Reasons to be 40

1. I often dream of the house in which I grew up. It was Victorian with four storeys, on a quiet street in Islington. My bedroom was on the top floor. I slept on my parents’ marital mattress: a Heal’s mega-king-sized, squashed between wall and table on a too-small frame. I spent many hours lying…

Intelligent readers

About six months ago, I joined a writer’s group. We meet once a month and critique each other’s work, all prose fiction: sometimes an extract of a novel, sometimes a short story, sometimes a whole novel. The group read my novel (all 105,000 words) and gave me feedback on Monday night. Seven different opinions of…

Mumsnet poetry

Having almost completed the final draft of my second novel, I’ve been thinking about what I’ll write next, and have wondered how writers get their inspiration. There is an argument for closing off from the world, battening down the hatches and limiting outside influences in order to stimulate what’s inside, and preserve energy for that…