Welcome to my brand new website! It’s like walking back into a shop that’s been made over by Mary Portas; I don’t know where to find anything anymore, it’s so glossy and slick. Being me, I want to scuff it up a bit and create a comforting mess, but that’s what this Blog is for. I hope to keep this page updated regularly, which my clever webmaster assures me that even a Luddite like me can do.
While my site has been offline for its reinvention, I’ve been busy editing. My next novel is now almost ready to go into proofreading stage. It has a new title, The Love Letter, which I think is gorgeous and sums up so many themes in a book about reading between the lines in life and romance. It also reminds me of all the times I’ve poured my heart out on paper at moments of high romance and drama in my life, yet never posted the results (probably because it would have to be sent freight due to the fact I write so much, along with illustrations and even chocolates Sellotaped to the page as I recall). How differently might life have worked out had my loving outpourings actually been delivered to the object of my affection after all? And in the case of my heroine, Allegra, some things are definitely best not taken as read.
The Love Letter is also going to get a new jacket look, which I’m eagerly waiting to see. I always find it a very strange process as a writer, taking so long to create a fictional world that comes to life in one’s imagination, and then handing over the responsibility for naming and illustrating it. The jacket has such influence over whether people buy the book. I was immensely lucky with my first few novels that I had a ‘look’ which was very unique. More recent jackets have toyed with new images, from the cartoony to the glitzy, and I hope the publishers will be able to find a look that stands out for me again. As a wise agent once told me, ‘you are responsible for what’s on the inside, not the outside – the jacket is just one page of five hundred’. I am consequently running backwards and forwards through the plot making sure everything’s as tight as can be, all loose threads tucked in, the characters fully formed, the jokes punchy and the twists fast and furious.
A big thank you to all visitors to my website who take the time to write to me and let me know what you think of my books. Apologies if I’m slow replying; I have no email program on my ‘writing’ computer (one if many cunning tactics I have had to employ to try to stop myself seeking distractions), so I have to set time aside for replying to lots of emails at once, and that time often gets used up by a crisis, although I always get there eventually. Kiss and Tell has received some fabulous feedback on here and via Amazon and other sites, which is immensely cheering in such a difficult market. It’s also absolutely romped along as an eBook, which is great to know. Please do post something up about it if you can, especially in the equestrian world where I long spread the word that ‘grown up pony books’ do exist!
Life is Worcestershire remains lovely, with the children growing apace – Dora starts school next week, Winnie’s following fast behind and both are bursting through shoe and clothes sizes faster than the Incredible Hulk in a grump. Sam is teaching dressage morning noon and night in the ‘back garden’. The horses are a great joy to us all, and I’m plotting how to get lots into my next book, which I’ll start next month. I particularly long to write in some Spanish horses inspired by our Iberians here; they have such fabulous characters – all that Mediterranean heat and passion, and so much heart. As for heroes, I have an idea for an adventurer this time, all dusty walking boots, backpack and leather bushman’s hat with testosterone and charm in abundance. In fact, dreaming of him is keeping me going as I finish crossing ts and dotting is with the final The Love Letter edit, so whilst it will be hard to let go of the two gorgeous men inside those written pages, I know there’s compensation waiting. I’ll miss my heroine, Allegra, most of all. She’s such fun and she feels like a firm friend now, but of course I’m really looking forward to readers getting to know her.