Hazel McHaffie

Cooking on gas!

Hmmm, this is all mightily inconvenient. There are monsters to create, gifts to wrap, cards to write, garments to make … but the new novella (working title, Listen) has taken over my brain, lock, stock and barrel! No more uninterrupted nights for me. No peaceful journeys. No relaxing with hobbies or other people’s novels.

The main protagonist has got her passport; found her birth certificate; she’s travelling! I’m trying to keep pace. She’s on a rail journey from Aberdeen to Penzance knowing a major crisis awaits her at the other end. Diversions along the way take her – and me – off at a tangent, but the train thunders relentlessly towards that endpoint. Tweakings, refinements, reorderings, present themselves at all hours at nobody’s convenience. That’s the writing life.

But of course, at this time of year, concerts and charity sales and visitors wait for no man. I dart between kitchen and study, exchange wooden spoon for keyboard … ahhh, yes, an analogy in the making. At this stage the story’s a bit like a main meal almost ready to serve; all the component parts present, but every time you taste it, there’s something not quite perfect …

Cooked meal




A little more seasoning, maybe?




Glass of wine




Something to give it a lift?






Something sweet



A sweeter ending perhaps?






No time to linger here, I’m afraid. Can’t let it all go cold!

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