In The Plotting Shed

In The Plotting Shed
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Saturday, 23 May 2020

In praise of readers

I had an interesting communication with a keen reader this week. She rumbled me!
Now that I have finished the first draft of Ivy, and have therefore worked out exactly how the whole series will conclude, I thought I had better share my reply to her query in case there are other equally diligent and observant readers out there who are also puzzled by the way Cheadle Manor has been bequeathed in Woodbine. This eagle-eyed reader remembered the exact detail of what happened after Sir Robert Smythe died and left his estate, not to his wife, but to his daughter, thus enraging Lady Amelia Smythe in Speedwell (which of course is easily done).
This was my reply:

"Congratulations on your well-observed spotting of the change in the legal arrangements of Lady Amelia's will. When I wrote Speedwell, I intended it to be the final book in the Katherine Wheel Trilogy, as it then was. However, because of the somewhat sad, almost ambiguous ending, other readers encouraged me to write more. Many asked what would happen to the children, and I found that, over time, I became curious too. The final ending of the Katherine Wheel series occurred to me before the rest of the story became clear. 
I realised then that I had to change the legal arrangements I had described in Speedwell. By delving into legal inheritance and tax issues, I also found out that baronet's wives are called by their surnames and thus Lady Amelia had to be renamed Lady Smythe, unless called by her first name within the intimate family circle. This meant I had to go back, rewrite and edit all of the three books in circulation. I have just completed the first draft of Ivy, which will be the sixth and final book in the Katherine Wheel series, with the ending mentioned above. It entailed making that legal twist in order to be arrived at, but I think it will be worth it. 
You are very clever, and must have a terrific memory, to have noticed this! I hope you enjoy Woodbine, which I warn you, ends on a cliffhanger. 
Ivy is with my editor now and I hope to publish it soon and then I would love to hear from you about that conclusion and find out if you think the legal changes I sneaked in retrospectively to Speedwell were worth it. 
Thanks for your interest in my work. It's a good feeling to know someone has really followed the stories so closely."

I relate this anecdote because it shows the beauty (and perhaps the pitfalls) of self-publishing! The joy of doing it yourself means you can go back and change things. After all, this is fiction and it's fun to play around with stories - otherwise, why do it?

I shall be talking about my books on a radio station called www.chatandspinradio.com 
live this Monday night at 8.55 pm. Do tune in and listen or catch up on their facebook page at www.facebook.com/chatandspin at your leisure.


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