It hardly seems like a month since I last wrote this diary, probably because time flies when you’re busy writing (and doing everything else, of course – women always manage to multitask somehow). I must say the weather has been brilliant and it’s great to get out into my writing shed again.
While I’m working in my shed I can see the vegetable beds. There’s a wonderful crop of broccoli, kale, courgettes, tomatoes and cucumbers (all grown from seed) and we’ve also feasted on our own onions, garlic and strawberries. It’s very satisfying and I suppose it’s a bit of a creative thing. It also tastes tremendous.
They say travel broadens the mind but I know it also provides inspiration for short stories. I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Lisbon this month and I came back with several ideas. But there’s no need to go abroad: I’ve recently visited Mr Straw’s House – a suburban house in Worksop in Nottinghamshire that has been unchanged since 1923 (Confession - I actually found this more inspiring than the beauties of Lisbon). There are so many fantastic places to visit and I must say my National Trust membership has been well used this year. By the way, did you know that my favourite crime writer, Josephine Tey left her entire estate to the National Trust when she died?
I haven’t done any events this month because I’ve been working hard on my new Joe Plantagenet novel (as well as dealing with the proofs of the next Wesley book that’s due out in January). As I mentioned earlier, I’m working in my shed again and putting some distance between myself and everything that needs doing in the house certainly helps the concentration. I’ve also been looking after my younger son’s dog, Fin, while he and his lovely wife have been away visiting Italy (taking in Pompeii and Herculaneum – mum’s jealous!!!) Fin’s a lively border collie but he’s been a delight to have around the house (I described him as a ‘furry angel’ when asked how he’d behaved). He’s featured in one of my books (The Shadow Collector) and I’m wondering how I can fit him into another.
Of course writing doesn’t stop me reading and I’m currently enjoying C J Sansom’s thriller Dominion. I’ve loved his Shardlake books, set in the reign of Henry VIII but this one is set in 1952, in an England that yielded to Hitler after Dunkirk. The scenario is convincing and disturbing – a vivid picture of a ‘what if’ world. I can’t put it down.
Talking of holiday reads, I was thrilled to get an e-mail from my son in Italy with a photo of a copy of The Shadow Collector that he’d found in the bar at his hotel. It’s fantastic to know that somebody chose it as their holiday book and left it for others to enjoy.
I wish all my readers a very happy summer – and happy reading.