is not British, although much of the story will be set in the UK, and that he would be 104 years old, if he were still alive today. His tale, however, occurs when he was in his early twenties. More about him next time.

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