Simon Says » communiqué 008/June 2017

Simon Says: communiqué 008/June 2017

Hello everyone

In just over a week we reach midsummer.

For us in the northern hemisphere, 21 June is the summer solstice—the longest day. As we then move through the following months the daylight gets shorter by around two hours each month.

The change happens gradually. Dawn comes a minute or two later each day and dusk arrives a minute of two earlier each day. In total, each day is about three-and-a-half minutes shorter, in other words, from day to day, the change is not really enough to notice. But over a week the change is significant and over a month, the change is dramatic.

And as the nights draw in, if you’re looking for more drama, why not sit down with a good book?

The Camera

The Camera, the third Leathan Wilkey novel was published in May. Have you read it yet?

And if you haven’t read it, you should! This is what other people have said about The Camera:

The way that Leathan was forced to play off the various other characters against each other was masterful.

Lots of twists and an unpredicted ending.

Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Head over to Amazon and buy The Camera today.


Until Friday, Clementina is available for a very special (low) price.

If you haven’t read the book, this is your chance to get the first book in the Leathan Wilkey series for a great price and to find out why others readers love the book. This is what they’ve said:

Absolutely loved this book. The plot was intriguing and the writing was witty and intense.

I was hooked from the beginning. I couldn’t wait to finish reading Clementina!

Excellent book. Fascinating plot with great characters.

Head to my website and follow the link to wherever you buy books to get your copy of Clementina before the price goes up.

Leather Floors

Did you know that leather floors are a thing? Instead of carpets, tiles, or wood to cover the floor, you can have leather.

Yeah, I didn’t know either.

But when I was doing my research for Clementina I looked at listings for high end rentals in Paris. Clementina’s father is a financier—a financial deal maker. He is working on a deal in Paris and to give himself some privacy and to provide a place where his daughter can easily visit him while he is in Paris, he hires a luxury penthouse.

Looking through the listings it didn’t take long to find a property that was a near perfect example of the kind of place Clementina’s father would rent—it was fitted with all the modern luxuries.

As I read through the description, I saw a mention of leather floors and was intrigued. It sounded like sort of thing rappers would have.

It also sounded totally impractical.

It took a bit more research to find that leather floors really are a thing.

But they’re not a simple thing. Clearly, there’s the cost—leather is not cheap. But then there’s the fitting. Unlike conventional floor coverings, leather needs to be laid on a perfectly flat surface. The leather is very thin and there is no scope for any imperfection, so for instance, you cannot simply lay leather on top of old-fashioned floorboards—you need to lay a perfectly flat surface and install the leather on top of that.

If you want to know what it’s like to rent out an penthouse with leather floors, you should read Clementina. And make sure you get it quickly while the price is low.

The Leathan Series: Order of Reading/Writing

I often get asked: In what order should I read the Leathan Wilkey series?

And my response is always the same: Read the books in whatever order you want…they weren’t written in order.

People seem quite happy with the notion that the books can be read in any order—each book largely stands on its own. But they seem surprised by the haphazard order of writing.

Let me explain how I got to where we are.

Diplomatic Baggage

I had an idea about a father of a murder victim setting up another man to take the blame for the crime.

From this nugget the entire story flowed (although it did change along the way). Fully realized—with Leathan fully fleshed out as a the man who thinks he’s being set up—Diplomatic Baggage became the first Leathan book that I wrote.

The Camera

I followed Diplomatic Baggage by writing what at the time was intended to be the second book in the series, The Camera.

Having written the first two books, before I launched the series I wanted to have a novella that I could give away to introduce people to Leathan.


I had an idea for a novella which was something of a prequel to Diplomatic Baggage. It involved Leathan babysitting a rich 17-year-old.

I got about 20,000 words into the story and found I had a problem. The story I was trying to tell was not the sort of tale that could be told in a novella length book. Added to which, as the story continued Clementina was growing as a character, moving from being a snotty-nosed little bitch (which is where she starts) to being a much more nuanced and rounded individual.

So I had the choice: either I could keep the novella short or I could make it into a full-length book. Making it short would end the story abruptly and prematurely, so I decided to write the full-length book, and hence Clementina the novel was born.

So as you will now have figured I wrote the first book third.

Bag Man

I still wanted to write a novella which could introduce the series.

Clementina explains, to a certain extent, how Leathan arrived in Paris. I wanted a bit of connective tissue to get Leathan from Clementina to Diplomatic Baggage. The novella (which became Bag Man) was that connective tissue.

The Final Order

And that is how I got the four books. As you can see, in story chronology:

So when I say you can read the series in any order, I hope you can see my point.

That said, Whisper a Prayer the fourth full-length/fifth Leathan book will be written fifth, but you’re probably going to have to wait until next year for publication.

Do You Wear Anything?

The other day I was asked the question: Do you wear anything when you’re writing?

Clearly, there is an ambiguous angle to the question, so let me deal with that first. Yes, I wear clothes when I’m writing. But the question was less about whether I wear clothes, or otherwise, and more about whether I wear anything in particular.

And the short answer is that I don’t need anything—whether clothes, tools, décor, location, or otherwise—in order to write. I don’t need my lucky socks in order to summon the muse.

When it comes to dressing my main priorities are comfort and speed (and I should acknowledge that I’m basically a scruff). The comfort aspect should be obvious, but as far as speed goes, when I get up, I dress, make a cup of tea, and start working. I don’t want to spend time or expend brain power with decisions about clothes.

Integral to the notion of comfort is warmth. When I’m working I will spend hours sitting still—the only movement will be my fingers tapping on the keyboard. This near hibernation-like behaviour with practically zero exercise does tend to reduce the flow of blood and mean that even on a warm day I can be cold, hence I dress warmer than a normal person might in any given climactic conditions.

The other factor that affects how I dress is my cat. He’s not a respectful individual and the notion of please don’t claw this and try not to leave your fur over that, doesn’t really feature in his considerations. Added to which, he’s not one to bother with trivialities like wiping his paws or drying himself when he comes in, so what I wear has to be easy to put in the washing machine.

And once dressed, I begin work. 

Until July

That’s it for this month.

Make sure you grab Clementina while the price is low and if you haven’t done so already, be sure to also get The Camera, then sit back and enjoy your reading.

I’ll be back in July. If there’s anything you want me to talk about, drop me a line.

All the best