On Wednesday night, we had the pleasure of celebrating the launch of the RNA’s fabulous anthology, Loves Me, Loves Me Not. This wonderful golden tome contains over forty fabulous short stories and is published to celebrate the RNA’s 50th anniversary. Most of the contributors were there and we were all happy to pose in our finery on the amazing staircase at the Cavalry and Guards Club in Piccadilly.
Here I am with the RNA’s marvellous chair and writer extraordinaire, Katie Fforde - both of us wearing celebratory gold.
This has been an amazing couple of weeks. I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing my first UK novel, Molly’s Millions, in the bookshops. Here I am in a branch of Smith’s next to Cherie Blair!
I also did a spot of signing with fellow author, Lola Jaye. We ventured into central London on the hottest day of the year and signed as many of our books as we could find. If you can find an unsigned one, it’s worth an absolute fortune!
Here we are at Smith’s in Victoria. Thanks to the lovely Ines who was so sweet and helpful.
I also attended a wonderful garden party at Oxford’s St John’s College with my Great Uncle Peter who was a student there in 1949. The sun shone for us and there were cucumber sandwiches, heaps of cake and strawberries and cream. It was perfect!
Whilst in Oxford, we visited The Eagle and Child (also known as The Bird and Baby) where the ‘Inklings’ used to meet. It was amazing to step into the pub where early readings of The Lord of the Rings and the Narnia stories would have taken place, and my uncle told me he was in Oxford at the same time as Tolkien and CS Lewis!
It was the Oxford Literary Festival this month and I got to meet children’s writer and one-time laureate, Michael Morpurgo. His books Private Peaceful and The White Horse of Zennor are amongst my favourite. Whilst in Oxford, I met up with one of my other favourite writers, Julia Golding, and talked about fantasy, festivals and the horrors of getting the right title for your books. I also managed a quick chat with Joanna Kenrick between events.
At Waterstones with Lisa Jewell
Then there was a fabulous fiction panel at Notting Hill’s Waterstones which I attended with Helen Salter. It was great fun and lovely to chat with Carole Matthews, Isabel Wolff and Lisa Jewell who has given me a lovely quote for my novel Molly’s MillionApril also meant a trip to the London Book Fair where I met up with my lovely German agent for lunch. There was also time to meet up with Juliet Archer for a writerly gossip on the steps of Earl’s Court.
Then, a surprise trip to Pembrokeshire where I managed to finish the first draft of my new novel, Connie Gordon’s Clan, and completely killed my right shoulder doing so. Ouch! The coast and countryside glowed with yellow flowers: primroses, celandines, cowslips, dandelions, buttercups and the ever-present gorse.
I was out and about a lot this month. First, there was a writers’ day in London when I met lovely author Sam Mills who is staring in a film adaptation of her amazing children’s book, The Boys Who Saved the World. Watch the fabulous trailer here. We then went to meet with best-selling author Carole Matthews who was part of a panel giving a talk about promotion. And then, to round off the day, it was off for a hot chocolate with author Juliet Archer who had just done a mammoth book signing at Borders on Oxford Street for her debut novel, The Importance of Being Emma, which I’m really looking forward to reading. We both share a love of Jane Austen, and Juliet is writing wonderful updated versions of Austen’s novels.
Another trip took us to the Suffolk coast. Here’s Molly and me in front of the Butt and Oyster at Pin Mill – the setting of one of my favourite Arthur Ransome novels, We Didn’t Mean to go to Sea.
It’s always a magical feeling visiting somewhere that you’ve read about in a novel and I got very excited when I discovered Alma Cottage, believing that I might just bump into the Walker children or dear Jim Brading.
Our big trip of the month was a week on the Pembrokeshire coast where hubby painted and I made good progress on my new novel, Connie Gordon’s Clan. But it wasn’t all work and, doing our best to dodge the gales, we had many gorgeous, gorse-filled walks along the coast, spying the sweet violets, primroses and celandine.