It is a holiday Monday, and I am half-way through the second draft of the poisons book. The project I hoped to get accepted failed at the last hurdle, so I will put it back in the bottom drawer, and come back to it some time. I now have a firm plan for the book after poisons (mid-2005 release) and the makings of an outline, and I have a clear notion of an excellent title for the book after that (mid-2006), and each of them will involve some travel. More of those later, but the 2006 book was conceived as the result of a question about public footpaths by a librarian. Publicity time for Rockets is drawing close, with release in a month, so I should see an advance copy any day now.
I have completed the index for Rockets, and I am back worrying at the first draft of poisons — I want to get Emma Cotter, my editor, to have a dabble in it by about May 19, and after that, I will add some more text — the last chapter is incomplete but I may take it apart and move the stuff elsewhere. Then I can get back to the bottom-drawer project. Tonight, I have to dig out a mugshot of me for Rockets, do the blurb draft and some nonsense about me to go inside the book. The question now is whether I will mention my Black Belt in bog-snorkelling. Decisions, decisions. . .
February 25, 2003
I have now completed most of the research in the next book, though I will be digging for more all the way to July. The general subject: poisons. The contract is signed and I have the advance. About 1500 words are written: the introduction and the conclusion, and most peculiarly, I have a final title — the rockets book has only just been given a final name, which is under wraps for now (but see Feb. 25).