Usually the silence in the aftermath of a deadline means my brain has left the building along with the book and I've done nothing interesting enough to report to my own husband, never mind the blogosphere at large. However, on this occasion I don't even have that excuse, since last week I went down to London and spent a lovely afternoon drinking tea with my editor and talking books, projects, possibilities and Kiera Knightley (not sure how we got onto that subject) before going to gorgeous RNA Winter Party. Abby Green had found us a gem of a hotel in the shadow of Big Ben, a stone's throw away from the luscious library of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers where the party was held and Heidi Rice joined us for a drink and a plate of fish and chips (literally - one plate, 3 forks. Classy girls, us.) in the bar downstairs before we sashayed round there. Met up with Natalie Rivers, Fiona Harper, Sharon Kendrick as well as a handful of lovely M&B editors and numerous fantastically cool people (Hello Rachael! Hello Jude!) I had a long-awaited chance to catch up with Margaret James, whose delicious book The Silver Locket was responsible for making me so unsociable on holiday at half term. All in all it was a really good evening. (I'm choosing to blank out the painful five minutes when naughty Abby and I were completely incapacitated with giggles over some of the titles on the library shelves. Honestly. I'm 40 not 14. She is a Very Bad Influence. I'm going to get my mum to write a note saying I'm not allowed to be her partner again.)
Moving swiftly on (and assuming a serious, professional expression) I also have book news. Tristan and Lily’s story – Spanish Aristocrat, Forced Bride is coming out in the US in January 2011 under the far nicer title The Society Wife, and the other day the UPS man brought me a big box of author copies. So, if you’re in a part of the world where Tristan and Lily haven’t previously ventured drop me a line (including your postal address) via the website sometime this week and I’ll put your name into a draw for one of five books.
I should also mention that Her Last Night Of Innocence, which is a December release, is now available in the UK. You might recognize this as the work formerly known as The Book That Would Not Die, and if you’re a regular reader of this blog (or as regular as you can be when I only update it once every Preston Guild) you might remember how much fun I had writing it (clue: a bit less than being tied to a chair and forced to watch wall-to-wall Hollyoaks for seven months) By the time it was finished I’d lost all perspective on it and thought I might just quietly ignore its release date. However, I’m not sure that’s either very mature or, as a professional strategy, very impressive, so – heartened by the fact that it’s been in the no 1. Spot on the M&B website for the last couple of weeks I’m going to crack open the box of copies that’s lurking under the sofa in my office and a send few of those out too. Email me with your address if you’d like one.
(*Warning: Please don't be fooled by the cover. At no point do Cristiano and Kate while away the evening with a hand of cards, nor is Cristiano in the fourth form at school, despite appearing in his uniform on the front. )
My final piece of exciting news is that I have finally summoned the confidence to end a miserable two-year relationship with my last vacuum cleaner, and yesterday, after prolonged lobbying from the daughters, replaced it with one of these.
The theory was that even they might be moved to take an interest in dust-removal with a machine that’s pink and has eyelashes, but actually it’s so lovely I want to play with it all by myself. The guinea pigs will just have to shiver a while longer. I’m off to hoover under my bed.