When I handed in my notice for my part-time job as a Waterstones bookseller, I had no idea that I wouldn’t work my final week in my bookshop, nor would I get to say goodbye to colleagues over leaving drinks because during that final week, all non-essential shops were closed by the Government as the UK went into a Coronavirus lockdown. It was a surreal ending to my six years working for Waterstones, and meant that my plans to make sure I didn’t become a reclusive writer who didn’t leave the house evaporated as we had to all stay inside!
It has been such a difficult time for the world, hasn’t it? I’ve been so grateful to be able to escape into my fictional world to help get through it. As lockdown and my full-time writing career began, I was working towards a deadline, having to finish writing the first draft of the third book in the Glendale Hall series, which will be published this September. It’s called Hopeful Hearts at Glendale Hall, and it really is a book full of hope, and love, family and community, set at Christmas time. I decided I didn’t want to include any mention of lockdown in the book. To me the Glendale books are a form of escapism, the village is so lovely and cosy and I know readers wouldn’t want the characters not to be able to come together to celebrate Christmas. So we can all live vicariously through them in this book! Although the country is slowly opening up, we are still a long way from life as it was before, that’s one thing for certain so I’m glad I can still find the world we used to know through writing.
What has been a good development in this time is the increase in things happening online so I’ve been able to chat to authors and readers, and people in publishing, and I’ve received more messages from people who have enjoyed my books than ever before, people wanting to reach out to tell me my books have helped them escape the real world just a little bit, which has been so lovely.
I’m currently doing final edits on Hopeful Hearts and then I’ll be ready to start writing something new. I am still mainly at home writing stories on my laptop, and I still will be when we hopefully find a way to combat this virus, and I feel really lucky that this is my full-time job now. Even if I have become the recluse I was so worried about becoming!
I’d love to find out how you’ve spent these past three months – please drop me a comment below!