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Announcing the Big Cheese

Can I get both a “woo” and a “hoo”?

‘A “woo”? AND a “hoo”?’ I hear you cry. ‘What’s the occasion? Have you won a lifetime supply of quality cheese?’

Not quite that exciting. But the next best thing. I finally finished a second novel, and it comes out on May 9th.

‘May 9th this very year?’

This very one.

‘Gosh. What, if you don’t mind me asking, took you so long?’

I don’t mind you asking at all. Here, make yourself comfortable - would you like some quality cheese? - I shall tell you.

I already had a draft of a novel called Endangered, intended as the sequel to Hunted (the afore alluded-to first novel) when Hunted was published way back in the dusty past of January 2021, but it needed some work to align it with events detailed in Hunted. I set me to my task and changed, edited, added, removed, and generally faffed about replacing the story that was there with a different story. Then, after a mere nine month delay, I whizzed it off to the publisher and sat back, feeling pleased with myself, and nibbling on a celebratory bit of Baron Bigod.

But inside me a strange feeling was growing, and it had nothing to do with the cheese. Something was wrong with the novel. Something fundamental. And I couldn’t put my finger on it. But I set about trying to fix it just the same.

I rewrote it again. I chopped out whole sections. I added in whole new sections. I took out an insightful section about train timetables. I put in an exciting section about pirates. I experimented with a comedy sidekick. I had the characters invade Florida. Nothing fixed whatever was wrong with it.

After another eight months of faffing, I gave up. There was something still wrong with it. So, I asked for help. And help I received. A fellow Hobeck author generously offered to read the 97th draft and to formulate a view as to what might be wrong with it. Which he very kindly, and very dramatically, did. (I won’t embarrass him by naming him. On a completely unrelated topic the DS Mel Cooper novels of Harry Fisher are simply splendid, and you should rush out and buy them all.)

“I know what’s wrong with it,” said my anonymous benefactor. “You’re trying to tell two stories at the same time.”

And whaddya know, he was spot on. That’s exactly what I’d done. I’d taken the original story and rather than replace it with the new one I’d added the new one to it and left the old one standing there like a rock on a runway. I didn’t hestitate –

‘Did you split the story into two and now there are two sequels?’

No, of course not, that would have been the smart thing to do. I wrote an entirely new story. A prequel this time. Set two years before Hunted.

‘Wouldn’t it have been easier to finish the two you had right in front of you?’

Shush. Let me tell you about my new novel.

‘Sounds like it would have been easier to me.’

Well, it might. But it was raining. Or something. Anyway, this new novel –

‘Much easier, really.’

Will you be quiet. Anyway, this new novel – hey, where are you going? Come back! I’ll split the story and ready the sequels forthwith, I promise. Come back!

Born the Same by Antony Dunford coming from Hobeck books 9th May 2023.

Antony will be talking about the novel on a panel at CrimeFest in Bristol, UK on 12th May 2023. Details to follow.

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