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"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Jun 12, 2023

Author on the Move

Recently I returned to England, for numerous reasons--several personal, some professional. The weather, as evidenced by these photographs, was perfect--only five minutes of rain the entire time I was there, which fell on me during a short walk to the village post office. But no more after that!

The flowers were abundant, especially the wisteria in Somerset.

At Barrington Court

At Forde Abbey

Over the border in Dorset: Forde Abbey, so many water features

Montacute House, Somerset-every time I'm there, it's sunny!

Many of the places on my itinerary were chosen because of ancestral connections. I hadn't been to Glastonbury since my teen years, and it was wonderful to visit the Abbey ruins again. The famous Glastonbury Holy Thorn was flowering.

Holy Thorn

Glastonbury Abbey

About a fortnight before my arrival in the family village that serves as my base, the little river running through it burst its banks during heavy rains. By the time I was there, it was gently flowing once more, but homes and businesses suffered greatly 

Our little river, no longer flooding

In the village

I visited a series of ancestral properties--and churches.

My ancestors once owned this manor house.

In a different village church, my relatives' effigies

An ancestress in another church

Moving on to Gloucestershire, I visited many more family manors and churches. And I had the opportunity to stay in this one!

View of the rear facade from the canal

Making myself at home in the former family manor house

After leisurely time in the countryside, I had a rather busy schedule in London. 

View of Mayfair and more from a hotel skybar

I appeared in the documentary being filmed in this location

At the British Library, I renewed my Reader's Card

Visiting my favourite rose garden, in Hyde Park

I'm always glad to return to the Ritz!

This grand staircase at the Ritz appears in my contemporary novel

A highlight of my time in the city was attending the exhibition "Style and Society: Dressing the Georgians" at the Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace.

A magnificent court gown

I was framed!

A double portrait by Hogarth, with special significance for me

Beautiful laburnum

My return home plunged me into plenty of activity--two writers' conference (presenting at both), several upcoming media interviews (print and broadcast), having my author photos updated, and my annual Rose Party/Open Garden, when neighbours and friends come to admire my 190+ rose bushes at peak bloom. Oh, and finishing Novel #17, the sequel to my contemporary novel. Plus spending leisure time at the lake house, with my husband and our dog.

On the lakeshore with Dot