Writers are always working a year ahead. I’m currently on 2015, but simultaneously proofing the US edition of ‘The Bleeding Heart’, which arrives much earlier here in the UK, on March 27th. The series feels as if it is really evolving now with the plots being driven by the characters, not the other way around.
Being a little OCD, I find I like to arrange the books in sets, so that the first big story arc of the series ran from volumes 1 – 6, and the next will climax in volume 12, ‘The Burning Man’. The UK and US editions of the latest volume are subtly different. (I’ll explain about this in a later post.) I do wonder whether e-reading and having two staggered editions affects my sales in the US. If I knew a book was out earlier in another country, would I get it first there? Can you even buy from Kindle UK? I don’t know.
The plotting of ‘The Bleeding Heart’ feels both more complex and simpler. I still don’t understand how I actually plot books. Technology has changed, which means that it’s easier to think on the screen – I was never one of those writers who puts postcards in a rack and shuffles them. I realise I was obsessed with dovetailing plots when I was very little, and filled thousand of pages with insanely complex adventures. When my mother attempted to take up short story writing, she introduced 23 characters in two pages, so I probably got it from her. ‘The Bleeding Heart’ feels like a further step in the direction of ‘The Invisible Code’, but as always it’s the readers who have the final say, as it should be.
The ideal mystery to me would be one that appears both obvious and inevitable from the conclusion. Although I did not enjoy the book, ‘Gone Girl’ operated in that way. It’s not an approach I can use with Bryant & May very easily because there needs to be a lot going on in the novels, and the characters breed an element of randomness. However, both ‘The Bleeding Heart’ and ‘The Burning Man’ have something new about them – I’ll leave you to figure out what that is.
I’ll be back in the UK signing and reading throughout March and April.