I’ve been editing this month. It’s not my favourite part of the writing process but it is vital and there are four separate stages of it for each book so I try to embrace it! This month I’ve been working on the 2025 Izzy Bromley book which I only finished writing in July so there’s barely been any time for the characters to leave my head. I love all the characters I create but the ones in this book are particular favourites.
As well as editing, I’ve been working on the workshops for the retreat I’m running in Italy in October. I have another really interesting group of writers coming so it’s been fun thinking about what I might be able to do to help them with their work.
Away from my desk, I went canoeing in the Norfolk Broads and on a secret tour of Chester Zoo as well as a whistle-stop visit back to Zagreb to watch my son’s profession dance debut. Oh, and I had Covid for a bit too.
This month I’ve picked the Imogen 2024 manuscript back up. It’s always a scary moment when you revisit something that you left behind in case you either can’t remember what you were trying to say or you just plain don’t like it! Luckily for me I did still like it and so now I’m happily continuing to put the story together. I’m still at the stage when I have a vague idea of the plot and no ending. But I trust the process. I think this is my 21st novel and I know how it works.
Also this month I went to Spain for a week with my family and fulfilled a long-held ambition to go to the Alhambra in Granada which was wonderful. Then I took my son to start his new job in Zagreb, Croatia which is a new country for me. So lots of whizzing about and not quite as much writing as I’d have liked!
I’m writing this on the first day of August so I’m about to cheat because technically this has just happened . . . but . . . I just finished the first draft of Table for Five, the second Izzy Bromley book. I’ve had such fun writing and I can’t wait to introduce my new cast of characters to the world!
Anyway, back to the stuff that actually happened in July! The most interesting thing was that I went on a Screenwriting Retreat in Shropshire for a week. I’ve always fancied writing for screen because it’s such a different discipline to writing a novel. There are barely any words for a start, and no internal thought. The course was great and I learned lots so now I just need to make a gap in my novel writing schedule to have a go!
I also went to the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival. I know I don’t write crime but I do enjoy reading it and it’s such a friendly festival that I always end up chatting to a crime writer or two.
My family were starring in a production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which was co-directed and produced by my talented husband, so I’ve had all those catchy songs in my head all month . . . and maybe you do too now! Sorry!
This month has mainly been writing and walking! I’m about halfway through Table for Five, the next Izzy book. I’m really enjoying it and am slowly working out what it is that I’m trying to say. I’m loving the characters too. There are, as the title suggests, five of them and they are all very different. They keep surprising me which is exactly how characters should behave!
Also this month I’ve been working on my website. I want to make it more personal rather than just being a showcase for the books. It’s my space so I can do whatever I like with it. I just need to decide what that is!
The Coach Trip has continued to sell well this month which is great as the cost of living is continuing to rise so people have many, many demands on their hard earned cash. I feel very privileged when they choose to spend some of it on one of my books. I’ve also started trying to write a screenplay for the book this month. It’s a long term project that I’ll have to fit in around everything else but I’m enjoying dabbling in a different discipline and already have a dream cast in mind for when Hollywood comes knocking!
Away from my desk I spent a week in Norfolk working and then a week in Jersey walking the coastal path with a friend. I’d never been to the Channel islands before and can thoroughly recommend Jersey. It’s very pretty and incredibly friendly. And we made it all the way round!
This month my first book writing as Izzy Bromley, The Coach Trip came out. It’s strange because I wasn’t as nervous as I usually am on publication because it didn’t feel like it was me! I mean, I know it was me but I just felt a little bit distanced from it which was easier. It’s funny because when I first published a book back in 2016 I did it under a pen name, Lucinda Fox, because I wasn’t brave enough to put my own name to it. Lucinda writes stories for girls between around 11 and 14 and the books still sell every day but for a long time I hid behind her. Izzy isn’t quite the same as she has the backing of a major publisher but still it doesn’t feel quite like writing under my own name!
Anyway the launch went really well and the book flew to the top of the charts in both the UK and Australia. I’m proud of her! In the meantime I started to write what will be the second Izzy book after I rejected the one I wrote earlier this year. I’ve had to interrupt the next Imogen one, which I was in the middle of, to start the Izzy one so there were a few days whilst I transitioned from one style to the other. All very odd!
When I’m in first draft mode there isn’t really room for much else in my head. I spend all day either writing, thinking about writing or having conversations with my characters. It makes it hard to concentrate on anything else!
Away from my desk, my husband I went on a walking holiday in Puglia. We flew to Brindisi and then got a train right to the very tip of the heel of Italy and then walked back up to Otranto. It’s a beautiful part of the world and food and wine were excellent too. It was the perfect tonic and I managed to keep writing all the way by getting to my laptop early in the mornings before the walking began.
This has been a busy month! Firstly it was London Book Fair. It was so nice to meet up with other authors. Writing is such a lonely profession and whilst I see some people on Zoom, it’s not the same as a good old chinwag over a real cup of coffee. I also met up with my editor. I told her that I wasn’t sure that The Bed in the Shed is the right book for Izzy’s second one. I have an alternative idea so she said she would work out when I had to have it written in order to hit next summer’s market.
I signed the new contract for three more Imogen books so that was great news. I also delivered a workshop at a writing festival on Creating Compelling Characters. I always get nervous about saying yes to these things but then when I get there I have the best time. And speaking about speaking, I’ve been invited to go back to Siena to run another retreat so that’s really cool.
Away from my desk I spent Easter in Norfolk with my family and we had loads of fun. We all had a go at glass blowing which was great. I made a bauble of which I am inordinately proud! I also went to London for my daughter’s 25th birthday party and saw Jersey Boys which was a real treat as the young man playing Frankie Valli was formerly part of the youth theatre group that my husband helps to run. That was a proud moment.
Finally I snuck my husband away for a secret trip to the Lake District to celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary which was lovely.
The best part of this month was most definitely leading a Writers’ Retreat in Siena, Tuscany. I was nervous because I’ve never done anything as intensive as that before but it seemed to go really well. The writers came from all corners of the world. In fact there was no one from the UK. I really enjoyed talking about how I write a novel and helping them to tease out their stories. Whilst I was there I was also thinking about the characters for the 2024 Imogen book and so I shared my thinking day by day so the writers could see that it doesn’t matter how many books you’ve written – we all start from the same place.
We had an exciting moment this month when the cover was revealed for In a Single Moment. My publishers have been shifting the direction of my covers over the last few and this one fits in with the new vibe beautifully. I’m thrilled with it and can’t wait for the book to come out. I have to wait, however, as publication date isn’t until November!
An Unwanted Inheritance was an Audible Daily Deal in the US and flew up the charts to #16 so that was an exciting day.
I began to write the new book that I’d been planning in Tuscany. So far so good. I also did the proof read for In a Single Moment and agreed a new contract with my publishers. I also did a course run by the writer Tessa Hadley. I love her books and she had lots of wisdom to share.
Away from my desk, I had a lovely trip to London to see my children. We went to Abba Voyage and sang and danced the night away. I found the avatars of the four singers fascinating but also a little odd. It was great fun though.
This month I finished writing The Bed in the Shed which meant that I could send it off to my editor in plenty of time before the deadline. There’s no rest for the wicked, though, because no sooner did that go off but the copy edits for the next Imogen book, In a Single Moment, landed. Doing the copy or line edits is my least favourite part of the process of writing a book. I know it’s her job, but my copy editor is SOOOOO picky! Anyway, this one wasn’t too dreadful and I got it done with the minimum amount of pain.
The Coach Trip went up on Net Galley and I was delighted to see that the readers like it and are giving it great reviews. Putting a book out into the world is always scary but it’s even worse when it’s something completely different.
I had lunch with my editorial team in London and they told me that they want to sign me up for a new book deal so that was lovely to hear, especially as there is still one book to come out from the previous contract.
Away from my desk I spent time writing in Norfolk and I also went to Valentine’s roller disco in the Corn Exchange in Leeds. I used to think I could skate quite well, but seeing those guys makes me think I need some more practise!
Here we are – the start of 2023. I have my goals for the year, both writing and more general, all written down and I’m ready for the off. An Unwanted Inheritance has been siting in the UK top 50 for the whole month and reached #3 at one point. I was egging it on to jump those two extra places but it didn’t cooperate!
Writing-wise, I have been working on the second Izzy Bromley book, The Bed in the Shed. It’s been hard going because I’m still not sure what the book is trying to say, but it will come to me. Themes, very much like plots and characters, have a way of emerging as I go along.
I’ve been working on building a website for Izzy with the help of my kids who have been giving me advice on colours and the general vibe. Izzy will be writing for a different market to Imogen so I want to be sure that she looks different.
Away from my desk I had a trip to London to watch my son dance in English National Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker at the London Coliseum. The run lasted right over Christmas so he only had two days at home for the festive period which was strange as he’s only 18. To make up for that, I took him and his eldest sister for a short break to Dubai where we spend a night in the desert, played in a waterpark and flew in a helicopter. It’s amazing how much you can jam into a few days if you move fast!