I arrived back home three days ago, after six months touring Europe in our motorhome. Yes, it was an amazing trip! We spent three months in Italy, a month in France, a month in Spain, and the rest of the time split between Croatia, Switzerland and Portugal with four days back in the UK in July to attend our son’s graduation.
Both our boys came out to visit us and spent a week each touring with us. We have been to some amazing places. Too much to try to cover here, but if you want to know more about the trip please take a look at our travel blog for all the details.
My plan was always to keep going with the writing while we travelled, and I did manage to do this though possibly not as much as I’d hoped. It took more time than I’d anticipated to keep the blog up to date and to plan ahead.
But here’s what I did manage to achieve writing-wise while on the road:
- Two rounds of edits of my next novel. I had just finished a rough draft before we left which I printed out and took with me. Edited that, sent to my editor, re-edited it in line with her comments then sent on to my new editor (my previous one has moved on to a different imprint with HarperCollins and will be much missed)
- Planned the novel after that, wrote a synopsis, wrote about 15,000 words.
- Some promotion for my latest, The Girl from Ballymor, which came out in September.
Not bad for a mobile life! But now we are home I need to get going with all of it again. Promotion, editing and first-drafting – all need to be progressed. Oh, and I am back at the day job from tomorrow. There’s no rest… but no one feels sorry for me after my six-month holiday! Can’t think why!
Hi Kathleen. Thank you for your lovely chatty letter – like you, I love Europe and your picture of the Dolomites is gorgeous. I read ‘The Girl from Ballymor’ and absolutely loved it. I was moved to tears about the Irish Famine and it so inspired me that I want to go to Ireland next year. I am a widow now of 14 years and 78 years old but that never stops me wanting to explore new things. I have been to Ireland twice but now I really want to go down to the Atlantic coastal area. I would love to know where you became inspired to write such a wonderful story because I just want to soak up the atmosphere and beauty of that region. I am looking forward to your next book as I have read all you have written up to now. I am glad you enjoyed your European trip. We used to have a caravan and each year spent a month with our two daughters travelling around different areas of Europe. We absolutely loved it and it is a lovely thing to do with your family – as you obviously have done with your two sons this year. I was interested last night to see the last episode of ‘Victoria’ on ITV. It gave people a great insight to the Irish Famine and how the English Politicians were so disinterested in the plight of those people. We English have done some very questionable things in the past and I sometimes feel quite ashamed but hopefully our generation is a little kinder to people. (Mind you, I am not so sure even now with all the awful things happening in the world!). I can’t wait for your next book. Kind regards, Iris Henderson
Hi Iris, what a lovely response. I am so glad you enjoyed my book. The research into the Irish famine was heartbreaking at times but had to be done.
I’ve missed the whole of this series of Victoria sadly, having been away travelling, but will try to catch it on DVD.
If you look at the Author’s Note in The Girl from Ballymor it mentions some of the places which inspired me. Mostly County Cork, and the small towns such as Skibbereen, and the peninsulas such as the Beara and Sheep’s Head. But the abandoned village was inspired by one in Achill Island, County Mayo, which I remember visiting many years ago and never forgot.
I hope you get a chance to go to the south-west of Ireland – it is a truly beautiful place.
Hi Kathleen, thank you so much for the info regarding the locations near where you were inspired to write The Girl fro Ballymor. I will most definitely look into places near those to try and find somewhere to stay. I am seriously thinking of going to Ireland next year and would love to find the lovely places you write about. Thanks again for your kind reply and good luck with your new book. Kind regards, Iris Henderson
Blimey, Kath, You`re such a Dynamicness! Shall delve into your travel blog – glad you had joyous times and hope the return to day job is merry too!
‘Merry’ is not quite the right word for my return to work but it had to be done!
What a gorgeous picture!
Like you, I write in the campervan – there are plenty of distractions, aren’t there?
Definitely! But it is so lovely to be able to lift your eyes from the screen and look at some incredible view…
Iris Henderson said:
Wow Kathleen I have read even more about the Irish famine and am so involved with the times and stories that I really do want to come and see Ireland now. It was the most horrendous time ever but I want to see the areas in which the most affected areas were by this terrible time. I cannot wait for your new book to come out and am now so eager to visit Ireland and hope to find places where it all happened. I feel so much for the people of Ireland after reading the things I have recently investigated. Keep on writing Kathleen, we are waiting for your next story. I am interestered in any information on the areas invovled.
You must go to Cork and Kerry then – it is so beautiful. My next book is set in the Lake District and should be out late summer 2018 though I do not yet have a definite date. Thanks for the encouragement to keep writing – I shall!