Hooray! It’s finally time to lift the flap on The Love Letter. I was going to try to put together another video blog today, shot live from my launch pad – and may still squeeze it in if I manage to lay off the creme de menthe frappes and Mariella doesn’t make a mess of the cheese straws on the carpets as usual – but just in case time defeats me and I have to shelve my camera skills and Winnie’s latest cover designs until next week, I’m writing a quick and excitable standard issue blog to celebrate the new Walker book release.

Last time I updated my news page I was burning eccentrically bonkers writing hours, which remained the case until a few days ago when I delivered the latest manuscript – working title Hot Air to link in with its hot air balloons and steamy days – and finally got to sleep at night (although in truth I’ve been staying awake far too late playing with my new birthday treat Kindle because I’ve missed reading so much).

I’m tremendously pleased (and relieved) that I delivered the first draft in time to promote The Love Letter, although the wonder of going on ‘blog tour’ this time means that I can give interviews from the comfort of my own home, staying in my pre-deadline writer’s uniform of coffee-splodged lucky top and trews and barely moving from the computer. Watch out for the Walker Blog Tour Bus speeding through terrific book sites like http://www.onemorepage.co.uk/, http://dizzycslittlebookblog.blogspot.com/, www.novelicious.com, http://sbroadhurstreviews.blogspot.com/ and  http://shazsbookboudoir.blogspot.co.uk in the coming week or two with lots of writing advice and gossipy novelist lowdown.

I’ve been out and about in person as well as virtually this month; the glorious and shiny new Chipping Norton Literary Festival invited me to share a stage with Katie Fforde, Jill Mansell and Veronica Henry last weekend, talking about commercial women’s fiction under the chairmanship of Jane Wenham-Jones. It was huge fun to be a part of such a talented line-up and share so many tips and experiences with a lovely, giggly audience. The festival is destined to be an annual must-go, and its organisers got the Walker shimmy as I headed back to my car, something between The Vicar of Dibley after a snog and Shirley Bassey heading to the microphone. You can always tell a good festival from the bounce in the stride of its participants as they head away afterwards. As I positively calypsoed up a very steep Cotswold hill to the car park, I met the glorious Julie Cohen sailing the other way bearing bags of strawberries and chocolate (props for her talk on how to write sex scenes) and had to resist a great urge to do a few high kicks. I would have loved to stay for the workshop (particularly as the newly delivered book has several margin notes to editor saying ‘shall I add a sex scene here?’) but I had an unmissable date with my former neighbour – immortalised as Pixie in the Lodes series – which I would miss for nothing. The gossip we shared could now fuel at least two more Lodes sequels, but they will have to be shelved under ‘to write’ as I focus on pastures new, especially the spectacular North Devon coast which is the setting for The Love Letter.

And I am heading even further along the South West peninsular next month to appear alongside the lovely Ruth Saberton at the Du Maurier Festival in Fowey. Here’s the link to the event which will take place at 2pm on Thurs May 10th, when Ruth and I will talk rural romps, bonk-busting comedies, horses, heroes, impossible deadlines and anything else you wish to ask of us. We are a scurrilous and friendly pair, so it promises to be a very fun day.

As soon as the blog tour bus slows down, I’ll start editing Hot Air into shape for publication next spring and begin plotting out a new book to follow, so I will keep the website updates coming, and really hope that The Love Letter cheers and entertains everyone who reads it in the meantime.

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