Wednesday 25 March 2020

Strange times and virtual garden parties.

Yesterday I should have been at a workshop in Hereford with members of the Marcher Chapter of the Romantic Novelists' Association. On Friday I was down to give a library talk with fellow writer Jill Barry, and attend a celebration for Sue McDonagh's second Art Cafe paperback. Next Tuesday it was a research trip, with a friend, to Bristol, to the magic exhibition at the city museum.  All those were scrubbed off the calendar well before the world shrank to (mostly) four walls.

This is not actually an unusual experience for a writer/academic. Novels and theses only get written as a result of periods of social isolation, which may or may not involve some staring at walls. Although admittedly not overlaid by a pervading feeling of anxiety, except perhaps when a deadline is approaching. A lot of fellow writers are finding it difficult to concentrate at the moment. I'm currently typing/editing the second Riviera book, and am finding it therapeutic to lose myself in Bath, Bristol and the South of France and the intricacies of fooling a con man, while managing a love affair that has my protagonists apart for a chunk of the book. I had a vicarious clothes shopping expedition with my heroine this afternoon for a trip to Nice. Sadly my own research trip there will probably not be happening now, but it was still fun to shop with Nadine. As she's a lot younger than I am, we got away with buying some things I certainly couldn't wear any more.

Other than editing, a lot of reading is going on - biographies of Shakespeare (research) British Library classic crime and old favourites from off the bookshelf - comfort reading. I'm trying to make nice meals from what is in the cupboards and freezer. Heavy on the garlic, as I will not be breathing over anyone. I've brought a pot of narcissi in from the garden, delicate yellow stars and a lovely scent, and I'm sitting in the sun outside the back door, wrapped in a coat and a blanket. It could be a lot worse.

People are trying to keep in touch using social media in inventive ways. On Thursday there will be a virtual garden party for the paperback release of Kirsty Ferry's The Secret Rose. It would be lovely if you could join the Choc-lit authors for a celebration.  Keep an eye on the Choc-lit facebook and twitter feeds to stay in touch.

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