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Book the Second is resting. Meanwhile, Book the Third takes shape. I have never, ever conjured a story this quickly. One day it was floating at the back of my mind, made up from the remnants of a largely abandoned tale and the hem of a ghost’s frock; the next it was pouring out of me. In the space of three days I had the outline and most of the chapters in précis. 

A friend recently suggested a theory which on reflection makes a kind of sense. Now I have a deal for Ghostbird (which translates as validation) and a publication date; now it’s real and happening, has some creative synapse in my brain clicked into place? Is a new level of confidence emerging and is this what happens to writers once they get that initial confirmation?

Or is it simply the word birds, daring me and flinging ideas in my path? Either way, as a writer, I’m happier than I’ve been in years.

I know I quote Virginia Woolf as if I have her on speed dial. (I don’t – that would be creepy.) I do have a copy of A Writer’s Diary by my bed and treat it like a daily meditation. One of the things Mrs W said was, ‘As for my next book, I won’t write it till it has grown heavy in my mind like a ripe pear.’

It’s as though this new story has landed in my lap in the shape of a harvest of pears. And apples, plums and peaches, and big fat juicy blackberries.

There is nothing for it – I must make story jam.

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