As some of you will already know (because I jumped the gun and already announced it back in August, as in “June, July, August, April”), I have made an addition to the Fourth Floor cast! Everyone, meet Shivani!

I’m just going to repeat the sentiments from my previous announcement and say that Shivani is not an after-thought, she was always going to be a member of the Fourth Floor cast and she was designed at the same time as all the others. However, unlike all the others, her design lacked something (as did the design for the mean-spirited landlord that will never see the light of day). She didn’t come to life as soon as I had drawn her, she looked bland and uninteresting. I really didn’t want to throw in a character who had no personality because something would have filled that void and I had these nightmare visions of Shivani becoming this stereotypical ‘token Asian’ which was not what I wanted her to be at all. So I introduced the other five (which took long enough) and then, after the fire of the first storyline had tested their mettle, introduced Shivani — a Shivani with a great personality and a look to match.

Besides, as I sit back in my high-backed armchair wearing my smoking jacket and slippers I think I quite like the idea of throwing in new characters as I go along. That’s the beauty of calling the strip ‘Life on the Fourth Floor’ instead of ‘Blonde Girl and Friends’. New people can move into the floor at any time. In fact, I feel confident enough to tell you that there will be (in the years to come) at least three more additions to the cast. One of them will not be human. One of them will have black hair. The third will be called Jill. That is all. To find out more, you’ll have to wait until 2010.

In the meantime, be sure to check out Marry Me. As I survey the stars from my shining ivory tower I predict great things for this graphic novel. Jump on board now so you can say you were there at the very start.