Because I have a full-time job as a professor, most of my work on The Adventures of Henry Innes occurs during the summer and winter holidays, alongside my academic research and writing. I also work on the novels during the school year, but for obvious reasons, the time I can devote to them when I am teaching is limited. There are lessons to be planned, and stacks of grading to be done. There is nothing like having an extended block of time in which you can write intensively. Since I spent much of last summer engaged in research, I am looking forward to this summer. The first three novels of the Henry Innes series - forming the King & Company trilogy - are now completed. Steps have been taken to interest agents in representing the books. But in the meantime, what am I doing?
Well, Henry's story is just beginning. This summer, I am writing the two novels that comprise The Voyage of Trade's Increase. The first of these novels, tentatively titled Over the Line, is almost completed. I have three more chapters to write, and I anticipate finishing by mid-June. That leaves the rest of the summer to write the second novel, which has the working title The Eye of the Storm, at least for now. Both novels are the product of extensive research, drawing a great deal upon the work I was able to do at the British Library last summer.
My goal is to have five Henry Innes novels finished by the end of the summer. This may seem odd, given that the series does not yet have a publisher, but there is a method to this madness. Remember when the whole world sat around, waiting impatiently for J. K. Rowling to crank out the next Harry Potter book? I don't want to put my readers (or my agent, once I have one) through that. In academic life, we try to put several works "in the pipeline," because publishing takes time. Since I have to fit my fiction writing around my academic work, it was always my intention to have at least three book manuscripts finished before taking the series to publication. This way, as one manuscript goes through the process of becoming a book, one or two more will be waiting in the wings, and another will be in progress. And if I need to take time to work on academic projects, I can do that without interrupting the flow of the series.
So, here's to a productive summer, with two new manuscripts - fully edited - to show for it before I have to plan classes for the fall term.