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Away...

I go away tomorrow, for eight days. I'm not going particularly far or exotic - up to a cottage in the Ribble Valley (far enough from London I suppose). It's a combined research and writing trip, although I will be joined by sister and two dogs so just how much research and writing I get done will be another matter. I have told myself that I need to come back with a completed first draft with its current half-scaffolded structure sorted out. As a few people know the book is based on part of my Mum's life; she spent seven years of her life during the sixties (she was seventeen) up in the Ribble Valley, in what was then Europe's largest mental institution, although it was bought a few years ago by a property developer and turned into his house as well as being the training home to a football team and a hotel. The area, with what some may consider its bleak unforgiving landscape, is a rich launch pad for the imagination as Tolkein has associations with the place, then there's the Brontes, the Pendle Hill witches and the Quakers! So I'm hoping that it gets my mind back into gear and this draft finished! I won't have internet access so no posts until I return and hopefully there will be much to report on.

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-Dedicated with love and respect to Dr Bruce Lloyd-


And in memory of my parents:
Thomas Valentine and Joan Theresa
Good people who taught me so much more than they realised

***


The biggest thank-you is due to Norma Clarke, Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, who supervised this PhD. I never had cause to doubt my initial instincts as Norma proved to be the best mentor I could ever have wished for.

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