Newsletter no.175, June 1st, 2021

Everything has gone very quiet, lately. . .

I haven’t heard from my editor, who was supposed to be sending me the copy editor’s queries for False Face, my last Bea Abbot story. These were supposed to arrive before the end of May . . .! So yes, the silence is unnerving. I think we can be sure that the queries will arrive – demanding IMMEDIATE attention – just as I am in the middle of writing an exciting development in the next book. Do I then stop work on Ellie? Do I pretend the queries have got lost in the post and set them aside until I have worked through whatever it is that I’m writing at the moment?

Meanwhile, life continues . . . or rather life in general seems to be improving as various sanctions are lifted. I have met for coffee with friends on several occasions. I’d forgotten how good it was to see people face to face, to drink really good coffee and perhaps be tempted by a slice of cake. Sometimes, I share a slice of cake with a friend which makes both of us feel we are observing our diets because we’re not eating a full piece. And, as we all know, there are no calories in broken biscuits.

The garden has blossomed with all the rain we’ve been having. The first roses are out! My miniature lilac is now taller than me, and a mass of flowers. But the grass grows and grows and grows and it’s too wet to mow it.

The short story which comes with this . . .

. . . is called ‘You Can Do It!’ Writers people-watch. We observe and remember. It may be months or years until the memory of how a certain person looked, acted or spoke can suddenly resurface in the mind and we use the recollection to cast a light on whatever it is we’re working on.

For example; I sat watching the activity in a children’s playground one day. There was one particular piece of equipment which only the older children attempted; a miniature climbing wall. Nearby sat a mother with a much younger child . . . aged five, perhaps? Maybe six? The child kept looking at the wall and then looking back to her mother for reassurance. The mother said, in matter-of-fact tones, ‘You can do it!’ She had assessed the situation, understood the level of difficulty involved and believed the child could do it. Yes, the child had a struggle to reach the top, but she did conquer the wall. I’ve always remembered that word of encouragement and imagined how her mother’s words would have helped that child to face the obstacles which life would throw at her. You can access the story here.

And the new book? Yes, it’s coming along all right. And I’m still assuming that the title is going to be Murder by Estate Agent.

A blessing on all who encourage others by saying, ‘You Can Do it!’

Veronica Heley