SUMMER CLOTHES What is it with clothes shop changing rooms? Why must they be coffin-sized spaces with one remorseless fluorescent tube overhead? In Bentalls I found one corner of my cell where the lighting didn't make me look like Gollum and squashed myself in to The Position* to view myself in each garment. If you're interested, this summer I've gone for a Grace Kelly on safari look (white capri pants, linen shirt, ankle strap shoes). This Grace Kelly, however, is size 14, with plasters on her heels and a smidgeon of Vienetta in her fringe.
*The Position = tummy in, shoulders back, chin up, look of girlish hope on gob.
THE WRITING PROCESS For book seven (I'm almost finished!) the plan is airtight. Nailed down. Bullet proof. I jog from plot point to plot point and it's reassuring to have my path mapped out, and, crucially, it's also very fast. For my male love interest I watched old Cary Grant films (not a chore!) to imprint his very male, very glamorous appeal on my mind. The really old black and white ones generally feature a sparky girl who doesn't make it easy for Cary: their banter is fast and irreverent and modern. But it's always romantic: we know Cary wants her and we know he'll get her. She doesn't go down without a fight – they circle each other, each giving as good as they get, each fancying the (beautifully cut) pants off each other.
My current hero, a Hollywood-style handsome devil, is a departure from my usual 'slowburn' males, but if I do my job right, this chap will have you at hello.
THINGS I'LL DO WHEN MY HUSBAND DIES Go round Ikea really slowly. Looking at everything.
WHAT I'M READING The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis. Just the best company, I'm snuggling up with Martin every night for half an hour before sleep. How he makes me laugh out loud while contemplating death I don't know.
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. Despite the manifold charms of Rpattz I don't 'do' werewolves and vampires (Buffy being the honourable exception) but this book is a thing apart from run of the mill teeny horror. It's a 'proper' book, literary in its aspirations, and a thriller, too. Werewolf sex, by the way, is rude.
Muriel Spark The Biography by Martin Stannard. I love Spark for, well, her sparkiness, how her writing fizzes and sparkles. Even before I wrote for a living I devoured biogs of writers, and this is my go-to book at the moment for a dose of pre-internet London literary life. It's taking its time, and it can feel stodgy, but I feel I'm getting to know the mercurial, ageless woman.
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MAVIS Our boggle eyed lodger was AWOL for a few days this week, and now I know why. She was in L.A. at the invitation of Hugh Hefner, having her photograph taken. Mavis, you'll agree, maintains her customary hauteur despite her position on the lap of a knickerless lady smoking a pipe.