We discussed and compared our inspiration for starting a book and how we go about our research, avoiding pitfalls and blatant errors. Nina has set her book, The Inheritance, in the horsey world of eventing, so her experience of research is very different from mine. It was both amusing and enlightening. We had a great evening with a keen crowd of readers. For the signings at the end I had to strip off my splint and apologise for the wobbliness of my signature.
The next evening in Westminster Arts Research Library Nina and I were joined by the historian Mackenzie Ford, whose first novel The Kissing Gates is set during World War I. He sat between us, bringing an impressive gravitas to the occasion, and together we answered questions from our audience and from the enthusiastic Dr Sasha who was in the chair.
What struck me forcibly was that however much we differ as individuals, how similar are our work routines and techniques in the way we get ourselves to the end of a book. It's obvious really. Basic self-discipline and gritted teeth. A publisher cracking a whip encouragingly in the background also helps!
I always tell would-be writers that it's not starting a book that counts, it's finishing it. The world is littered with first chapters hiding at the back of drawers, gathering dust. Set yourself achievable goals along the way - and go for it. The most satisfying words in the English language are The End.