Working titles: Mounted Games / Making Whoopee
This was a marathon undertaking, to wrap up all the ongoing stories in the Lodes Series, and to finally write that Tash and Hugo sequel following on from French Relations and Well Groomed. What’s more it had to work as a one-off book for readers who have never read anything of mine before. As with all good multitaskers, I thought I’d throw in a ten-month-old baby, another pregnancy, a house move, a new family business and a change of publisher to the mix. But it was all fine, because I love writing about event riders more than anything, and better still there were no tanks in it (see my Lots of Love insight)…plus the wonders of modern technology meant I got to ride around Badminton via a headcam on YouTube with a newborn asleep in a Moses basket under my desk, so research was a cinch. I still love this book, which is full of heart and horses and Hugo. He remains my number one hero.
Kiss and Tell was originally written for Hodder and Stoughton, who had published me from the start, but when they took one look at the monster mss and wanted to cut out almost all the horses, I moved rather hot-headedly to Little, Brown who were determined to launch me as ‘the new Jilly Cooper’, a comparison I’ve long born and am immensely flattered by (despite being far muddier and less posh).
Trivial fact: We shot a promotional video at the stable yard where my partner Sam coached at the time, and the videographer suddenly decided he wanted some ridden shots. The only horse available was Sam’s Friesian dressage schoolmaster, so I can be heard crooning on about three-day eventing while Sam piaffes about on a horse you’d no more see at Burghley than you’d see a vintage Rolls in the Gumball Rally.