Now, being married to a writer has its challenges. I speak of course on behalf of The Husband. I often wake at 3 or 4 a.m. and shout – ‘Quick! Write this down!’ as a key idea or feature often jumps into my head at this time. He never grumbles, but simply reaches for a notebook and pen (or iPad) and I dictate to him for a few minutes. I then fall straight back to sleep, but apparently he lays there for quite a while, wondering if I will jumping up again any time soon… Similarly, I wake at 5.45 every day and leap from our bed with a thought that needs to get tip tapped onto my screen.

My brain seems to be at it’s most fertile in the wee small hours and as dawn breaks, I have woken with whole books in my head or great characters or sometimes it is simply an image, a sliver of life that I want to capture. Some you will be familiar with, i.e the final peg scene in ‘What Have I Done?’ And the Barcelona scene in ‘A Little Love.’

We have a little ritual The Husband and I, we have our first coffee of the day, toe to toe on the sofa and I tell him all about my dreams, ideas and musings of the previous night. I always ask him what he dreamed of and he replies every time with ‘I can’t remember.’ This makes me feel very sad, as my dream life is something I treasure and nurture and I know my life would be a lot less rich without it.

Well, JOY UPON JOY! This morning, as we sat toe to toe on the sofa, The Husband grinned at me and said, ‘for the first time in years, I am happy to report that I remember some of my dream!’

‘Yeeeeha!’ I shouted, a breakthrough indeed, ‘what did you dream?’

I sat forward eagerly cupping my coffee to my chest, wanting to hear the detail. He coughed and smiled, ‘I dreamt I was getting a token for the car park.’   …I’m still dumfounded, it’s taken years of patient coaxing and THAT is the best he can do? Jheesh.

Our house is still in the grips of the nasty virus – it’s been nearly ten days and I am only just starting to feel more human. I feel like Sleeping Beauty after a finger prick – I want to sleep 24/7. One of our boys has it and is smack bang in the middle of his exams, I feel so sorry for him. He is finding it impossible to revise and has zero energy – the worst timing possible. Luckily the motto in our house is, ‘they are only exams, and they don’t matter.’ We’ve never thought that academic qualifications are a measure of how clever someone is. Maybe we’re a bit odd in that respect, but I have infinite admiration for anyone that can make something out of wood, but someone that has a First – meh…

I have been writing like crazy and I am loving the novel that I am working on. This one comes out early 2015 and is quite possibly my most explosive in terms of punching you in the gut and taking you on a journey. I think it will be controversial but gripping and as ever, the main character Jessica is someone you will carry in your heart and your head. Oh dear, tearing up as I think of what Jessica is going through. Poor little love.

Don’t know if I have told you this before, but when I write something particularly harrowing (as I have in many of my novels i.e Dot saying goodbye in Clover’s Child and Poppy realising Martin has been taken in Poppy Day) I can’t leave the page like that over night as I can’t bear to think of my characters left like that without knowing what is happening next. I get around this by finishing off the paragraph with something like ‘and they all went to the beach and had a lovely picnic in the sunshine!’ or ‘she found herself in a lovely little seaside café having afternoon tea!’ just so they have a nice time and then in the morning I delete the line and carry on… is that bonkers? Probably.

Right – sun is shining through the window and I have a wedding to attend, not literally you understand otherwise I’d look a bit silly turning up in my pyjamas and my bunny ear headband!

Mandy xx