I've spent the last couple of days since my son came home enjoying the fact that he's here and wondering how he managed without his own personal servant in hospital. I've also been working on the rewrite of the follow up to Caligula. Simon, my editor at Transworld, e-mailed his thoughts at the weekend and as usual he got it spot on. He's asked me to cut out one major character to change the focus of the narrative and turn the spotlight on my hero, as well as a number of smaller changes that will improve the book a lot. It means a fair bit of unravelling, but I can already see the impact it's having. The great thing is that having done it once before I know just how worthwhile the effort is.
Caligula seems to be doing well, but with only Amazon to go by it's quite difficult to tell just how well. At one point last night I was 861 in books and 23 in historical fiction, which when you consider Caligula is a hardback up against a lot of mass market paperbacks seems pretty good. I'm in there with Bernard Cornwell, George MacDonald Fraser, Simon Scarrow and Wilbur Smith, which can't be bad. Our local Waterstone's has sold out and so has the bookshop in Jedburgh. The feedback I'm getting from people who've read it has been universally positive. I've also had two reviews on Amazon and they've both been five star which I think will help sales.
On August 16 I'm doing my first internet webchat on Youwriteon, which I'm looking forward to a lot. I've had good publicity from my local papers and I've offered a couple of signed Caligula's as prizes which they seem to appreciate. I also had a phone call from a guy who helps organise the Jethart Callant's Festival in Jedburgh (Jethart is the old name for Jedburgh and the festival pays homage to the Border reivers who kept the town safe in times of trial) who's asked me to speak at a dinner next year when the Callant is chosen in May. For a local boy like me it's the ultimate accolade.
I wasn't sure what was happening to my foreign publishers, but yesterday I discovered that the Polish version of Caligula is on the shelves. They've (wisely I think) stayed with the front cover image Bantam have used, but it looks great and seems to be pretty widely available. You can see it if you do a search for Kaligula Jackson Amber, or something along these lines.
Back to work tomorrow, and writing again on the train, in a funny way I'm looking forward to it!