A very belated happy New Year to you! I’m having a catch-up with myself after a busy December and January, and February has been much of the same.
I spent Christmas in Southwold, Suffolk, in a little cottage sat beneath the lighthouse. Even then I was working. I was up at 6am every day – including Christmas Day – to do some writing. However, I stopped at 9am so I could have a proper holiday too.
It made all the difference: I managed to get my first draft of the third Dundoodle mystery completed on time, and the location helped a lot. Southwold is a very atmospheric town with its quaint streets, crab shacks and smokehouses on the wharf, its rolling dunes and flat marshlands. As the book is a sea-themed mystery there was plenty of inspiration. Look out for mermaids, viking boats and underwater chases! First reactions from my editors have been good, so the edits aren’t too taxing, thankfully.
But I’m getting ahead of myself – never mind about Book Three, Book Two is almost upon us!
The Dentist of Darkness
The second book of The Dundoodle Mysteries comes out on March 7th, which just happens to be World Book Day (in the UK). I’d love to know if anyone dresses up as Archie and his friends for WBD – or even Mrs Puddingham-Pye – so do let me know if you see any Dundoodlers out there. I think they’re quite easy outfits to make…
I’ve already been sent my advance copies, and I’m so pleased with it! Side by side with The Chocolate Factory Ghost, it looks very handsome indeed, thanks to Claire Powell‘s cover. And her illustrations inside are phenomenal. There’s a darkness to this book that’s she’s captured perfectly.
And you can see this for yourself: my publisher has just put the first four chapters online!
I hope that’s given you a taste for more!
All the info for The Dentist of Darkness can be found here, and I’ve just had confirmed that the audio book is in the works too.
Meanwhile, I’ve been creating an activity pack to go with The DoD, containing puzzles and creative writing ideas – you can download the one I created for The CFG here.
One of the activities for the new pack is a recipe for Gingerbread Dragons – they play a important part in the story, but then biscuits are always important. I’d thought I’d better test out the recipe, naturally! They turned out ok, but decorative icing was beyond my abilities – let me know if you do a better job! I can say they’re nice and crisp and great for dunking in tea – the perfect accompaniment for a good book.
Back from a few days of refreshing seaside sun. I love Southwold!
So many different textures and tones to be seen. The coastal landscape is quite stunning.
It always helps when you’ve got decent weather, of course. Fortunately, it was a beautiful week and the town wasn’t busy, as it was the just before the summer season starts in earnest.
Back to work! I had some nice news whilst I was away – hopefully I will be able to share it soon.
Last week was holiday time. I haven’t had such a good holiday in years. It was our first attempt at going on holiday with the dog so we didn’t wander too far. We rented a tiny fisherman’s cottage in Southwold, Suffolk, a few hours drive away from London.
The weather was perfect all week: sunny with a light sea breeze, so just right for lots of walking (and we did LOTS). We even managed a couple of afternoons on the beach too.
It’s a lovely part of the world – people often think of East Anglia as boring because it’s flat. And it most definitely is that.
But it’s wonderfully isolated and hugely atmospheric. Big, windswept skies; smuggler’s creeks hidden by tall, whispering reed beds; soft sun-baked sand dunes; storm-battered shingle bars; salt-bitten fishing boats and drowned towns.
There were even a few cheap but cheerful robots.
Look at those big east country skies! Whoosh!
Southwold harbour. Some great fresh fish and seafood to be bought here. A ferryman will row you across the river for 90p! Otherwise it’s a walk up to a disused railway bridge.
Lots of interesting things buried in the sand for the dog to sniff.
It was our second attempt at introducing the Treacle to the sea, but she didn’t seem that impressed. She was much more excited by the potential of sand for digging. She also had the walkies of her life. We set out early each day for a long walk through the dunes to the harbour and various other parts of the nearby countryside. She’s come back home looking a lot slimmer than when she left.
I’d like to think we have too, but there were too many cream teas, home-made cakes, ice creams, good pub food and local beer (Adnams Brewery has its home in Southwold) so I doubt that’s the case.
Do I look relaxed? Because I was. It was a wonderful week.