Goodnight, Nora

At last!

I’ve just sent a few more chapters of the new book to my editor, to see if she thinks it’s working.

It’s been tough to get them done. It’s the end of term, and with one stepdaughter doing A levels, another doing GCSEs, a son finishing his primary school and another finishing his first year of Reception, there’s a lot happening. Add to that various school visits and book festivals round the country, and I sometimes have to programme time to breathe, never mind time to write.

However, it’s all been worthwhile. Watching the girls take the boys to school, seeing the school play, getting emails from readers I’ve met on my travels, planning events – I’ve had so many wonderful experiences recently.

The only sad thing has been the death of Nora Ephron, who wrote When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and Heartburn, among other fabulous movies. She was the best romcom writer we had the papers, and Twitter, are littered with women writers who were inspired by her work and her life. I really want to read her book, ‘I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman‘. She was wonderful at talking about love, and heartbreak, and being a woman, and growing old. But she didn’t get the chance to grow as old as she wanted to. She was only 71. So many of us who admired her as a person and a writer are devastated.

She loved life. Although she wanted to grow old fabulously, Nora didn’t deny how much she recognised the advantages of being young. My favourite line among all the tributes to Nora that I’ve been reading was this quote from ‘I Feel Bad About My Neck’: “If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don’t take it off until you’re 34.”

Goodnight, Nora. You are much missed.

School visits

I’ve been doing a few school visits recently – all of them lovely. Yesterday, for example, I was at St Albans Girls’ School (STAGS) in – unsurprisingly – St Albans, and on Monday I was at Hitchin Girls’ School. I really enjoy them. They’re the best opportunity I get to meet my future readers and find out what they’re up to and what they’re interested in.

If you’ve ever wondered what an author visit is like (at least, one of mine, anyway), here’s a great writeup of a visit I did earlier in the month from the girls at Dr Challoner’s in Buckinghamshire. Thanks very much, girls!

Feeling festive

It’s the start of the festival season! We’ve just driven through miles of countryside still bedecked with bunting from the Jubilee, and there’s about to be more. Tomorrow, I shall be here:

Two days of talking about books, watching other people talk about books, catching up with friends who write and read books, and possibly buying some books …

The Hay Festival is 25 this year. We may have to brave it in wellies and a mac, but it will still be magic.

And on Sunday I’ll be at the Wychwood Festival in Cheltenham, listening to music, oh – and talking about books. Again.

And that’s just the start of it. Happy festival season! Have you booked one yet? If not – quick – book one. It’s the most fun you’ll have all summer.