May 2013

Since my last news blog, I’ve worn another set of letters off my keyboard, which must mean the first draft of next year’s novel is almost done, hooray. My brilliant master-plan to deliver the manuscript by the second May Bank Holiday isn’t quite timing out, alas, and this website update is being written during a quick coffee break between tidying up my typos after another night shift spent wrapped up my fictional world.  I do wish I’d learned to touch type – it’s one of the more prosaic bits of advice I always give aspiring authors – because even after 13 novels and many hundreds of thousands of words, I still have head-scratching moments when I stare at my fingertips wondering where on earth B is. Right now, the ERT keys are indistinguishable from one another. Given that I put so much of my heart into my books, H and A should romantically be the next to go, so if my characters exclaim  ‘aha!’ in surprised tones a lot in the final chapters, or roll around laughing non-stop, you’ll know why.  However I’ll save more details about that book until I’ve delivered the draft, because – as Valerie Singleton would say nervously to camera while shaking sticky-backed plastic cut-offs from her bell bottoms – here’s one I prepared earlier:

The Summer Wedding will be out on 6th June – a gorgeous buffet of bubbly women, dashing heroes, high spirited-horses and hot air balloons.  I hope it’s a real summer treat that finally brings out the sun and lends readers a big smile. I really enjoyed writing the characters in it; they’re such a warm-hearted bunch and were a lot of fun to create, with strong friendships and great loyalty.  As well as finding out more about the book here, you can read a sample chapter…and even watch me postulating excitedly about it on video here.

I’ll be doing a few interviews, features and events to promote the book in coming weeks, and will try to keep readers updated via the twittering, wall-posting world of social media, links to which are here. Last week, I briefly abandoned the battered keyboard for a joyful afternoon at a fund-raising Ladies Lunch for Katharine House Hospice in Stafford, where I was lucky enough to have been invited to speak to a gloriously receptive audience of generous, jolly women. I also found a huge display of The Summer Wedding in the foyer courtesy of Stafford Waterstones, who had been given special dispensation to sell early copies at the event. It was the first time I’d seen my new book piled high, and it’s a moment that never fails to make one stop in one’s tracks and feel absolutely awe-struck that a clever creative team can take me from these all-night writing shifts in which I laugh, cackle and cry as I type frenziedly, through the many edits and design decisions to the finished, bound book ready to unfold its world in somebody else’s hands.  I wish I could report that I said something wise and profound (or even ‘aha!’ in best Alan Partridge fashion), but I’m afraid I just smiled like a loon and spluttered ‘I wrote that’, which must have come as a relief to the charity committee at least.

I hope The Summer Wedding brings a lot of joy and entertainment this summer.

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