Of course, by the third book, everyone is properly in place.
You’ve got Harry, an established writer. You’ve got Emma wanting to run her father’s company. You’ve got Giles fighting to become a member of parliament.
So you’ve got all three of them on the real stage. And that, for me, was much more fun, because, of course, I’d been a member of parliament myself and been involved in business. And so I was able to use my own experiences a lot more.
And I think when people read books, if they say, wow, this guy’s clearly been a member of parliament, it makes it more interesting for them. The research is difficult because you’re coming into an age that I know, of course, so when you talk about parliament, or you talk about big business, or you talk about the history of this country, it’s got to be accurate. So you’ve got to get all that right, but that’s part of the fun.
Part of the fun is the research. And fun enough, the research often guides you in a direction in the story. You discover something happened in the 1970s that you didn’t know about, and you go off in that direction because you know the reader will remember when that happened.
My wife always says villains are much more interesting than the good, the goodies. And that Don Pedro and Sir Hugo are far more interesting than Harry, Emma and John.
And people latch onto them. And of course, we then go on to the wickedest of them all. Lady Virginia Fennick. Ugh, they don’t get much more evil than her.
And I must warn readers, she gets worse. I think most readers are fascinated by human beings, their reactions and what they do when certain circumstances arise, because at different levels, they’ve all been through that themselves and know how they reacted.
And so one tries to make that not too obvious, or to go in a direction they wouldn’t have thought of. But you are taking the whole team on now, through.
And the reader should be following each one of them, wondering what they will do next.
They’ve got their hopes and they’ve got their fears. And you’ve got to keep those hopes. But just as important, you’ve got to keep those fears.