Busy by choice…

 As the day rapidly approaches for the launch of Gisborne: Book of Kings,


(to e-book in the first instance, and then print) this is how the days progress.

My chapters return from my editor in the UK in blocks of three. I make the necessary changes and save them to my master file. I have been so very lucky to date with this book – so far there have only been line-edits, no major structurals where I need to re-write pages. I don’t know if this is due to the fact that I wrote the book very slowly and really gave it a hard edit between each chapter as I transcribed from paper to computer. Plus another hard edit before I sent it to the editor. I do remember scrapping whole paras and pages as I wrote, until it flowed the way I wanted. So here’s hoping for the rest – yes, I am holding my breath.

In between editing Kings, I’m writing a little 6000 word story on a troubadour called Flori de Mazanet… It is called Trouvère and is for Bo Press’s miniature press and I remember talking to Pat about the way she intended publishing it. I imagine she will source wonderful images of minstrels and instruments, as she always does, but I believe she is planning a genuine medieval binding, something like wood covers and a laced spine – a true collector’s piece. Hopefully the story will be good enough to match her artistic excellence.

And of course, as often happens when I write for Pat, the writing prompts my next novel. You might remember I talked of writing a book called The Jew’s Daughter – about Ariella, the silk merchant’s daughter (you’ll meet her in Kings).


(Lotte Verbeek, my idea of what Ariella might look like)

She is a character crying out for her own book, but perversely there is another who vies for attention. In Knights and in Kings, you met the wonderful twins, Tobias and Tommaso Celho, minstrels and small people of great charm. Such great charm that Toby has wormed his way deeply into my affections (blame it on the excellent Tyrian Lannister).


So the next book will be about Toby the Minstrel – very little backstory but taking him off on a journey he never imagined, in what will be the dawn of the thirteenth century. I always need a title to move the story along in my head and am playing with any number. But at the moment, plain Tobias is the front runner.


What else occurs when a writer is in somewhat of a hiatus?



Well, there is garden pruning, digging up the last of the parsnips, turning over and fertilising the veggie beds ready for spring planting, cutting back the herbs and also the berries and putting the berries to bed in a thick coating of pine needles laced with potash and blood and bone. Designing the new ornamental bed I get to plant when we pull the ancient rotary clothesline down and which will separate the orchard room from the rest and so on…

And then there is embroidery. Embroidering a new baby’s rug. No, no new bubs that I know of – I just love the challenge.


This one is very bright – Schiaparelli pink and lime green stripes in the little mouse’s sweater together with an orange scarf. This is because her skirt will be made from the most lusciously coloured grosgrain ribbon. And when that rug is finished, I want to reproduce the rug I made for a friend’s son when he was born.




It’s one of my favourite Jenny McWhinney designs and wool embroidery through winter is so comforting!

The final way to fill my non-book writing moments is to walk the dogs for miles along favourite shores, watching the sea in all its ever-changing and exciting nuances.


As my website says – being near the sea is implicit for my writing to sing!

Oh – and I almost forgot! Where would I be without kayaking? That too fills the odd calm-sea winter day.


It’s a nice writer’s life really, don’t you think?