Just finished going through the proofs of Shieldwall, and it's a terrifying experience as the writer to see your novel as a book, which looks so different from the word doc you've been working on, in my case for four years.
It's a hell of a period to try and make sense of, even without the pressure of turning the tale into fiction - but I'm delighted at the end of the book, how well the story keeps going, and how much is brought across of those tumultuous few years: ignored for many reasons, no doubt partly because 1016 must be one of the most astonishing years in English history.
It's also great because the book leads nicely into the reign of Knut, and so now I can start thinking about exactly where to start the next book, and which parts of the story to bring into the narrative. I want to get Macbeth in there, though he might have to wait until the second half of Conquest, but I've had the line 'It was Macbeth's fault of course, so the men of the North remembered long years after' in my mind for at least a year now.
What was Macbeth's fault, you might ask... Harold's defeat at the Battle of Hastings of course!
So, when you might be asking is Shieldwall out? Hold the date: May 26th, 2011.