After 18 months of remaining in the UK, last month I finally managed to go to Venice, where my next novel takes place. It has been incredibly frustrating writing a story set in the most beautiful city in the world and not being able to go there! So I was thrilled - and sometimes overwhelmed - to have so much to see and do and absorb. I felt like a well that had run dry and was now refilling.

Speaking of wells, there is usually one in every courtyard in Venice. Here is a gorgeous one on Murano, the glass island just off Venice, where much of the book takes place, as it's about a family of glassmakers:

murano well

 You may know that I try to do the things my characters do so that I can describe it with more authenticity. So while in Venice, I made glass beads:

 TC bead making

 And I tried rowing a shrimp-tailed batela - kind of like a gondola but not as hard (it was still hard)!

 TC rowing

 Let me show you the real deal:

Venice gondola

It is almost impossible to take a bad picture in Venice. I don't know about WRITING about Venice, though. So many have gone before me, and avoiding clich├ęs is hard...