Killing People Isn’t Easy

Today, apart from changing the sheets and taking out the garbage, I have a job that gives me some satisfaction: playing God. Which, of Dr Dan’s previous cast of thousands, will survive to Book 5? Some people like designing gardens or rearranging furniture. My thing is playing the Grim Reaper, but with a red pen instead of a scythe. 

In any series there must be arrivals and departures, and not always expected ones. I have already received pleas for mercy on behalf of Trevor Buxton, Lilian Blacksmith and Emlyn Gadd. I make no comment, I make no promises. Just don’t run away with the idea that I find killing people easy. I live with these characters for the year it takes me to write their stories and when they go, as go some of them must, I feel the loss.

A few readers have questioned my decision to retire next year. They think I’m bluffing and they may be right. Since returning to work I feel less tired, not more so. Of course, there’s work and there’s work. Journalism, which by definition must be produced yesterday if not sooner, sends me into an adrenalin-fuelled tizz. My heart races, my fingers fly over the keyboard and after the piece is done and delivered I can’t sleep. A novel-writing marathon is quite different, an investment of time and energy that often feels like a wrong turn. Still, it beats any other job I ever had, and as it’s too late for me to become a firefighter or a neuro-surgeon or any other heroic asset to society, on I go. The red pen is poised.


  1. Jacki Kilbourne on February 16, 2022 at 6:42 pm

    Just finished reading The Future Homemakers of America. Enjoyed it immensely and was sorry when it came to the last page. It was all so convincing, until I read the biog notes on Google I assumed you were American. I know I’ll want to re read it in the future. What a fun narrator Peggy is and I do hope you’ll resurrect her one day. I love to think of her ending her days as a friend & neighbour of Grice & Tucker. If I had your talent that’s the novel I’d like to write. Kath would definitely feature quite a lot in it.
    Best wishes
    Jacki Kilbourne

  2. Andrew Hickmott on February 19, 2022 at 9:50 am

    There is a sequel you’ll be pleased to know just waiting for you to read!! Titled The Early Birds.

  3. A J on May 10, 2022 at 5:56 am

    The Future Homemakers was how I discovered Laurie…there was a copy in the tiny ‘library’ at the self-catering cottages where we were staying on holiday (in Barbados, boast boast!) many years ago. It was not the sort of book that I would normally read, but this was before Kindles, I had run out of books, it looked interesting and anyway, holiday is a time for new experiences. So glad I did, I have steadily worked my way through most of her books now!

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