Am I the only person who has trouble getting their plots to stand still long enough to be written? Do some titles – titles that you love – get set aside time and again because something more pressing gets in the way?
As the final edits of my next Bunch Courtney book is snatched from my reluctant hands by stern-faced editors and the layout process is set into motion I was forced to look at the title of next book in order to list it in the prelims.
I say forced because it’s something I fully admit to avoiding to some extent. I have not been happy with the match between title and plot for a while. No, it isn’t writers’ block, or at least not in the accepted sense. I had a title that I loved and I had a synopsis of a subject that interested me – but the two simply would not play nicely together.
Oddly the title Bruised Lilacs had already been moved along the series.
This was to have been the title for the follow up to Winter Downs. It takes place in May, when Lilacs are in bloom, and does involve the bruising of reputations but the title and original story found themselves relegated to the third slot.
The new title In Her Defence came about as the plot wriggled free of my grasp and it was all the fault of Cecile Benoir. The moment she walked back into Bunch’s life everything changed. Yes, Cecile Benoir really was being secretive, and her actions were not entirely innocent. So whose defence was I coming to? To Bunch’s for suspecting an old friend or Cecile’s for being other than she appeared?
In Her Defence seemed to sum it all up and so Bruised Lilacs became the working title for book three. But… though the subject matter fitted the time scale as we moved into the start of the Blitz my twisted mind simply wasn’t ready to tell that story.
Instead of an unknown victim found in a midden I had young woman known to Bunch and Dodo (albeit slightly) with the identity card of someone else entirely in her pockets. In a time when so many women found themselves miles from home doing jobs they would not have dreamed of a mere eighteen months before, it seemed less about identity than displacement and belonging. And voila, The Things You Were was spawned.
Okay I still have to write this new book but its beginning to gel… and Bruised Lilacs, with its inspection of the daily trek made by city dwellers out to the safety of the countryside every evening – and back again every morning- will have to wait for another time.
In Her Defence is scheduled for Spring 2019