Last night I finished the final tweaks on CONSORTS OF HEAVEN, which is the next book in the ‘Hidden Empire’ series, though not exactly a sequel to PRINCIPLES OF ANGELS. My agent will be submitting it to my publisher today at which point it enters the arcane and iterative process of editing and proofing ready to hit the bookshelves next spring.

When I used the phrase ‘book birthday’ last week, one friend asked, a little facetiously, if it was a painful delivery. Well, for PoA it was mainly a long one, given I learnt the craft by writing that book. Repeatedly. With CoH, I had a year to conceive, gestate and deliver. It was daunting and bloody hard work, and being the first fiction I’ve written to a deadline, it was also the first fiction I’ve ever written which I haven’t left untouched for several months and come back to, the better to see its flaws from a distance.

Of course, right now, in my biased eyes, CoH has no flaws. I’m one of those writers who thinks that the last thing she wrote is the best thing she’s ever written – for about two to three days. Then I take a mental step back and manage an objective assessment. Usually that’s my cue to either (a) rework the bits I’ve realised don’t work or (b) ignore the project for six months until I can see the bits don’t work. Now – gulp – it’s on my editor’s desk. Although I can make small changes in conjunction with her, the book is, to all intents and purposes, finished – and without the distance of having left it fallow for a while. Expect angsty wibblings as the doubt sets in ….

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