Off to London today, for the annual Mills and Boon authors’ lunch. Can’t wait. Partly because I’ll be seeing friend of whom I’m very fond but don’t see that often, and partly because I’ve seen the menu and lovely, wonderful Michelle has been an utter star and included my favourite pudding. (OK. Kate Greedy.)
Am also planning a v quick trip to Westminster beforehand, as I need a pic of the Boudicca statue for the Essex ruins book (goes with Colchester, and it doesn’t matter that the statue is at Westminster. Might do King’s Cross Platform Ten as well.)
And then it’s eat too much, laugh too much, talk too much. (Drink? Maybe. I’m a lightweight, nowadays, and a hangover is a seriously bad idea if you’re travelling, so I’ll be pacing myself and drinking lots of water as well.) I’m staying over with my best friend, so this also involves dinner out at Strada. (Yeah. And we all know I read menus backwards, and we all know which pudding I’m going to choose there, don’t we?)
The current book is at my favourite stage; I LOVE the beginning of a new book. All the possibilities are spread out before you, and there’s the delightful process of getting to know exactly how your characters tick. I normally have a fair idea of the latter before I start work – my books are character-driven – but they can still surprise me. My heroine’s name is still fluid, but currently is Allegra (aka Allie – and I like that spelling of the diminutive, too. Ta, Jan). I’ve changed her surname twice and I’m veering between two very similar ones. Again, this will settle down as the book beds in. But it’s nice to be at that enthusiastic, bubbly stage at work.
Also did some admin, aka printing out directions to the three places I plan to visit tomorrow. Two are location pics for the Essex ruins book, and one is a museum trip – aka research for something that’s in my head and refuses to go away. Like the Hunterian, this is not a place where I’d take the kids because it’s just a teensy bit gory. Fascinating, though. My mum would’ve loved it. And then she would’ve told me some ghost stories from her student nurse days.)
Did a little of the research side of the French duo yesterday, i.e. sent an email to a local vineyard. Am keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll be happy for me to visit them and have a brief chat. (Guess I’m the writerly equivalent of a Method Actor. Ha, just as well I don’t write crime. Though everyone was very antsy when I wrote The Norfolk Poisoners. Er, arsenic isn’t easily available, guys…) I think I’m going to book the perfume course, too. (This all sounds a bit self-indulgent. However, it will give depth to the duo.)
Thank you to everyone who responded here and privately re the bullying issue. Your support is very much appreciated. And I’m pleased to report that although son did see the bully in the playground yesterday, school has obviously bully-boy aware that his behaviour is not acceptable he stayed away. Hopefully it’ll last for a few days, but if the ‘little chat’ has to be repeated (and if I have to really escalate it to stop him), so be it.
Remember, the draw to win the book is still open until Sunday night UK time, so keep telling me your stories. Puns (the badder, the better) and fascinating facts will do just as nicely. And I will be back on Monday with the winner’s name and a report on London. Have a nice weekend!