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After months of planning and preparation, my writing retreat starts tomorrow.  Well, technically it starts on Thursday, as I have to drive all day to get to Switzerland, so Wednesday will pass in a blur of channel tunnel, autoroute tolls, midnight stops at McDo, and the gradual upping of the volume of the iPod to keep us awake through the night.  But once I’m there, there’s no backing out: my husband will fly home, and I will be left alone in a little flat, with no Internet or phone, and just a nineteenth century police constable for company.  I have packed my laptop and charger, a printer, a ream of paper, some coloured pens for highlighting, some little stickies for the same, two large hardback picture books of Regency art and architecture for inspiration, my mouse-mat covered with photos of Richard Armitage in “North and South” also for inspiration (it’s too late in historic terms, but you can see here why I bother…) and six packets of McVitie’s biscuits – choccie digestives for days when I write well and deserve them, and plain Rich Teas for the other days.

This morning I called into Heffers to check that they are happy with current stocks of “Fatal Forgery”, and they were very encouraging about “Plank 2” – apparently a sequel always boosts sales of the first volume as well, so that will be welcome.  And they mentioned a Christmas crime fiction event – would I be interested?  I nearly bit the poor man’s hand off.  I’ll keep you posted.

I will try to keep you up to date with my progress on retreat (if one can progress while in retreat).  As I say, I won’t have Internet access to hand, but I will be able to go to wifi zones from time to time, so I’ll do my very best.  After all, this whole retreat business is an experiment: will I write better (particularly as I write historical rather than current fiction) if I can immerse myself without distraction, or will the lack of outside stimulation actually prove a hindrance rather than a help?

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