I live in a small market town just thirty minutes’ drive from the beautiful city of Bath, England in one direction and the glorious villages and hamlets of the Cotswolds in the other. I have lived here with my husband of nineteen years and our two daughters since 2001, since moving from the city of Bristol. My close proximity to Bath and the Cotswolds has provided fascinating and intriguing settings as well as some great story inspiration.
A typical day starts around 7am and I always try to start the day with a cup of tea and a half an hour read in bed. I believe reading is as important for a writer’s creativity as the actual writing itself and as my life seems to become busier and busier, my reading time is steadily decreasing. This blessed half an hour is total self-indulgent luxury.
I get out of bed, feed the dog and see my youngest daughter off to school – the eldest started university in September and she’s having the time of her life. Then I have the house to myself for the rest of the day and I am usually at my computer by 8.30am.
After dealing with emails and any promo requirements, I usually critique a chapter for one of my three critique partners. Around 10am, it’s time for the first dog walk of the day. I am very lucky to have some beautiful open fields and woodland very close by and myself and Tyler, my gorgeous chocolate Labrador, trek these areas every day…with him often diving into the river, regardless of the temperature or weather.
Once home again, it’s time to write – I aim to write two scenes a day which amounts to around 3,000 words. If I achieve this, I’ve had a good day. More often than not, I meet this target, but when day-to-day life is being a particular pain in the backside, I am happy with 1,500 words. I think the worst thing to destroy creativity is put too much pressure on yourself to stick to an exact word count every single day.
My working day usually lasts to 5.30pm with a lunch break and another dog walk in between.
Most days, it’s then dinner with my family, followed by my husband and I slouched in front of the TV watching the latest shows that we actually manage to agree to watch! When the TV is on I always indulge in my next passion after writing…knitting. I am obsessed. I love the relaxation it provides and the fact I have a finished piece of clothing, throw or blanket at the end. I started knitting around ten years ago and haven’t stopped since. I adore it!
If I’m out for the night, I am usually either at a bingo or quiz night with my girlfriends at the local pub, out for a meal with my family or, as I was this week, meeting up with the fabulous ladies of the Bath/Wiltshire Romantic Novelists Association Chapter. I am the founder of the group and it started around eight years ago with just four romance writers. Since then, the group has grown to twenty-seven with at least ten to twelve of us attending each six-weekly meeting.
We meet in the beautiful village of Lacock, which has been used in many film and TV productions including Harry Potter, Pride & Prejudice, Cranford and more. The pub where we meet dates back to 14th century and still has many of its original features. It is a wonderful place for romantics like us to discuss books, writing and so much more. We are firm friends and the support and love I receive from this group of wonderful women is invaluable. They are a firm lifeline to my work.
Bedtime is usually around 11.30pm and then it’s a case of starting all over again tomorrow!