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So, it’s been a long time between posts again, and even more time between publications, for which I apologise both to myself and to my readers. I let life get in the way and I let us all down.

But now I’m finally back in the groove again and have started the long-awaited and long-delayed sequel to my lighter crime caper THE QUEEN OF HEARTS, which was the first of a planned trilogy about ex-cop-turned-taxi-driver-and-single-father Joel September.

Like Joel, I also live in Welwyn Garden City, so even though I haven’t had time to tell his continuing story, I see him around and about almost every day. I think about him, and I worry for him and his small family when I envisage the troubles that await them a little further down the line… but I’m also looking forward immensely to placing them all in as much peril as I can manage to conjure. Which, if things go well, should be quite a bit.

It’s been a strange experience, beginning this sequel, as I’ve never written a follow-up to a full-length novel before. It’s like picking up the strings of a dozen different relationships at once, finding that some people are right where you left them, while others have gone on with their lives in your absence. Plus there are new people to deal with. New friends. New lovers. New enemies. It could have been an overwhelming experience, but my familiarity with and my affection for the old faces (as well as my excitement for seeing the new ones more clearly) has made beginning THE GIRL IN THE PICTURE a wholly positive adventure.

THE QUEEN OF HEARTS is probably my top selling and most reviewed title, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the first sequel is received when it’s eventually published (the current plan is later this year, but as I know all too well, plans change, and sometimes not for the better). The plan then is not to get side-tracked by all the other projects clamouring for my attention (stand up and take a bow, Jim Mullaney, you creepy, insistent guy) and forge on with the third and final part of the trilogy, to be called THE END OF THE LINE, which will complete the story arc that started on the very first page of THE QUEEN OF HEARTS so many years ago.

That’s the other funny thing about beginning to live these stories again — getting used to the different perceptions of time/timeframes. Since I jotted the first few stories ideas for THE QUEEN OF HEARTS (which at first had the working title of EAT CACA AND DIE) many years have passed in the real world, and my personal world has been turned upside down more than once. But in Joel September’s fictional world, the three novels that will eventually tell his story only open about a six-week window on to his life.

And after that window closes, I can’t help thinking that a door might open somewhere else. I hope it does.


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