Working Title: Make or Break
In search of a new, more grown-up direction for me, my publisher and agent suggested a ‘high concept’ book. I’d been toying with the idea of a novel called The Visitor’s Book for a while, based on the books I love unearthing whenever we stay in holiday cottages, full of earnest recommendations of local pubs and walks, and complaints about the lack of a potato ricer and can opener. It got me thinking about a book that followed a couple over many years, returning to the same place for just one weekend break a year, sharing this brief glimpse of their lives as progress through big life changes like marriage, parenthood, career shifts, ageing parents. Hence Harry and Jo roll up at Morrow cottage in an ancient Golf GTi in the early noughties, freshly in lust for a lost weekend, and off we go for a decade in their company. It’s got plenty of the usual Walker joie de vivre, but it’s got sharp edges too, which makes it quite different from my other books. The Weekends of You and Me also marked my departure from Sphere after seven years and seven books, a dynamo of a publisher whose trick for reinvention saw me in multiple guises and taught me a great deal.
Trivial fact: I wrote The Weekends in an old dairy building next to the farmhouse we were renting at the time, a space shared with more wildlife than I care to mention.