Before sitting down to I write Lots of Love, I’d spent a year writing an enormously long, unfinished sequel to Well Groomed in which Tash and Hugo started up a tank driving centre. (I know, isn’t it an awful idea? I was married to an action man who liked to spend weekends in combat gear jumping out from behind buildings with a laser gun, so my mind was warped). ‘Tanked Up’ was truly terrible, despite all the work and the hours and hours writing I had poured into it. The fact my publisher had plans to put me on Chris Eubanks’ Sherman and drive it around Piccadilly Circus as a publicity stunt was all the more reason to throw up my arms in defeat. At the time, it almost broke me.
Lots of Love was my antidote. It took three months to write and absolutely flew out of my fingers, the start of the Lodes Chronicles series set in a fictional Cotswold village not unlike the one in which I was living. It had all the elements I find thrilling to write – the outsider coming in, the bad boy returning, the eccentric locals and lots of dogs and horses – and in Spurs Belling I found a hero I couldn’t have loved more.
Trivial fact: Lots of Love starts with an Auction of Promises in a village hall. It was at one such evening that my local pub landlord bought the chance to have a character named after him in a Fiona Walker book, which is why The New Inn appears throughout the series.