(Football, cricket, tennis, and family are occupying my thoughts over the next week – although not necessarily in that order!)
I haven’t forgotten that before I complete ‘Into The Sunlight’, the sixteenth title in the series, I need to decide what comes next. Gus Freeman was a six-book series when I started writing about him in August 2019 and moved to ten the following February because I found it so much fun. The Freeman series took off in April 2020, and it seemed fitting to extend it to sixteen. Now, I’m in a quandary – do I research four or even eight more unsolved murders and keep going, or not? I searched Amazon for guidance.
Peter James’s ‘Roy Grace series’ – 17 titles
Faith Martin’s ‘Hilary Green series’ – 18 titles
Ian Rankin’s ‘John Rebus series’ – 23 titles
At first glance, sixteen appears a sensible number. Twenty-four seems cheeky. After all, Ian Rankin has sold twenty million books over the past thirty years. I’ve managed to get one hundred and eighty thousand copies of The Freeman Files to readers in eighteen months.
I’ll tell you a true story. Someone in my family took several James Patterson paperbacks on a holiday a few years back. They were sure they had reached Chapter Eight before going to sleep, grabbed a book from the pile the following day, and read on from Chapter Nine while spending several hours sunbathing.
Yes, the penny finally dropped when they retired for the night and saw a book on the bedside table. But at no time did they feel it necessary by the pool to flick back to Chapter One to Eight because the story didn’t flow.
With Patterson and his multitude of co-authors, the formulaic approach works. I realise there are patterns in the way I tell Gus Freeman’s stories, but I’d hate it to become an issue. I’ve got time to mull over which way to go.
What do you think?
I’ll be back with an update in the second week of August.
Take care. Keep reading.