A Day In The Life…

I had such an interesting and busy day yesterday that I thought it might be nice to record it here – and perhaps offer a glimpse into a full-time author’s life.

7am Up, shower, breakfast, and get my kids to school.

9am Start work (Starlight Stables Gang Book 2). Last week, the going was very slow and sludgy; this week, I feel better about it though have realised that some restructuring may need to be done. Hmm. Manage to hit 2000 words (which is my daily target when drafting). During this morning period, the dog walker takes my dog Mia out for a race around fields with three other dogs, which she LOVES and which tires her out so that I get longer to write without interruption.

1pm Lunch. I’ve discovered a disgustingly healthy lunch that I really love and I make it to counteract the cake I also like to eat in unhealthy quantities. Fry up a big handful of kale in a wok with oil, garlic puree, salt, pepper and chilli flakes. When it’s softened and starting to crisp, tip onto two pieces of toast (the healthy kind) and drizzle with olive oil. Seriously delicious and makes me feel OK about eating cake later…I also throw the ball around the garden for the dog.

2.30pm Online zoom meeting with Miranda McKearney, one of the founders of EmpathyLab, an organisation I’ve been working for on and off for about five years. We discuss an upcoming training session which I’m contributing to, and also next year’s Empathy Day. I adore EmpathyLab and their work. If you’re reading this and you work in a school, do check them out. The results speak for themselves.

3.30pm Take the dog for a walk in the woods. I love the light at this time of year, and having a dog makes me get up from my desk and take more exercise.

5pm Phone chat with the Chair of the Oxfordshire Book Awards committee. I’m patron of the Awards and very much involved this year in finding books for next year’s shortlist. I’m also hosting the ceremony next month so we talk through the planned programme for the event and discuss tricky issues like lack of parking in Oxford.

6.30pm dinner. Can’t remember what I had. Oh, it might have been cereal. When my kids are with their dad, I don’t always bother to cook.

7.30pm I drive to visit a friend from baby group days who happens to be a trained nurse and who used to work in A&E. In the second Starlight Stables Gang book, one of the characters will have a riding accident, and I wanted to know exactly what the procedure would be on arrival at hospital. Jenny was brilliant, talked me through the tests and questions the nurse would ask, and gave me a whole bunch of literature so that I can make sure my scene is as authentic and accurate as possible.

9pm Home and crash out in front of…uh, Poirot? Part of a film? Can’t remember.

Not all my days are as varied as this one, but it made me feel very lucky again that I get to do something that others dream of.


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