Newsletter 152

Am looking forward to a (relatively) quiet weekend, after the golf a fortnight ago, then the Bold Strokes Bookfest last weekend and another conference (Church schools) yesterday. I feel like putting on my pyjamas, locking the door and just watching sport on the telly.


Giveaways: Sherry was chosen by the random number generator to win the audio copy of Lessons in Love. The next giveaway is a copy of Aftermath (my very first published story and now out of print) to everyone on this list. I’ll send that out in the autumn. But that’s not all! It’ll have a bonus, brand new epilogue to tell you what happened to Edward and Hugo afterwards. Edward and Hugo, incidentally, were the first of many of my characters to take their surnames from rugby players, Sean Lamont and Simon Easterby. My lads, I believe, are more handsome.


Hot on the heels of Jury of One I’ve started playing around with a third Lindenshaw book, thanks to a chat over dinner with my eldest daughter that descended into a lot of humour at the expense of Time Team and other archaeological matters. This is the (totally unedited) start:

“And this is our safeguarding checklist. If you’ll just sign it to show you’ve read it and agree to abide by it…”
Adam nodded, read the sheet of paper and signed it at the bottom.
Adam Matthews, Deputy Headteacher.
He fancied writing the job title again as it had felt so good the first time. His first deputy headship, and a real chance to put a feather in his cap, given that Wendover Church of England Primary School officially “required improvement” and he’d been recruited to help the new headteacher light such a firework under the staff that by the next time the Ofsted inspectors popped their cheery heads round the door they’d rate the school as at least “good”.
Before any of that could happen he’d have to go through the standard induction procedure, almost all of it necessary, some of it boring and some elements—like safeguarding and the location of the men’s toilets—vital.
Soon it was all done and he had the chance to familiarise himself with the place, including sitting in with the year 6 class which he’d be taking two days a week and who were at present under the beady eye of Mrs. Daniel, the teacher who’d have them the other three days. The pupils seemed a cheery enough bunch, eager to show their new deputy just how good they were at maths. He sat down at one of the tables, where they were mulling over fractions, although it wasn’t long before they wanted to bombard him with questions, the subject of a new member of staff—and that rare thing in primary education, a man—being much more interesting than halves and quarters. In the end, Adam, Mrs. Daniel and the class came to the arrangement of making the last five minutes of the lesson a question and answer session, in return for which the children would work like billy-oh until then. The plan worked.
“Which team do you support, sir?” opened the official interrogation.
“Saracens, for rugby. Abbotston for football.”
“Are you married, sir?”
“No.” Until he had an idea of how mature his class were, he’d better keep quiet about the exact mature of his relationship. “I have got a Newfoundland dog, called Campbell.”
“Wow! Will you bring in a picture of him?”
“Of course. He can keep an eye on you all.” One day perhaps he’d be able to bring a picture of Robin in to show the class, but that was probably wishful thinking. Children had open minds but too often they filled with an imitation of their parents’ prejudices.

Bargain buys: Riptide are having flash sales throughout July for Pride month. Sorry if you missed Lessons for Sleeping Dogs on Amazon and Kobo cheap as chips, but keep an eye on my blog for another bargain coming up!

And finally…
Here’s me arsing about as usual at the BSB event. It was a quiz. I got the hang of it eventually.


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