Sunday, April 27, 2008

A clue

"What did you say your new book is called?" people say to me. "Zulu's Pedals?"

"No," I say. "Zuzu's Petals. Z-U-Z-U apostrophe S, space, P-E-T-A-L-S."

"Who is Zuzu? Is she the woman in the book?"

"No. It's an allusion to something in a film."

"What are you on about?"

The poster on the wall of my newly pretty, pristine study gives you a clue.

(The hardback comes out in May, but you can pre-order it now on with a generous price reduction. will be onstream soon.)

Thursday, April 24, 2008


AArrggh, I've been blog-tagged by Emma at Snowbooks - the boss! When I told Dave, he said "It sounds most uncomfortable."

OK, this is what you have to do when you've been tagged... - Link to the person that tagged you (in my case Emma). - Post the rules on your blog. - Write six random things about you in a blog post. - Tag six people in your post. - Let each person know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. - Let the tagger know your entry is up.

The trouble is that I only read five blogs and the Snowblog is one of them. But I'll do my best. Six random things about me:

1/ When I was little I wanted to be a ballet dancer, but we didn't have enough money for me to go to ballet class. When I got to the age of 12 and realised that even if I found the money, it was too late to start a career in ballet, I decided to become an actress, and I wrote to Junior RADA for a prospectus. There was still no money, of course, and I ended up going to university on a grant (oh those heady days before the need for student loans!) and I became a psychologist.

2/ Just like Sally Howe (of Plotting for Beginners fame) I used to be addicted to watching Neighbours, but I can't watch it any more because it switched to Channel 5 in February and we can't get Channel 5. I am still suffering withdrawal symptoms.

3/ I once did a correspondence course with the Faculty of Astrological Studies.

4/ My first book (of which I was co-author) was published in 1981: The Experience of Work: A Compendium and Review of 249 Measures and Their Use (Organizational and Occupational Psychology). The book is deadly dull. Is it any wonder I turned to comedy and wrote Plotting for Beginners with Jane?

5/ I dream of having one of my books made into a film, with Nora Ephron writing the screenplay and directing it. I'd prefer it not to be the book mentioned in number 4.

6/ I am a practising Quaker. (I have to practice because I'm not very good at it.)

These are the blogs I tag

Anna Torborg

Sally Howe

Sally Calligan

Isaac Hepworth

Allotment Becoming

Monday, April 21, 2008

My new room

I can show you my working space because it's just been cleared and decorated. Three weeks ago, it looked like a paper recycling centre, with too many pictures and photograhs on the wall to see what colour the paint was. I know for sure it will look like that again in the future so I am posting this now before that happens.

A dear friend gave us the desk, and Dave, my husband, made me a larger top for it. He also made the stained glass piece on the windowsill. The photo on the desk is of him putting in the floor of our extension.

Jane (Linfoot) gave me the cherub on the windowsill: for some weird reason, we both love cherubs. Actually, it's not weird for me, as I'm a soppy date, but I always think it's strange for Jane to like cherubs, because she's a stylish architect with leanings to minimalism, and not in the least bit soppy.

My father gave me the silver spoon on the windowsill. His grandfather gave it to him and engraved it with both their initials. I had it engraved with my father's and mine - FJW to SJH.

There are lots of things behind me and to the side, that I might show you another time. And this week I shall be putting photographs of my family back on the wall.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fact? Fiction?

My sister-in-law rang last night and asked if Dave, my husband, had been bidding on eBAY for a guitar.

"No," I said. "Why?"

"It's just that Sally's Gus was bidding for a Fender," she said.

"The trouble is," I said later to Dave, "people forget that most of Sally's Blog is fiction. They get muddled as to where the fact ends and the fiction starts."

"So do you," he said.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Pictures from Zuzu's Petals

Quaker Meeting House, Bainbridge
Zuzu's Petals is set in Sheffield and Wensleydale, and I am trying to collect photographs of places that are mentioned in the book so I can show you on my website - just as I did for Plotting for Beginners. Here's a start - pictures from Wensleydale - all of them are places mentioned in ZP. (Click on a pic to enlarge it.) Don't you like the Jacob sheep in front of the Meeting House?

A distant view of Bolton Castle
Bainbridge village green
The Fox and Hounds in West Burton Lady Hill Lambs on a footpath to Aysgarth Falls

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Why, oh why do I need so many jiffy bags under my desk? Gone are the days of posting off manuscripts to six literary agents at a time. I do still deal in manuscripts , of course, but Snowbooks (bless their little cotton socks) only deal in digital, so when I want to send them something I just line it up and click the mouse.

After years of printing out double-spaced, single-sided sheets, parcelling them up in a jiffy bag with another jiffy bag inside stamped with return postage, it is sooohhh restful. When I tidy my room this week, I shall throw away the jiffy bags (or put them in the attic until I need them for Christmas presents. I mean, come on, you can't actually throw a jiffy bag away, can you?)