I kicked off 2021 with an early night’s sleep…

and if you’re like me you didn’t miss a thing!

Every day, I thank heavens that we live in this lucky country, more obvious now than it’s ever been. I enjoyed a good year.

My new book Duplicity is selling well and continues to enjoy 5-Star reviews on Amazon. But I also started new projects, growing a veggie garden, which many of you have too—thanks for the gardening advice and wonderful photos. Inspiring, except for the heat and rain growing more weeds than tomatoes!

Finally, after wallowing in an end-of-year coma, I set a very doable target of producing 1,000 words a day for my new book, Crow’s Song. It’s a family saga, starting in India during the 1850s then to descendants in Britain and the Netherlands in the 1940s and onwards to today in New Zealand. They are all relatives of the same family and their journey through the centuries.

I’ve started in the middle of this epic, writing about the principal character in WWII, delving deep into the hardship and heartbreak of surviving Nazi occupation in Eindhoven. I base this on my father’s story as a teenager. In a weird way, having completed over 16,000 words so far, I’ve been channelling him. He passed away five years ago, but I can hear him telling me about his childhood stories. It helps that he wrote about 70 typed pages of his war experiences. I found it upsetting, and at others hilarious. He used to talk about those years often to us as children; it became a bit of a family joke.  ‘No Dad, not the war AGAIN!’ I feel guilty now that I didn’t listen more and ask a lot of questions. He told us about stealing coal so his mother and his four siblings had fuel to cook their meagre meals, while his father was working with the Resistance. People were starving in Holland back then, the Nazis commandeered nearly everything for their own war effort, shipping food and equipment back to Germany.

When people complain and grumble about Covid, I think of real survival during war as opposed to eating, drinking and watching Netflix! Human cruelty to fellow humans and animals knows no limitations—but that’s not in my manuscript!!

I want to bring the reader into the main protagonist’s mind and share his thinking. Sounds easy, but after struggling with the best way forward, I’ve written the first tentative chapters in the first person. I’m still not sure if it works but plan to send the first half of Crow’s Song to my Editor and ask if my words draw her into the emotional journey. That will be an interesting conversation!  Or I could end up reworking the entire piece. AAagggghhhhhhh.

Although I have a self-imposed deadline, it’s anyone’s guess if it gets published by June. Much depends on my Early Readers Group—wonderful, dedicated friends and readers who correct and critique my first drafts. You know who you are and you’re worth your weight in gold! If you feel like joining this group, drop me an email, and once I have my first draft cleaned up, I’ll send you a copy and brace myself for your opinion.

Wishing you all the very best for a much better 2021 with good health, happiness and lots of fun and laughter!


Nicky         [email protected]