As the year heads towards its close, I thought it was time for a general update and plans for the future!
The beginning of 2017 saw me working hard on Book 3 of my La Cour des Roses series, Summer at the Little French Guesthouse.
The first draft was handed in with the usual trepidation at the beginning of February, and then came several rounds of structural edits, line edits and finally proofreading. Phew!
In desperate need of a rest after all that, hubby and I spent a lovely fortnight in Cornwall at the end of June/beginning of July. (If you missed the blog posts, you can read about that here and here.)
We arrived back home just a few days before publication day on the 12th July, when I received these gorgeous flowers from my publisher Bookouture …
… and then followed a flurry of social media and reviews to keep track of. I was thrilled that this latest book (and the last in the trilogy) was so well received, making all that hard work worthwhile 🙂
Writing the series has had its ups and downs (if you missed it, you can read my thoughts on writing a series here) but I can’t deny a sense of satisfaction – and of course a little sadness that Emmy’s adventures are over (on the page, anyway. In my head, she continues to live happily-ever-after in her French idyll!)
In the meantime, the earlier books have been taken on by foreign publishers, to be translated into Turkish, Hungarian, Czech and Italian, with other deals in the pipeline. This was something I never imagined!
The books seem to have gone down particularly well in Italy, and I’ve had some lovely messages … in Italian, which I’ve had to Google translate and then hope that I’ve replied appropriately! 😀
In August, we spent a few days in Salisbury (a trip I have yet to get around to blogging about!) before driving to Heathrow to pick up our 19-year-old son after his year volunteering in Thailand, where he was teaching English to teenage novice monks in a Buddhist monastery. I’m sure you can imagine how wonderful it was to have him back after not seeing him for a WHOLE YEAR!
However, there was no time to relax and enjoy his company as much as we would have liked. We only had four weeks to get him organised for starting university, so it was all rather fraught, trying to get everything bought and packed, get paperwork in order etc. We deposited him in Birmingham in mid-September, and he seems to have settled in well.
We’re still not empty-nesters, however, as my 22-year-old daughter who came back to live with us after finishing university last year is still here. She’s the perfect companion for watching old re-runs of Magnum P.I. and Starsky and Hutch! It’s not all vintage TV, though – she recently introduced us to Stranger Things which I wouldn’t have watched otherwise but thoroughly enjoyed.
In September, Book 1 of the La Cour des Roses series, The Little French Guesthouse, landed its 500th 5* review on Amazon UK!
I couldn’t believe such a milestone – it’s still hard to take in that kind of thing. A large glass of wine was required to celebrate 😉
Deciding to fit in another break this year, hubby and I booked a couple of last-minute cottages in Scotland for the end of September/beginning of October. No doubt I will blog about that trip some time in the future, too, but suffice to say that the weather could have been kinder – hats, scarves, gloves, fleeces and cagoules were all needed most of the time. I look like the Michelin Man!
As for the writing …
I have had to make the decision not to commit to anything too big for a while. My elderly parents – who are not in a good way – take up a great deal of time and worry at the moment, and coping with them while facing so many deadlines over the past couple of years has not been easy. For their sake and for the sake of my own health and sanity, a break from major deadlines seems the only way to go for now.
That doesn’t mean I won’t be writing, though. You can’t keep me away from my keyboard for long!
I do plan to write – but at my own pace, when I’m able and in the mood, hopefully allowing the wells of creativity to refill.
I am committed to taking part in a collaborative project with a group of northern writers which I’m excited about but won’t reveal properly until it’s nearer completion in 2018.
And I have a couple of ideas for novels floating around in my head, one of which I started before The Little French Guesthouse took off, so I hope to take up where I left off with that.
So, as they say, ‘Watch this space … !’