Writer’s Digest 16 July 2023

It has been a while (two years, in fact) since I updated this blog and for those of you who have waited with bated breath, I apologise for that.

I have, however, just started writing a new novel, so what better time to restart these weekly updates. Rather than being a catch-all for whatever’s been going on in my life, I’ll be concentrating only on the creative part – what’s inspiring me and what I’m writing…well, that’s the plan anyways…

This week I was inspired by… George, Andrew and Alice.

George and Andrew…

When Wham! first burst on the scene I was 15 and fell hopelessly, madly in crush with them. When they came to Australia I begged and begged and saved up the money I’d earned from refereeing to be allowed to go. As first concerts go it was a memorable one and I still adore that tartan suit Andrew Ridgely wore. I even sewed myself a pair of tartan pants…they were red, just like his, and I wore them with a bright yellow sloppy joe (for US readers, that’s a fleecy jumper not a hamburger of sorts…).

And, for the useless book of knowledge, the tartan suit worn by Andrew in 1984’s Make It Big tour, sold about 10 years ago at auction for £1250.

Anyways, in the years after Wham! George Michael continued to inspire me with his music, and I cried real tears when he died in 2016.

When the documentary dropped on Netflix I inhaled it – not just because it told the story of Wham! but because it told a story of selfless friendship, love, and incredible talent. If you haven’t yet seen it, do yourself a favour.

A couple of things stood out for me above all others. The first being how Wham! was Andrew’s brainchild, yet he was able to stand aside in order to let George flourish – right when they were at the peak of their career. That takes courage and self-knowledge and maturity and love.

The second was when Andrew said he hadn’t realised just how hard it was to be George Michael. I remember reading (or hearing) somewhere about how George had always known he had talent and how it hadn’t occurred to him that he wouldn’t make it big (pun intended), but how if they hadn’t worked it together originally it might never have happened. I guess though, that’s the thing about talent, if you don’t work it, it won’t happen.

As for my favourite Wham! song? I’ll always love “I’m Your Man”, “Wham Rap”, and “Everything She Wants”, but my choice would have to be “Careless Whisper”. To know that George wrote this at 17 and produced it himself just a couple of years later…oh, man, the passion and the longing in that one track…


I’ve just finished listening to the fabulous Miriam Margolyes read Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This really is a book that was meant to be read aloud.

I was so excited when this one was chosen as our book club read and can’t believe I’ve never read it before. Nor have I had it read to me and am now wishing I’d read it to my daughter when she was a child.

According to something I read when down in the rabbit hole I frequently found myself while reading this book (see what I did there?) Alice contains some serious themes. There are, apparently, within these pages references to drugs, societal norms, the loss of childhood innocence and wonder, and the idea of death as a constant underlying menace. 

To me though, it’s about what happened when a girl named Alice went down a rabbit hole and had many impossible adventures underground. It brought my imagination to life in absolute technicolour and I loved every minute of it. More importantly, it filled me with a sense of wonder I’d begun to be afraid I’d lost. Attempting to read anything more serious into it would diminish that wonder. The very Alice-ness would be lost.

Of all the quotes in this novel, the one I like best is this one:

What I’m writing…

I’ve written the first scene in my next Brookford novel – a sequel to Escape To Curlew Cottage – three times now and think I’ve finally nailed my opening scene. I’ve no idea yet how things will end up for Tallis, Gail, Caro and Fee – the women of The Cotswolds Cookbook and Culinary Societ – but the ideas that I’ve been playing with for this one have been mulling about almost since I finished writing Curlew Cottage. The problem is some of them scare me – which is why I need to be brave enough to write the story…however it turns out.

Okay, that’s me…what’s been inspiring you over the past week?