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Books, bread, sheep

bread

Where is the year going? It seems like just a few weeks ago we were crossing our fingers and hoping for a decent summer – and now the togs and towels are packed away for another year and autumn has pretty much arrived in Ireland. For the past few days I’ve been throwing on an extra layer of clothing, trying to resist turning on the heating, but last night I gave in and lit the fire in the sitting room. I pretended it was for my parents who were coming to dinner – my mother in particular, at the ripe old age of 85, feels the cold – but I was pretty glad of it myself too. The Irish summer of 2013 will rank as a pretty good one when we look back though, particularly when we compare it to the last few dire ones, when the sun seemed to be permanently on holidays somewhere else!
In other news, I splashed out and bought myself a bread-making machine. My first effort was atrocious – I was going to post a picture but my pride forbade it. The loaf looked like a mutant mushroom with a whitish-grey top, so you can imagine it yourself. Serves me right for tweaking the recipe. The second one was halfway decent, and the third which I baked yesterday looks promising although I’ve yet to taste it. I’m planning lots of homemade soup and crusty bread this winter. (The accompanying pic actually shows loaves I baked before the arrival of the machine – not bad, hey? Wondering now in fact why I bothered getting the machine…)
On the books front, the sequel to One Summer (title still up for grabs) has been very well received by my editor – for the first time she didn’t look for ANY changes before sending it on to the copy-editor, so that’s good. It will hit Irish shelves sometime in the spring (which is just around the corner, at the rate time is flying) – and while I’m waiting for it to come back from the copy-editor I’ve begun a new book (well, you have to keep busy, right?) and I’m about 50 pages in so far. This one is set in a rural Irish community in the middle of winter. It’s going to span just five days and centre around two neighbouring families as they struggle to cope with the aftermath of a traumatic event….quite different to anything that’s gone before. That’s all I’m saying for now – apart from the fact that I need to interview a sheep farmer for some info, which I’m doing tomorrow. He’ll get a kick, I’m sure, from the city girl’s questions, which will reveal the enormous depth of my ignorance regarding all things sheepish. Not sure why I needed to put a sheep farmer into the tale, but he’s there, and must be treated with respect. I’m going to bake my real life farmer a cake in the morning to say thanks – hope he’s got a sweet tooth.
A big thank you to all who get in touch to say nice things about the books: it means more than I can say. The other day I got a lovely email from a reader in New Zealand – wonderful to think of my stories making their way all the way to the other side of the world. Now all I need is for someone to offer me a book tour…..I can be packed in ten minutes.
Take care, and happy days – Roisin xx

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