When this blog was first set up for me by a lovely tech-savy acquaintance I promised to post regularly and I really meant it. I know some writers are really good at blogging and that as a writer that I ought to find it easy to find things to say. My trouble is that I try hard to think of interesting things to blog about and then think they’ll sound stupid and so I don’t do it. I suppose most of the things that I want to say go into my books, or into other work that I do at the University – all of which takes up a lot of time. Anyway I vow to try to do better in 2015, and I thought I’d begin now by updating on you on what’s happening for me as we head towards the end of the current year.

I want to apologise for the long delay in replying to some of your comments. I am hopeless at working out what’s gone wrong if the blog isn’working and for at least a couple of months, more probably, I have been struggling how to get the ‘reply’ facility working. For some reason it just refused to co-operate which meand that I couldn’t reply to your comments. I have struggled womanfully with it and finally beaten it into submission but it has taken ages and I have no idea what it was that I did that fixed it in the end. I really need a smart 16-year-old on hand to help me deal with my various technical problems!

It’s been a hugely busy year and I am looking forward to break over Christmas. Family Secrets was released in July and has done wonderfully well, many thanks to those readers who have commented here, and/or emailed me about it. I was really surprised by how many people wrote to tell me that the key secret in the book mirrors a matching secret in their own family, but it’s great to know that the stories and characters resonate , and I am so grateful to you for your loyal readership over the last ten years.

This year I finished a book I’ve been working at on and off for the last seven years. It’s a non-fiction book, part memoir and part the story of a corner of wartime history which which has haunted me since childhood. The book will be released in May next and includes my own story of going back to England to take a fresh look at the place where I spent my childhood, and to meet the people involved in this wartime story. I will post more about this in the new year.

I am working on another novel which will be released in 2016, provided I get on with it quickly over the next few months!

One of the things that many writers do with their blogs is share details of their exciting social lives. But I live a rather quiet life, going to work at the university, sitting at home writing or reading, pottering in the garden. I quite often meet friends for breakfast or dinner and spend time with my family, but I do avoid large social functions. I turned 70 this year and am loving this time of my life, but also allowing myself to slow down a bit and rest when I need to. My lovely dog, Toby, takes me for a walk twice a day. If you haven’t seen a photo of him here’s one of us together.

Toby and Me

Toby and Me

Toby was nine this year and I’ve had him for almost two years, he was a rescue dog and rather nervous and anxious when I got him. Now, however, he is totally chilled out, and also totally in charge. We have a lot of lovely conversations and he always agrees with me – obviously a dog of great good sense!
So at the end of this year I wish you all a very Happy Christmas a peaceful and rewarding New Year, in which I promise to stay in touch more often. Here’s to a year of great reading pleasure for all of us.