Stories from Paris – Guest Post by Alex Christofi

Today I am delighted to welcome Alex Christofi to my blog. Alex’s first novel, Glass (which I review here), was longlisted for the Desmond Elliot Prize and won the Betty Trask Prize. His follow up, Let Us Be True, was published this week (my review is here). In this guest post he shares his thoughts on five real places from the book, and the stories from them that he had to include.

 

While researching my new novel, Let Us Be True, I became fascinated by the history of Paris. Wherever I looked, there were incredible stories to be found, of pioneering gardeners, hidden wine cellars, put-upon architects and bloody clashes in the streets. A few of these stories I couldn’t let go, and they made it into the novel: here are my five favourites.

1 – The Tour d’Argent

Overhead, the clouds bruised and cracked. There was a brief flash of lightning, the thunder inaudible behind the glass. He was in the world’s oldest restaurant, eating duck with a stranger who had just punched him in the head.

This Michelin-starred restaurant lays claim to being the oldest restaurant in the world, purportedly founded in 1582. Their speciality is the pressed duck, which was traditionally eight weeks old, fattened for fifteen days and then strangled, to retain the blood. The wine list is also 400 pages long. It has a great literary heritage, having been referenced not only by Marcel Proust and Ernest Hemingway, but also the 2007 Pixar animated adventure Ratatouille.

2 – Nanterre

Ralf followed the road, hoping to ask someone for directions. Next to the cleared land of the building site was an improvised town, laid out in rows to give the impression of planning, of order – a place where great pride and care presided over mud and scrap metal.

Nanterre is a fascinating place, though a little off the tourist beat. Once an improvised slum (a bidonville or ‘jerrycan town’) housing poor Algerian immigrants, who sometimes found it difficult to rent in the city either because of the cost or because of the prejudices of
landlords, the University of Paris bought a site there and built a huge brutalist campus, a little like the Barbican, but uglier and easier to navigate. The Nanterre campus would be one of the epicentres of the 1968 student protests, which spread and developed over the course of the spring into full blown riots and a general strike, bringing the whole country to a halt.

3 – The Tuileries

‘You know what they do to silk moths?’ said Elsa. ‘They boil them alive and unravel the whole cocoon using tiny looms.’
‘I didn’t know that.’
‘No. All sorts of things have happened here. I think it’s untoward for a garden to have so much history.’

The Tuileries in the centre of the city might look like an oasis of calm, but they are probably the most eventful gardens in the world. Named after the roof tilers that used to work there before Catherine de Medici bought the land, the garden was the site of the one of the first hot air balloon flights. At one point, they were vast royal gardens, and the head gardener decided to grow mulberry trees to foster a domestic silk industry there. Robespierre had a weird secular festival there, burning mannequins that represented an idiosyncratic group of sins (one of them was ‘False Simplicity’). It was a Russian garrison after the fall of Napoleon, and was also, at one point, used to store artwork looted by the Nazis – a Monet was seriously damaged in a shootout during the liberation.

4 – the Pont Saint-Michel

A police van pulled up at the far end of the bridge, and another on their side, at the entrance to Saint-Michel Métro.

An innocuous bridge metres from some of Paris’s tourist hotspots, the Pont Saint-Michel was the site of a terrible massacre of peaceful protesters by the police. On 17 October 1961, men, women and children were peacefully protesting against the curfew that had been set for all Muslim citizens. The Algerian War had been going on for years, with atrocious violence on both sides, and trust between communities was at a nadir. Unfortunately, a sub-section of the police were right-wing nationalists – in fact, the head of police at the time was Maurice Papon, who had collaborated with the Nazis during the war to deport Jews. The police violently suppressed the protest, beating people with long white batons and throwing them off the bridge into the Seine. There is no official death toll, but estimates are in the dozens.

5 – the Tour Eiffel

He looked out at the city. The sun backlit the dark clouds in chiaroscuro and for a moment broke through, catching each drop of rain so that the sunlight fell not just on surfaces but everywhere at once, manifested endlessly through the air.

The Eiffel Tower had to turn up at some point, didn’t it? You can’t visit the city without the tower peeking through the gaps between buildings, especially now that it’s equipped with that bizarre light which seems to have been inspired by the Eye of Sauron. Paris is unimaginable without it, but when it was built, poor Gustave Eiffel was the most hated architect in France. In 1887, a group of writers and artists clubbed together to petition against it, competing to see who could hurl the best insult (my personal favourites are ‘tragic street lamp’ and ‘barbarous mass overwhelming and humiliating all our monuments and belittling our works of architecture’). How times change.

 

This post is a stop on the Let Us Be True Blog Tour. Do check out the other blogs taking part, detailed below.

Let Us Be True is published by Serpent’s Tail and is available to buy now.

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Interview with Sanjida Kay #TheStolenChild

Today I am delighted to welcome back to my blog, Sanjida Kay, who is celebrating the publication of her second psychological thriller, The Stolen Child. You may read my review of this deliciously chilling story here. Sanjida kindly agreed to answer some questions which I put together as I read the book. I hope you find her answers as interesting as I did.

1. Publicity for books these days takes many forms. I enjoyed watching the book trailer (see below) and the interview you posted on YouTube about the inspirations for the book (also included below). I know that, amongst your many roles, you have worked in broadcasting. Was it your choice to use these media to promote your book?

Thank you so much for having me back to your blog, Jackie! I’m glad you liked them! I’ve spent years working as a TV director and presenter, so it’s fun to be able to use those skills, particularly in something as creative as a book trailer. Cameraman, Rob Franklin, shot one of my BBC documentaries, and contacted me recently to ask if we could work on a book-related project. Not only did he do an amazing job filming the trailer and the Q&A, he enlisted the help of a drone pilot, Jack Stevenson, who shot some incredible footage of Evie when she’s lost on the moor, wearing only her Frozen dress.

2. I love the jacket design for The Stolen Child and this is brought to life in your book trailer. Did you have any say in the picture used?

It was a shock when I had my first novel published at the age of 25, to discover that authors have NO say in their book covers. I’m so fortunate to be published by Corvus Books, though, as I’ve loved both the book jacket for Bone by Bone, my first thriller, as well as the second one for The Stolen Child. I think their design has perfectly captured the colour, the wildness and the desolation of the West Yorkshire moors.

3. The undercurrent of unease that pervades the story had me suspecting just about every character introduced. Did you know how each their roles would play out when you started writing them?

I had a brilliant brainstorming session with crime writer, Sarah Hilary, when I first came up with the idea for The Stolen Child. She suggested I make a number of characters sound suspicious and I’m glad I did. When I began writing, I knew who would be a suspect, and how, to a certain extent, but I hope I’ve managed to push that sense of distrust all the way through.

4. One of the themes in the book is trust and how fragile it is under pressure. With your imagination, do you ever catch yourself pondering the secrets your acquaintances may hold?

I suppose it’s no great surprise that my PhD was on Theory of Mind, which is essentially how we know what other people are thinking. Apparently, most of us can cope with up to six levels of ‘intentionality’, which could go something like this:

Does she know that I know that I think she’s wondering who else knows what she knows about what her sister believes is her half- sister’s secret?!

So, yes! Bone by Bone and The Stolen Child tap the commonly perceived threat in dark, lonely locations.

5. Has writing such disturbing stories affected the way you react to, for example, looking outside when alone in your house at night with your daughter, or walking in isolated locations?

Like many women, I will often choose not to walk home at night or to go for a run in isolated places because of the potential danger. I feel a lot safer in the countryside than I do in the city, though. But I don’t suppose watching seven seasons of The Walking Dead has helped my anxiety levels!

6. Your protagonist in The Stolen Child is an artist. Have you ever tried your hand at painting?

I took an A level in art, but I didn’t carry on painting for long after that. I’d love to have the time to return to it at some point. Luckily, I’m friends with a brilliant artist, Elaine Jones, and I grilled her on how she paints, as well as how she manages to juggle being an artist, with bringing up two small children.

7. And finally, you mentioned you brainstorming session with Sarah Hilary and thank her in the book’s acknowledgements. Does hanging out with other authors of dark, twisty thrillers affect the way you think?

Bristol is a brilliant place to live if you’re a novelist: it’s full of talented thriller writers, such as CL Taylor, Jane Shemilt and Gilly Macmillan – and Sarah is nearby, in Bath. It’s certainly refreshing to be able to meet up now and again and have an in-depth chat about writing with people who understand what you’re going through and can cheer you along the way. We’re all quite normal on the surface.

Thank you so much Sanjida, I love the hint of suspicion you have left us with there!

Now, doesn’t the book look fabulous?

The Stolen Child is published by Corvus Books and is available to buy now.

 

Author Interview: Angela Readman

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Today I am delighted to welcome Angela Readman to my blog. Angela is an award winning short story writer and poet. Her new poetry collection, The Book of Tides, has been described as Northern Gothic, touching on feminism and mythology. My review may be found here.

Although I like to think that I read a fairly eclectic mix of books I am aware that I can be less open in my reception to poetry. The Book of Tides is, however, a literary feast.

I was interested to learn more about this young writer’s creative process. Please welcome to neverimitate, Angela Readman.

Where do you typically write?

I have a little desk in the corner of a room. It fits perfectly. It is old, a bit battered, but it’s mine. It was a present from my husband for our wedding anniversary. He put a small notebook in each of the drawers. It’s quite special to me because I knew he was trying to encourage my writing, most people I knew just thought it was a strange habit.

Tell us about your writing process

It’s quite different for poetry and prose. With poems, it usually starts with a line. Even if it’s inconvenient, words show up and stick with me until I do something about it. I have to scribble on the backs of envelopes and post-its I find all over the place. Poems can be quite persistent, even if you’re in no mood to write some won’t leave you alone.

There’s one poem in The Book of Tides called The Woman with No Name that was so guilty of this. I wasn’t writing poetry at the time, I was working on finishing my short story collection, but this line kept bothering me, ‘I wake and can’t remember my name.’ I’d be in the shower and I’d have to say it out loud, then I knew the next line and I had to continue. I had to write the poem just so it would stop haunting me. I almost didn’t want to, it’s a poem so full of grief I knew writing it would leave me feeling shattered, but I had to do it to get some peace.

Once I’ve written a poem, I leave it alone. I’ll come back later and whittle it down. I remove as much as I can, a bit here, a bit there, until I can take out no more.

It’s a different process for a story. I don’t start with a line. I start with a vague idea. It’s something like developing a strange obsession for a short time, something will catch my eye, or make me feel a certain way, and I have to know more about it. I don’t usually know what a story is really about until after I’ve started writing it, then it surprises me.

Tell us about your publishing experience

I’ve found the publishing experience is so different for poetry and prose. The way a lot of prose writers go about it is: find an agent who’ll approach publishers. It really helps take the sting out of it. I was shortlisted in the Costa Short Story Award and an agent approached me. By the time I discovered I was shortlisted again, the following year (when I won) I already had a contract for Don’t Try This at Home on my desk, all ready to sign. I was lucky.

It’s different for poetry. Poets don’t have agents, so it can be a bit of a slog to find a publisher. When I started out, a few small presses gave me a shot, but publishing changes so quickly. Those places either folded, or changed their focus. I found looking for a publisher so daunting I didn’t think I’d do a poetry collection again, but I kept submitting to competitions and journals anyway. I did this for years. I wanted to prove my poems were OK before I bothered a publisher. It’s amazing I found one really. For years, I did just about everything I could do as a poet, other than a book.

I submitted to Nine Arches because of Jo Bell and the 52 project. I found some lovely people in the group were really encouraging. Sometimes someone would ask about my next poetry collection and I felt sort of ashamed to admit I wasn’t doing one. I hadn’t looked, in all this time. I’d given up on the idea. It was shocking.

In what ways do you promote your work

It can be quite difficult to promote poetry. I’m not a performer, sadly, though I used to work really hard to try and be. It never quite worked out. I’d make myself ill with anxiety and came home with one book sale. It wasn’t worth losing a week’s sleep over it.

An audience can always tell when you’re not comfortable, I think. They know when you’re standing there trying to be something you’re not, and respond accordingly. There are so many wonderful poetry performers these days, the audience expects more than ever. They have paid for their ticket, they deserve a lot more than I can give them.

I do all I can online instead. I work hard at sending to anthologies, journals and magazines, and hope it reminds people I’m here. That’s all I can do really. keep working, keep writing, and hope the work wins people over one reader at a time.

What are some of your current projects

I’m working on a few things. I wrote a story collection some people loved, so, of course, all other people ask me about now is a novel. I smile politely and work on something I’m not willing to show anyone yet. I dream of doing a little flash fiction collection sometime. I’m also writing short stories. I have a title for my next story collection, and I’m working on it. Last week, I finished my first story commission, with any luck my story will be on Radio 4 next year (fingers crossed!).

Where can my readers find you?

Twitter: angela readman (@angelreadman)

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Angela Readman’s stories and poems have appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines, including London Magazine, Staple, Ambit and Mslexia, and she has won awards including the National Flash Fiction Competition. In 2012 she was shortlisted for the Costa Short Story Award for ‘Don’t Try This at Home’ – an award she would go on to win in 2013 with the story ‘The Keeper of the Jackalopes’. Her previous collections of poetry include Strip (Salt, 2007). The Book of Tides is her third collection of poems.

 

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The Book of Tides is published by Nine Arches Press and is available to buy here.

Interlude: freedom for whom?

There have been changes in my little household, subtle shifts that affect us all. I suspect that the rest of my family do not recognise the impact that these have on me. Where they see a chance for freedom and expect to be accommodated as they enjoy this interlude in their lives, I find that my quiet days are now constantly interrupted. I have lost my privacy and ability to structure my days.

It was a relief for all when exam season finally came to an end last week. Although my boys still have their music practicals in mid July, the importance of these is not so great that they need cause undue stress. I am enjoying listening to them practice, live music in the house is always welcome.

Daughter was away for five days, on a science field trip with school, returning last night to clean up and sleep before leaving early this morning for a university open day. She has two more of these planned, a chance for her to glimpse her future. She has a busy month ahead with work experience at a hospital followed by a holiday with her writer friends. She sways between wanting me to leave her in peace and needing me to sort so much out for her.

Elder son is now at home much of the time, sleeping through the mornings and then staying up into the wee small hours. I try not to interfere. At sixteen he needs to find his own space and I am grateful that he is home rather than out who knows where. He does not understand my life and often gives me a hard time over my choices. I can only hope that this is a phase he will grow out of, that empathy will return.

Younger son still has school, the only one of us who has not seen a shift in the everyday. I try to engage with him, but he wishes to spend his time on line with his friends. I am assured by other parents that his behaviour is normal. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges of parenting teens is going with the flow, allowing these emerging young adults to be.

Yesterday husband finished his contract with work, he is looking for another but we cannot know how long that will take. Thus he too will now be home, wanting to make use of his time. He has tasks lined up that need doing around the house and garden, but I am wary of what he will expect from me. I feel a need to guard my space, to ensure that I do not allow my hard won if still fragile status as a writer to be swept away.

I have found myself in a place that I am enjoying immensely: reading books; writing reviews; creating stories. The interactions with authors and publishers on line is fascinating, a world I aspire to get to know better. The books I am given to read feed me with thought provoking new experiences, offer me challenges as I tease out the reviews from the swirling emotions evoked by the writing. I like it here, I like to immerse myself in these worlds.

Yet how can I resent when a loved one asks for a meal, a cup of tea, a chance to chat? When my company is sought I have no wish to decline. They will each move on in time as work is found, school resumes. I wish to appreciate the time they spend with me without losing the inroads I have made into carving out a space for myself where I feel fulfilled, accepted, even valued from time to time.

Of course my family will always come first, but I fear losing the sense of self that I have finally gained. I find it hard that some cannot see value in what I do because it is unpaid, I am still reliant on my husband to support me. I recognise that privilege and am grateful for it, hoping that I can be a better family member by being happier in this life that I am leading.

Finding balance is always a challenge, giving time and attention to those who matter whilst not giving away what I am, what I wish to become. I value this space with my books and my writing. I wonder can I find a way to share it.

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There is no map for the future

When I was fourteen years old I had no idea what career I wished to pursue, what I did know was that I wanted independence. As I grew up in a family oriented, conservative community, independence meant getting away. Had I stayed close to my family home I would have been unable to live my life in whatever way I chose because my family would have considered that those choices reflected back on them and would have been distressed that I did not show them the consideration that they deserved.

It took me nearly a decade to achieve my goal. I remember the first time my parents came to visit me in the small flat I had bought in Wiltshire, a few months after I landed my dream job across the Irish Sea. My mother was in tears within a day because I was not cooking as she suggested. I had given my parents the only bedroom to sleep in while I kipped on the sofa, and mother went through my wardrobe commenting critically on my new clothes. It was a tense visit. I love my parents dearly, and know that they love me beyond measure, but I need to be free of the restraints within which they would still try to hold me.

I have now lived with my husband for longer than I lived with my parents. Sometimes I find him trying to steer me in a direction that he sees as right because it is right for him. I feel the same resentments welling up that I felt all those years ago when my parents were urging me to live in a manner that they believed was best for me. I feel myself pushing against the restraints.

Self determination matters to me. For the years when I was raising three young children, they were the focus of everything I did. Now that they are old enough to be making many of their own choices, I find that I am at a junction in my life. I need to ensure that I go forward from here in a direction that suits me. I need to speak up for what I want and am finding it hard to convey this to my loved ones.

For now, my younger son accepts me for what I am. My daughter gets it most of the time. My elder son is more focused on moulding me to fit in with his perceptions of life in much the same way that my parents did.

I am fortunate that my husband is willing to support me, he allows me to be what I want even if he cannot always understand why. I am surrounded by love, but I need to find the words to explain to my family that I still require freedom to live within our nest in whatever manner I choose. I still need my independence.

At fourteen I knew where I wished to go but not the details of how I would achieve my goals, I feel that I am at a similar stage now. I am putting out feelers with my writing but am still finding my way. I am moving between writing sites, between fiction, book blogging and random posts such as this. I am active on social media but flit between building my presence as reader, writer, reviewer, commentator. I have been welcomed by so many on line communities, yet am unsure where best I fit. It is exciting, it is daunting.

Looking back on my life, many of the significant choices were made with no real idea of the impact on my future. My choice of job led me to my husband which led me to this life I lead now. I would not change where I am for the world. I will continue to fight for the detail, for my right to be the person I need to be. I will trust God, as I have always done, that where this leads me will be for the best.

I have no idea if my writing is good enough, if it is worth pursuing as anything more than a hobby. I am unsure if I am ready to devote the time that would be necessary to make it more than this. My family will always come first, but they will need to accept that I am a being in my own right. It is challenging stepping out into the unknown, especially as this time I wish to bring my loved ones with me.

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Author Interview: Sarah Benwell

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Sarah Benwell writes fiction for young adults. She has a particular fondness for travel and foreign places, both in real life and in her stories. Alongside her writing, Sarah delivers literacy workshops for teenagers and works on various social media and online websites.

She is an advocate of diversity, in life and on bookshelves. Her involvement with Diversity League has recently gained prominence through the amazingly successful #WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign.

I first became aware of Sarah’s work when her name started to crop up amongst the outer circle of my daughter’s writer friends; there is nothing like a personal contact, even if a few times removed, to generate interest. Having investigated the work that she and others are doing to raise awareness of the current lack of diversity in popular fiction for young people, I knew that I wanted to know more.

Please welcome to neverimitate, Sarah Benwell.

Where do you typically write?

The short answer is, ‘anywhere I can’. The long answer: I’d prefer to write on trains and planes, deep in the jungle or lakeside in The Serengeti. And I sort of do – I always have a notebook with me – but I also find it really hard to write for any length by hand, so the majority of it gets done at my desk, surrounded by my wall of post-it notes.

Tell us about your writing process.

Hm. I think this is always an evolving thing. I recently realized that, despite always maintaining that I only have the brainspace to work on one project at once, I currently have seven on the go (what? I don’t even know how that happened!). And before the latest WIP I would have sworn that the hardest part was always the first 8k, but this time the hard part kept on going.

I can tell you that for me, situation and character appear almost simultaneously. It’s like ‘how would I/ someone deal with this weird/ awful/wonderful thing?’ and invariably a character who would find themselves in that situation– usually someone from an entirely different kind of life to my own – walks into my head.

And I can tell you that diversity is always at the heart of what I do. I’m fascinated by the perpetual difference:sameness of us all, and all the facets of that. My world isn’t populated by white, middle class, straight. cisgendered, able-bodied, neuro-typical protestants who all live in the west, in nuclear families, with identical problems. But it doesn’t mean we can’t relate. Life isn’t just one story, and I don’t want my books to be, either.

And because I’m usually writing (at least in part) as an outsider, I try to be careful and respectful; to do everything I can to ensure fair, accurate representation. Research is important. Experience or firsthand accounts, insider knowledge and opinions are essential. Seeking out art (in all its forms) and observing the way language works and always, always asking questions (and listening to the answers). We’re lucky. The internet opens all those doors; we just have to seek them out.

Tell us about your publishing experience.

If you want the full and lengthy story, you can read more about the journey to my first book deal here. Since that deal, I’ve been very, very lucky to work with the wonderful Becky Stradwick at RHCP UK, and with the brilliant David Gale at S&S US. They have very different approaches, and I’ve benefited hugely from that. Plus, it’s kind of nice to know that the ‘no one way’ rule applies everywhere, not just to writers. Diversity FTW.

In what ways do you promote your work?

I don’t, as such. I mean, it would be lovely if people seek out my writing (it’s not out yet, or I might slip a shameless plug in here) but I’m not entirely comfortable yet with the idea of self promotion as an active, deliberate thing.

What I do, though, is interact. Not for sales and gaining interest, but because I love this world that we live in. I love being part of the writing community (IRL and online), whether that means running workshops that enable teens to engage with their creative selves, beta-ing for Twitter friends or just being there.

I’m also, er, not good at keeping quiet about the things which are important to me. If there’s a book I love, you’re going to hear about it (and so will the author, probably). I talk about articles I’ve read, and am always on the lookout for discussions, especially where YA/ publishing/diversity are concerned. I want to be well informed. I want the tools to make a difference. And I want my friends to be too, because no one can do that alone.

It’s not about my work. It’s about ours, and the collective difference we can make to the world.

What are some of your current projects?

I can’t talk about everything. You’d be bored in 5 minutes. But my current WIP moves away from the stillness of Last Leaves, and into the land of Bollywood. It’s mad. Mumbai is a pretty crazy place, and the film industry is even more so. I’m playing with form, and colour and busy rhythms, and blurring the lines between reality and fiction just a little; it’s basically a Bollywood movie, except on the page!

On top of that, I’m collaborating with some wonderful people on things I hope I can share soon, and I have a couple of secret things lined up.

And there’s always my non-writing projects; things like the Young Writers Squad, where I get to work with enthusiastic teens and initiate them into this wonderful, crazy book-world that we live in. Best. Thing. Ever.

Where can my readers find you?

There will be a website, coming soon, but it’s not finished yet.

In the meantime, I’m pretty much always lurking on Twitter, either as Sarah Benwell (@SWritesBooks) or DiversifYA (@DiversifYA).

The Last Leaves Falling is now on Goodreads.

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Sarah Benwell is a YA author, teacher, traveller, mad.

Will always rise to a challenge, even when it involves giant hairy spiders. For lunch.

Lives in Bath, England but prefers living in books or on planes or trains or remote unmapped places.

Advocate of diversity in life and bookcases.

Rep’d by Gill McLay. The Last Leaves Falling is her debut novel, coming spring 2015 from Random House UK.

Time management

Today has been a good day. With the kids back at school and the husband back at work I decided that I needed to try to use my time better. However much I may voice the desire, I cannot create more hours in the day, so I need to improve how I use those that are available.

You’ve heard this before right? I am great at starting each new week with positive plans; not so good at following through for more than a few days. Who knows if I will do any better this time, but I can try.

Over the weekend husband wanted to go walking. I am always happy to get out into the countryside so put aside Sunday for an enjoyable day away. Then I saw the walk that he was suggesting. Wiltshire is undulating and I can cope with that; husband wanted to drive into Wales to the beautiful Brecon Beacons, and his plan was to bag a few mountainous peaks. With my current level of fitness I knew that I would not be able to keep up.

Time was, not so long ago, when this would have been a fine way for me to spend a day. I suggested that husband took eldest son and, despite him offering to do something less strenuous instead, assured him that he should do the walk he wanted without me. I only have myself to blame that I am not capable of such exertions.

After this experience I am determined to do something that will ensure I need not miss out next time. This morning I took myself down to the gym and managed a tough workout followed by a swim. No doubt I will ache tomorrow but at least I have made a start. The challenge will be to keep going, and to eat more healthily alongside.

The older I get the longer it seems to take to feel the benefit of changes to diet and exercise. So much time and effort is needed to achieve what came easily in my younger years. However, I am not yet too old to get fit enough to climb a mountain. All I need is the continuing willpower to effect the change I desire.

Once again I come back to the issue of time, and hence my wish to manage my day better. I want to continue to enter each of the fiction challenges that I enjoy, but also to take part in favoured blog hops. I want to be reading the blogs I follow and leaving comments, something that I have been neglecting recently. I have so many books that I want to read and review I could lose days to this favourite pursuit. If I am to care for my house and family as they deserve then something is going to have to give, and I suspect it is going to have to be the hours that I currently devote to my writing.

Balance is good in life and I am sure that I can find a way to fit in what is truly important. When I see how much others manage to accomplish I realise that I can do better than I have been achieving recently. I do not plan on giving anything up entirely, merely changing how much time I devote to any one thing.

That is the theory, now I need to act. Day one has gone well; onwards and upwards.

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