My New Book

Well, it’s taken me a year and a half of pain, suffering, and tearing my hair out but at last (at last!) I have finished my new book ‘Finding Frieda’  and she is all dressed up in her lovely cover and ready to leap from the Amazon shelves into lots of people’s baskets (I hope).

This is my fifth book and boy, was it a tough one. You’d think it would get easier but this one was harder than ever. The main reason is because I thought it would be a good idea to get a developmental edit for my birthday present AFTER I’d already written well over 50,000 words.


Of course, there was a tiny part of me that thought maybe, just maybe, the editor would read it and say, ‘Wow! This is incredible! It’s the best book I think I’ve ever read. I know thousands of agents and publishers who would chop their own arms off to get a piece of this.’ Before heading into a furious bidding war between four of the big publishing houses leading to me netting me a million pounds. I would then go and buy Dog that diamond collar.

Dog in Diamond Necklace

Well, of course that didn’t happen. OF COURSE IT DIDN’T!

To be fair, the editor did say she liked my writing and said I was a ‘born storyteller’ (cue tremendous preening) but that was followed by ten pages detailing exactly what was wrong with the whole thing.

Oh, it was disheartening. But after a lot of sulking, I realised she was right, and I had to put my pride aside and do some more work.

She recommended some excellent books, particularly on maintaining dramatic tension. Now a common complaint from readers is that I spend a long time getting going. (As I get older this is increasingly true of me every morning). These books forced me to think about things like ‘inciting incident’ and ‘goals’ and ‘conflict’.

I normally sit and write by the seat of my pants, so this was an interesting – though blooming hard work – way to approach my new book.

So I had to chuck it out. All nearly 60,000 words of it and start again. It took me a long time to get through all of the stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. To that, I would add an extended period of sulking.

When I finally stopped lying face down in bed, I emerged bright-eyed and bushy-tailed determined to see this as ‘an exciting opportunity’ and ‘a challenge to test myself to the limits’.

So I consigned the words, my darlings, to the recycle bin and started afresh. It wasn’t long before I was immersed in the world of Pagan’s Reach, but this time with a very strict plot plan that I wasn’t allowed to deviate from.

It was godawful. But all that work paid off as I knew exactly what was going to happen so all I had to do was write from one bit to the next.

‘Finding Frieda’ is the third in The Woman and the Witch trilogy, but I’ve tried really hard to make it work as a stand-alone. Interestingly, all my books so far have been well over 100,000 words but this one is about 85,000. I think it’s because I’ve cut out all the waffle about making cake and cups of tea!

There’s something very lovely about slipping into a world you’ve created and you know so well. It’s surprising how certain I am about it – so much more so than my real life. I know how the magic works, how my characters are going to react to things, and exactly what every room, garden and object looks like. I suppose it’s a form of control in an increasingly chaotic world.

Saying that though, despite endless plotting and planning, my characters still have the power to surprise me. At one point in the story, my character Angie, and her theoretical physicist friend Penny, have to get to a distant town. Turns out they end up travelling there in the lemon yellow zephyr I used to get a lift to school in about forty years ago. I’d completely forgotten about it until they discovered it in Frieda’s old garage.

The Lemon Zephyr

I LOVE that about writing – it always has the power to surprise you. Also, so much of it is unconscious – my brother recognised loads of things from our shared childhood when he read my books. Things I hadn’t consciously realised had inspired events or characters. He also noted that I keep banging on about ‘plenty of hot water’ and ‘hot buttered toast’. Quite right – they are two of my favourite things!

Finding Frieda

So what is the book about? Well, the focus is on a mystery – the disappearance of Frieda Beaudry. What happens next is (I hope) a thrilling adventure. I read loads of physics books and got husband and physics teacher friends to teach me about the Theory of Everything for Penny’s character but ended up not using a lot of it – but I did really enjoy exploring the friendship between a scientist and a witch.

Here’s the link with a sample if you fancy checking it out! If you do, I hope you enjoy it and do let me know what you thought.


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