When everything happens at once

It had been a really quiet start to 2023, and then, with the impending arrival of Spring (apparently), that all changed. It was like the old London bus scenario that I remember well from my student days – waiting at the bus stop for what feels like hours and could often be 30-40 minutes, sometimes in the rain (with no bus shelter or umbrella of course) and no sign of a bus. Then, as soon as one appears along the road in the distance, it has three more following in its wake.

In March, I had three events to celebrate.

The Woman in the Painting was the featured novel by Yarde Reviews on Instagram. Yarde Reviews is a: “Proud promoter of quality fiction.” It was thrilling to be featured there with so many other great books and authors.

One week later I had a guest blog post with the Coffee Pot Book Club in which I shared some more of the background to The Woman in the Painting, and the history of the village of Islip in Oxfordshire, where it is set. The Coffee Pot Book Club awarded my novel the Silver Medal in the Timeslip/Dual Narrative/Time Travel category in its 2023 Book of the Year Awards which recognise historical fiction, and also gave it a five-star review

Then, one evening, an email popped into my inbox via this website from a reader, a lady who had bought a copy of my first novel The Roots of the Tree at a Xmas gift fair several years ago, enjoyed it enough to buy a copy of The Woman in the Painting when I returned to the same gift fair at the end of 2023, and emailed to tell me how much she had enjoyed it. This was the sort of message every author wants to receive. She said:

“I very much enjoyed your first book, particularly as it was about your close family. But The Woman in the Painting was at another level. The best book I have ever read. I could not put it down. Please let me know when you have written another.”

Well, the next one is on its way. The first edit of my new novel is now complete. There is still editing to do, but just letting it rest for a week or two so I can return to it with fresh eyes, and I’ll have some early reader feedback by then as well to highlight any aspects that are not working and need more attention. 

Exciting times.