‘Footfall is as engaging as it gets. Cassandra James is . . . a terrific character, beautifully honed from seemingly staid academic to feisty heroine . . . a truly breathtaking read.’


The only Arts and Crafts fridge in Britain

Or anywhere else, possibly.

In Footfall, the third of my Cassandra James novels, Cassandra’s husband opens the fridge and one of the plastic racks on the inside of the door comes away. A bottle of milk, a jar half full of olives, and a glass containing sticks of celery crash to the tiled floor.

In the way that writers do, I plundered my own life for this episode, which happened precisely as I described it, except that it was me who opened the door. Our old fridge was in a sorry state, no doubt about it, and anyone else might have decided to buy a new one. But Peter hated built-in obsolescence and the shoddiness of much modern design. Instead he repaired the fridge with fibreglass and made three wooden racks to replace the disintegrating metal and plastic ones.

That was years ago. The fridge doesn’t defrost itself any more and dealing with the jammed up ice box is a bit of a palaver. But it works, the shelves are still sturdy, and I won’t be buying a new fridge any time soon.

R.I.P. Billy

Posted on Jan 5, 2016 in Cassandra James novels, death of a cat | 10 Comments

DSCF0019It was nearly eighteen years ago at the end of January 1998 when a small, long-haired cat turned up at our back door. He was cold and hungry and desperate. We already had two cats. My husband said, ‘if you let that cat in, he’ll be here for good.’ And he was.

He wasn’t small for long, but grew into a large handsome cat. A lot has happened in those eighteen years. Our older children were teenagers when he showed up. They are now in their mid-thirties. He was there when we brought our younger daughter home. He slept on my bed when I was recovering from an unpleasant operation and was waiting to hear if a worse one was in store (it wasn’t, thank God). He sat on my knee and I dripped tears on him when I was grieving after my mother’s death. He slept in my study while I wrote. I even used him in my novels: he was Cassandra’s cat, Bill Bailey, in my Cassandra James series. He was pretty much a one-woman cat, and I was the woman.

Billy died yesterday and we have buried him in the garden where he loved to roam. The photograph is of Billy nine or ten years ago, when he was in his glorious, fluffy prime.

R.I.P. Billy. You are sorely missed.