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Arrowood sequel – update

On Wednesday, I had a very useful chat about the draft of Arrowood 2 with my editor, Sally Williamson at HQ Harper Collins. Sally’s reaction to the book was very positive, and we talked at length about the plot, pacing, atmosphere and some issues concerning the backstory. Writing a sequel is a delicate job, since you have to introduce enough backstory for new readers, but not too much that you annoy those who already know Arrowood and the other main characters from book 1. Arrowood 2 is a little longer than book 1, and involves a very different type of crime and resolution. I was very conscious of not repeating myself, but also retaining enough of the features that were best in the first book. Anyway, we talked at length, and now I’ve got a list of revisions to work on over the summer with the aim of submitting the final version in September.

The background to our meeting on Wednesday was more important than my book. Sally and I met in a cafe in Borough Market on the day it re-opened after the horrific terrorist attacks on London Bridge the week before. It was also the morning of the terrible fire in Grenfell Tower. London is suffering at the moment. When I had a stall on Portobello Market, I lived with two friends in Walmer Road in North Kensington, and the window of our front room looked onto Grenfell Tower. I loved it there, and am appalled to hear the story that is emerging about the lack of sprinklers and inadequate communal fire alarms, and how complaints by the residents were ignored. I hope the truth will come out in the inquiry (and inquest if there is one), but one thing is sure: the government must make money available to make all similar tower blocks (most of which are social housing) safe from fire.