I started the new book at the beginning of the month, but hadn't got very far with it when I had to take time off again due to a combination of family illness and real (i.e. paid) work. However I have managed to pick up the threads this morning and now have a much clearer idea of where I'm going with it; the characters, Alistair and Rex, are really beginning to make their presence felt. So are the other people who form their background - family members, the teachers at their school, Rex's landlord, and some of their neighbours. As usual there will be a tight focus on a small community, this time based in the sooty environs of the East End of London as it slowly recovers from the depradations of both the Luftwaffe and various misguided post-War planning decisions.
Whilst doing some preparatory research earlier on today I found myself investigating - among other things - Bengali surnames, the history of heart surgery, and the Morris Oxford J2 minibus. This is one of the more delightful aspects of writing, as far as I'm concerned, and I particularly enjoy the fact that most of what one needs to know can usually be discovered without even having to get up from the keyboard and reach for a book - although that doesn't mean that I'm not habitually surrounded by books, maps and even music for all occasions.
I have no idea how long this is likely to take, anyway, or how long a book it will be, but I'd prefer it not to be another epic-length saga like MAKE DO AND MEND or STAGE WHISPERS; if I can keep it down to under 60,000 words I'll be happy enough, but watch this space!