I've been guilty of neglecting the blog for a couple of reasons. The first is that sometimes you have things to say but you're not sure how to say them, which may sound strange for a writer, but in my case is undoubtedly true. Better in this case to say nothing than the wrong thing.
The second is less complicated. I have been hellish busy.
The first draft of Defender of Rome went off to Simon at Transworld a couple of weeks ago, accompanied by the usual angst and soul-searching which is only made worse by the fact that Hero of Rome has been doing so well. You're always conscious that the next book has to be better than those that have gone before and Defender took me out of my comfort zone into murky, sometimes dangerous territory.
At the moment, I'm working on the final chapters of my new thriller The Doomsday Testament, which will also be out in the middle of next year. The plan is to finish Doomsday before the suggestions for the Defender rewrite come back.
In the meantime I was preparing for last night's Booker prize event at Stirling library, which was great fun, but meant reading six quite difficult books in about a fortnight. (Is it the Booker judges who are out of touch with real people or is it me?). I've also been trying to get ready for my big weekend in Manchester. Four events over two days. A debate on the place and popularity of historical fiction, at which I'm the only male in a scarily talented panel that includes Alison Weir, Maria McCann and Robyn Young, a readers' workshop on research techniques, chairing a debate on where historical fiction goes next (any ideas welcome) and another panel with Harry Sidebottom, Robert Low and Ben Kane on violence in books (hopefully it won't come to blows, Bob Low is a scary bloke, especially with a broadsword in his hands).
I'm out of puff just thinking about it.
Oh, and when I was at the library last night they asked me to chair the Stirling launch of Robyn's new book Insurrection (first in a trilogy about Robert the Bruce) on Tuesday at the Tollbooth Theatre.
Truly, there is no rest for the wicked.