Where am I?

The literal answer is that I'm in Dorset, in southwest England. Normally we live in London, but many of the things that make it special - variety, diversity, theatre, restaurants, crowds, culture - we have not been able to enjoy this past year. And with lockdowns and high Covid numbers in cities, we've found it easier and safer to live the rural life, where social distance is the norm and we are surrounded by beauty.

But you are likely a reader and what you want to know is: where am I in the new novel? This morning I am outside of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, a jewel of a church in Venice. It is foggy and my heroine Orsola is discussing men with Klara, a character who is suddenly becoming more important. It is the 18th century, time of Casanova and Grand Tours and Carnival and a certain loucheness. Venice has gone from being the centre of European trade to a party town.

I'm a little over halfway through the novel, and that is always a dangerous time, as you will know from reading plenty of them. Often novels sag 2/3 of the way through. The place and the characters and the situation are all set up, and the ending is clear, but there's time to kill before we can get there. Sometimes writers add new characters or twists or subplots. Sometimes the story just...plods along. I am trying not to let that happen, but push my heroine Orsola into situations that deepen her character and our understanding of her, without it being unnecessary filler. Hard. Next time you read a novel, keep an eye out and see what the writer does at this crucial point.

So, here I am, literally writing in Dorset. Cat and tea optional. Happy summer!

TC writing Plush