At University, long, long ago, my friends and I would have dreadfully earnest discussions about whether art imitated life or life imitated art. They almost certainly generated more heat than light.
What we would have decided about Guilty Pleasures I don't know. All I can tell you is that one morning I was up to my ears in preparations for our village fete. Although my main responsibility was collecting books which were subsequently sold on the book stall, I was also baking bread and making jam for the produce stall. When I had the merest moment I checked my emails - you never know what wonderful news you might miss if you don't. That morning I had a lovely greeting from a long-distance friend in Australia, telling me that although she was supposed to be doing housework, she'd found one of my books in the local shop and had succumbed to the guilty pleasure of reading it. Thank you, Vanja.
Guilty pleasures - what a good title for a Lina novel, I thought, especially as I'd joked with my kind editor at Severn House that we ought to have a whole series involving the word Guilt in the title. (Thank you, Steph and Shane, for a lot more title suggestions.)
By this time I could smell that the bread and jam needed attention. However hard I tried to put the idea to the back of my mind - jam's demanding stuff, even if bread isn't - it wouldn't let me go. Why not, whispered something in my head, use a fete like this as the start of your next novel, Guilty pleasures?
So the next batch of bread, the next jars of jam, not to mention the great piles of second hand books to be boxed up, had to wait. I was back in my office, typing the magic words, Chapter One. The rest, of course, is fiction.
Severn House Publishers Ltd
26 May 2011
Cutler's intriguing third mystery… an enchanting mix of murder and antiques