The last few weeks have brought with them a renewed sense of hope, optimism and excitement. Sadly, not about the planet generally – which seems to be going to hell in a handcart – but specifically about my, ahem, writing career.

This year has been a steep learning curve – and a roller coaster of emotion. Back in March, when I signed a two-book contract with Bookouture, I was giddy with excitement, not to mention disbelief that a publisher of Bookouture’s size, calibre and clout would want anything to do with me – let alone to publish two books I’d written. And then the scary truth dawned. The deadlines, the expectation. The fact that I’d have to write a whole book from scratch, while working on the edits of my original submission, all within a few months.  How could this be possible?

Well I’m ashamed to say that this is where lockdown has been my friend. The global impact of Covid has been catastrophic and if I could invent something to jettison the virus into the stratosphere, I’d do it in a heartbeat like any sane person.  Yet in my own selfish little author bubble, without the distraction of a social life, my writing has thrived and somehow, I’ve managed to work smarter and faster than ever before.

Now, as I approach the launch of one finished book, my first psychological thriller, The Perfect Liar (Bookouture, from 6th November), and am in a lull between edits of Book Two, I’m taking a moment to reflect and be thankful: to my publisher, Bookouture – crikey they get the job done! And to some early reviewers on Netgalley (the pre-publication review site used as a weathervane by the industry). I am SO chuffed with these wonderful, generous reviews. Not that I kid myself: it’s only a matter of time before the one-star reviews rear up to meet me – that’s the nature of gaining a larger exposure. And you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

But meanwhile, I’m taking a breath to enjoy the moment; to revel in autumn, my favourite season, which is particularly beautiful if you’re lucky enough to live in the country as I do. I’m enjoying having the time to get outside to walk with the pup, and to jog; the time to read, chat to friends and enjoy new finds on NetFlix – The Duchess is a complete gem.

I’m making the most of the lull, because in two weeks, I’ll be immersed in structural edits for Book Two – my second thriller for Bookouture, excited but apprehensive all over again.

Happy autumn, all.