Two days ago I pressed ‘send’ and my latest children’s novel went winging its way to the publisher. I spent the day feeling very grumpy.

Not because I am particularly unhappy with the finished book – I have just the usual feeling that it’s not as good as I’d have liked, or as I imagined it could be – but because there is a huge empty place where the book used to be. An on-going project that takes months of your life has to leave a bit of a hole. I used to liken the feeling to a kind of post-natal depression. Now, with my twenty-year old son having left home (and currently travelling overseas), I think of it as empty nest syndrome.

So instead of taking a few weeks off before starting my next project  – which is working through the editor’s notes and hopefully making the last major changes to my adult novel – I got stuck in. I thought that I might need some time to make the transition from one book to another. Especially since my target audience has moved from nine to twelve year old girls to adults (and if I’m honest or realistic, the adults will most probably be middle-aged women). I was surprised and utterly delighted to find that, almost instantly, I was right back in there. I hope this augurs well for the novel!

My husband and I were reviewing our reading stats for the year (yes, that’s the kind of thing we do!) and it turns out he has read 35 books so far. I have read 76. I win! My standouts for the year were Lila and Gilead, both by Marilynne Robinson. Luminous, tender, absorbing; I finished Lila, in particular, in awe.


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