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Exactly two months since I scribbled anything here. Largely because I haven’t had much to say. I’ve been busy though – scattering words onto the page for a fifth book & for the past month or so, editing my fourth, Only May, which is penciled in for publication next year.

Only May began life about two years ago, several months before the pandemic hit. I’ve mentioned before, the genesis of this story: how I was driving home from the dentist, dazzled by the glory that is the May blossom. It seemed to have a tinge of pink & felt magical to me. I imagined a girl, born on the first day of May & named for the blossom; wondered, for no reason I can now recall, what if she could tell when people lied to her? If, when they looked her directly in the eye & lied, she knew. And that was the small beginning.

As I was still editing my third novel, Wild Spinning Girls, progress was sporadic. I’m an inveterate note compiler however & write my stories erratically anyway, so I was getting something down. It wasn’t until after the launch of WSG just weeks before the first lockdown, that I settled in to write the book proper. It’s been a fabulous process. With no distractions, I listened for the word birds, cracked on & wrote it.

Image: Gareth Lucas

That said, it still took me almost eighteen months before I felt the manuscript was good enough to submit. I know writers who can create a book in a few months. This both impresses & amazes me. I am not one of them! I’m a plodder. And I don’t put in impressively long hours either; not on a regular basis. (When I’m editing mind, I nail myself to the PC & only emerge from my study to eat & sleep, but that’s another story.) I do show up pretty much every day though & for me, that is the secret. Show up & write. Even through a pandemic. Particularly through a pandemic? My work has kept me sane, kept me connected to what brings me joy. And I love this new story more than I can say.

Only May is a slight departure from my previous books – it’s more intimate, on a smaller scale & written mostly in first person present.

Image: Toma Joksaite

It’s my lockdown novel. And it has bees. Watch this space!

   “I’m the girl who sees beyond the glint in your eye, around your over-confidence and through to the truth and I can hear the earth hum, the way the bees do. Ever since I was a tiny baby and they started talking to me, it’s seemed rude not to take notice.
   Bees don’t lie.”