On October 1st I pressed SEND on two years of research and writing a new novel. Off went the book through the ether to my editors. (In the old days it was a big jiffy bag I took to the post office.) It is a huge leap to press that button. No one had seen it; no one really knew much about it. Then I had to wait for them to read it and see what they thought.

It’s odd: by the time I turn in a novel I am so close to it that I have absolutely no idea if it works or not. An editor could just as easily say, “Sorry, this is terrible” as “Wow, fabulous!” For either response I would simply nod and accept their judgment, because my own ability to judge is shot. Strange, eh?

So what did I do while I waited? Well, in the book my heroine Violet Speedwell goes on a walking holiday in August 1932 between Winchester and Salisbury Cathedrals – 26 miles. I wrote the scenes without doing the walk myself, though I always meant to. So my husband and I and friends went a-walking, over a very rainy and then a very sunny weekend.

TCWinCathforweb      TCSalCathforweb

We started at Winchester Cathedral, and ended at Salisbury Cathedral. (Yes, THAT spire, all 123 metres of it!)

In between we stopped at a couple of places important to the novel.


 Farley Mount, an 18th-century folly to a horse



The John O’ Gaunt Inn (which gets a bad rap in the novel but is actually very nice)


The church at Nether Wallop (note pyramid similar to Farley Mount; same family)



 Messing about in the Nether Wallop bell tower (I promise I didn’t ring them!)


And ... the editors are very happy with the book! Relief! I have a little tweaking to do, fixes to make it even better. Editing is a crucial part of  writing a book, and actually really fun.


There’s still the thorny question of a TITLE. Watch this space – once I’ve finally settled on one I’ll write about that tricky process.