This is one of the most confusing times of my working year. It’s just three weeks till my new novel is published, so part of each day is devoted to getting the word out. Tweeting, Pinning, Posting. Plus the really important stuff, like deciding what shoes to wear to the launch party. Then there’s my Work in Progress, which I’ll be finishing, God willing and the creek don’t rise, by the end of October.

As well as doing daily battle with my current characters I need to have a firm grip on my about-to-be-published characters and that’s not as easy as it may sound. It’s seven months since I put A Humble Companion to bed and whilst I remember the general gist of it I’m afraid some of the finer detail escapes me. I’m living with a new bunch of characters now and they have first claim on my attention. I suppose it’s little wonder that I sometimes get Nellie confused with Nan.

There is another complication. It’s round about now, when the last book is out of my hands and the current book is ticking over nicely, that I dare to start thinking, ‘What would I like to write next?’ Ideas pop up. Some get swiftly and deservedly squished. Some persist, like a niggling tooth you know you’re going to have to deal with sooner or later.

‘Take a look at me,’ they whisper. ‘Investigate a little. You know you want to. Just a bit of casual research. No commitment.’

And I always do. Because I know there’s the chance I’ll get a tell-tale flutter, the tiny fizz of excitement somewhere in my gut, that means I’m on to a story that has legs. 

So that’s where I am right now. Trying to drive a three-horse carriage and still remember to buy milk and pick up the dry cleaning. The writing life.

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