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What we did on our holiday

Hello and happy holidays!

You know the old television show Don't Forget Your Toothbrush? It was my laptop I needed to remember when we set off for a two week holiday to France at the beginning of August. About a week before we left I promised my agent that I could deliver my latest book in six weeks. Just one slight problem with this - I hadn't even started it. I had a title and a two page outline, and that was it. Eek!

Full of misguided optimism I told her it would be no sweat - I'd have the finished manuscript with her in time for the 15 September deadline.

So I made sure I packed my trusty laptop as we headed five hundred miles through France to the beautiful Dordogne region.

While the rest of the family sunbathed and swam I locked myself away in the holiday cottage and wrote. And wrote some more. It's amazing how it concentrates the mind, knowing there's a pool waiting for you once you hit your word target for the day.

Luckily we're not talking War and Peace. The new novel is a chapter book for six to nine-year-olds, and will - hopefully - join the same series as The Pony of Tanglewood Farm and Juno's Foal. Talking of which, does anyone remember the circus Leah and the twins visit in Juno's Foal? I saw this in France and had to take a photo. It's just like the one I imagined.

But it wasn't all slaving away at the laptop. There was plenty of time to sit in cafes in beautiful medieval French towns sipping cups of cafe creme watching the world go by, lounge by the pool and explore the miles of cycle tracks that crisscross the region.

Along the way I made a few four-legged friends - the pony who lived in a field down the road from our holiday cottage, a very friendly mule we came across during a bike ride and an amazing iron statue of a horse's head that was tucked away in a garden in the market town of Sarlat.

Anyway, it's all given me lots of inspiration for new stories. And in the meantime I have three weeks in which to finish the new book. So I'd better get cracking!

Hope you are all having a fantastic summer!


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