TYPICAL WRITER'S DAY

Start with emails, at about 8 a.m., with my breakfast tea: answer two from readers and write to my son James, niece Alana, and friend Jacqueline in France, who was disappointed to miss my daughter Susan on her trip through Metz.

Phone the film producer to discuss progress on the Nim’s Island script.

Download pictures of cruise ships and make a screen saver with them, replacing last week’s sea lions. Cut out a couple more deck plans from the many I printed out yesterday, to make a composite for the ship in Nim’s new adventure. I need to know exactly how she gets from A to B and what she sees on the way.

Go on with Chapter 3 of Nim’s New York adventure from where I left it yesterday. Quickly get stuck and take the dog Bear for a walk to try and think it out. Pick up the mail on the way home and find an unexplained cheque from my publisher. Email them to find out what it is and why it came to me instead of my agent.

Another email offers Spanish contract for Ark in the Park, with Edelveiss, the same company that produced Nim’s Island there, in both Spanish and Basque. Respond happily.

Reorganise Chapter 3 so that it now begins with Jack’s, and then Alex’s stories. Nim’s story is now clear, and I finish the chapter.

My husband comes home for lunch today, so instead of meditating I have a cup of tea with him and read (‘Jacques le Fataliste et son Maitre’, by Diderot; written in the 18th century, with the most refreshing irreverent approach : ‘reader, you might think I should stick to Jacque’s adventures now, but…’ )

Prepare a report nominating Pamela Horsey for the Leila St John award (for services to Children’s Literature. Phone a couple of people in the industry for corroborating details.

Write a cover letter and package up books to send to the Fox studio executive who’d asked to see them when we met in LA.

Read email sorting out mystery cheque: advance for Thai edition of Peeling the Onion. Reply; put cheque back in envelope so it can be reissued to agent and paperwork kept simple.

Walk Bear and mail letters. After dinner and dishes I phone Pam to warn her that I’ve nominated her.

Watch DVD of Kolya, a lovely Czechoslavakian film, practice a few tai chi exercises, and go to bed. Irritating cough, the tale end of a cold, keeps me awake for a couple of hours, and I plan more details of Nim’s journey…