The Strawberries Have Left The Building

Today I emailed the first draft of a New Book to my editor. This is A STORM OF STRAWBERRIES, to be published by Piccadilly Press next summer. It’s not a sequel to A LIBRARY OF LEMONS, but it’s for the same kind of age group (9-12) and features another girl in an unusual family situation.

Darby is 12 and has Down’s Syndrome. She has an older brother whom she adores, an older stepbrother (not quite so adorable), a mum and a stepdad, and she lives on a strawberry farm. I think that’s all I’ll say for now, but you can probably already guess the amount of research I’ve needed to do. I went to talk to a couple of mums of children with Down’s, and I also visited a real working strawberry farm! The book has had to be written very, very quickly – I started the manuscript on 6th September, to be exact – so I’m fully prepared for it to need quite a lot of work during the editing stage (though obviously, I am filled with the desperate hope that now, finally, I have written the perfect manuscript that won’t need a single word changing. Ahahahahaha!!).

I’ve been on quite a writing treadmill recently. I think I’ve written 100,000 words since the middle of June. It’s not ideal, but GOSH I am glad to have hit this latest deadline! Achievement makes me want to spend money, so I have treated myself to the new range of DC Super Hero Girls:

Back row, l-r: Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Wonder Woman. Front row, l-r: Supergirl, Bumblebee, Batgirl
Back row, l-r: Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Wonder Woman.
Front row, l-r: Supergirl, Bumblebee, Batgirl

I have explained to my daughters that the dolls are MINE but that they may play with them (this anticipates and solves any disputes between them as they appropriate a particular doll). My daughters are THRILLED. Pretend play now includes saving the world. There’s still ‘mummies and babies’ and Barbie stuff, and Disney Fairies, but now we have a whole new world of Girls Doing Awesome Things, and I’m well pleased.

And the best thing about these dolls? They can STAND UP by themselves. Somehow, finally, after YEARS of having to lean dolls against things because they are top-heavy and have stupid feet (Barbie, anyone?), doll designers have invented feet that work. Who knew it was possible for girls to stand on their own?

My eldest daughter is going to a Halloween disco tonight. She wants to go as Poison Ivy, and I bet she’ll be the only one there, amongst the many cats and witches and skeletons. She’s requested green nail varnish which, unsurprisingly, I don’t own. So now I’m off to town to buy some. And I’m going to take a book with me and have an actual coffee in an actual coffee shop and NOT FEEL GUILTY about not writing.



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