I have been finishing my latest novel Wild & Free, a comedy set at a summer festival. It’s a romantic romp unfolding amid the yurts, outdoor stages, pop-up beauty spas, organic burger vans and funky people at a hip literary and music event.
Since I have been writing it, life has started to imitate art (not the first time this has happened to me). Some of my main characters are a hen party who turn up to the festival (despite the winding country lanes) in a pink stretch Hummer. So obviously Poppy Delevigne, model sister of Cara ‘Eyebrows’, just had a hen party at the Coachella Festival in California! There’s a jewel heist subplot; another character is an escaped thief not unlike the recently recaptured Skullcracker. Oh my prophetic soul, as someone once said!
Yours truly has been going up in the world, both literary and academic. I had a great time just now at the YOU Magazine Book Party Day where I appeared alongside such luminaries as Baroness Trumpington, Robert Peston, Prof Tanya Byron, Kathy Lette and Liz Jones. I talked about my just-published book Gifted & Talented, which is set at a university; the resurgence of the campus novel and my central subject of class in fiction. There was also a cracking tea!
I am about to be made a Doctor of Letters by Derby University. This is a great honour which came completely out of the blue. When the postman arrived with the invitation I excitedly told him all about it. He looked indignant. “It’s me that should be the Doctor of Letters. I spend all day delivering ‘em.” I can hardly wait for the great day; it has been a couple of decades since I last walked through a town in an academic gown. The university are giving me a cap and robes which I am hoping will be the full Thomas Cromwell. More anon.
As I wait for the editor’s notes on Wild & Free, which is the next stage of the publishing process, I’ve been letting off steam doing one of my favourite things, which is bodyboarding. At half term my children and I had a great time riding the waves at Sennen Cove, Cornwall. I’m also as busy as ever reviewing and writing short stories.
You can catch me on popular fiction every fortnight or so in the Daily Mail, and in my regular Country Life column. Other features and short stories I post as I do them - there's a whole archive of both here on the Wendsite. And I do odd (very odd) stuff on Twitter and Facebook too. See you soon!
PS Late extra – my funny festivals feature just published in the Sunday Express magazine. Get a taster of Wild & Free here!