Chez Castillon, charity &…er…charging towards my deadline!

After a frantic April the last six weeks or so have been much quieter. I deliberately didn’t book too many events for May, June and July because I need all the days I can grab to finish my fourth book. My deadline is 1st August and I’m aiming to get the first draft finished by the middle of July so I’ve got two weeks to quickly revise it before I hand it over to my editor. The current word count is 77,000 words and I’m pretty sure I’ve got another 30,000 or so words to write until I reach ‘The End’. It’s at times like this that I wish I was an underwriter rather than an overwriter. I’ll probably end up cutting at least 15,000 words.

Talking of 15,000 words – at the end of May I took myself off to Chez Castillon, a writing retreat in South West France run by Janie and Mickey Wilson.


[Mickey and Janie (standing), Kate McNaughton, Angela Clarke, Daisy Buchanan, Me, Rowan Coleman, Kate Harrison]

I’d seen lots of photos of Chez Castillon on other writer’s Facebook pages and had fallen in love with the idea of writing in peace and quiet for hours on end, enjoying the sunshine and swimming pool and then sharing a meal (prepared by Janie) with my fellow authors. It didn’t disappoint. Well, the weather did, but that was probably good for my word count. It took the best part of a day to get there via train and over 15 hours to get back (thanks to the French train strikes) but, in five full days, I wrote over 15,000 words. It was a lovely break from my normal ‘nursery drop off, write, food shop, put washing on, nursery pick up, bedtime routine, cook, drop exhausted into bed’ routine and the food, wine and company was brilliant too. A huge thank you to Janie and Mickey and the six writers who agreed to go with me.


[Sleepy face – I’d just got up]

Earlier this month I returned to Radio Bristol. This time I was a guest on Dr Phil Hammond’s ‘Happy Hour’ show. Along with Dave Alred MBE who is a performance coach who has worked with Johnny Wilkinson and golfer Luke Donald. We spent the best part of an hour talking about the things that make us happy and we motivate ourselves (in sport and in the writing world). I may have admitted that one of the things that makes me happy is playing air guitar to Iron Maiden in the kitchen with my four year old!


[Dr Phil Hammond, Me, Dave Alred MBE]

Earlier this week I went to Midsomer Norton to help launch a reading group for the resettlement charity P.E.O.P.L.E. My publisher Avon HarperCollins very kindly donated copies of my books and, after a brief speech and a Q&A I signed copies and then grabbed a selfie with the Mayor of Midsomer Norton who’d also come along to lend his support.


[Me and the Mayor of Midsomer Norton]

I’ve got a clear week next week (to write as many words as possible) and then I’m off to the HarperCollins author party on 6th July. Then, on Saturday 9th July, I’ll be appearing at Hitchin library where I’ll be talking about my publishing career so far and my most recent book THE MISSING. Tickets are available here.

Talking of THE MISSING (my blog post segues are so smooth!). Not only has it sold over 125,000 copies so far (a HUGE thank you to everyone who’s bought it) but it’s been shortlisted for an award! It’s up for the ‘Most Recommend Book’ award in the Dead Good awards and it’s facing some stiff competition. The Lie was shortlisted for two Dead Good awards last year and didn’t win either of them. If you’d like to spare me from the humiliation of putting on my gracious loser face for the second year in a row please vote! Here’s the link. Thank you!

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