Tuesday 21 February 2023


I was talking to a friend the other day about Triggers. Not the kind on a gun, though I suppose metaphorically they do the same thing, but the ones that cause us to react in a certain way.

We all have them. Certain happenings or events can trigger something in our minds that make us want to run, or hide, or shut ourselves away. Or do all kinds of things - usually negative.

Lainy’s triggers are men in hoodies; certain noises (a car running over a plastic lid this morning); anyone getting too close to her face, to name a few. Obviously I can’t ask her what happened, but it’s clear that something very unpleasant is associated with these things.

Moll’s triggers were kites or anything with a sail in the sky; rubbish bin lorries; fireworks and me getting up in the night to go to the loo (how dare I disrupt her sleep?).

One of mine is Christmas. I have a gallery of things that happened at Christmas over the years - father dying; years of anorexia and horrendous mealtimes; husband dying, and a few others besides. The last two Christmases have been wonderful in their very ordinariness because we did purely what we wanted to do - take the dogs for a lovely long walk, watch a good film, have a nice meal and go to bed. But despite all that, I just have to think of Christmas and all my insecurities come rushing back like overexcited ghosts, shouting ‘Yah! Hate you! No one will ever love you!’

I wrote about these in The Rescue for it is something I’ve had to learn to deal with. They’re still there, of course, but having had two happy Christmases has helped a lot.

Some people I know are frightened of getting too involved with other people in case they get hurt. Some are the opposite, and can't bear to be on their own. We all have our insecurities and over the years we develop ways of dealing with them.

But talking about our fears, or in my case writing about them, can really help not only us but the people who love us. And of course if you read about someone who’s gone through something that you’ve been through too, there’s that moment of recognition. That Ah Hah! Moment. And you might be able to help someone else figure out what to do.

A few weeks ago I was asked why I remembered the scene in The Full Monty with the guy wrapped in cling film, trying to lose weight. I thought hard and said, ‘because it shows his vulnerability.’ And only by seeing others’ vulnerability can we learn about them.

So isn’t it worth taking a deep breath, opening your mouth and seeing what happens? You may be pleasantly surprised. The Rescue - out now - https://amzn.to/3Wshi9k

Thursday 9 February 2023

A Week in the Life of a Writer

Mostly, life as a writer consists of sitting on my backside, writing. Obviously. But sometimes other writerly things have to be done - like selling books. So I thought I'd share with you my life this week.

On Monday I had to drop off some books at a local Falmouth shop which we fitted in with a dog walk. I’d managed to write in the morning, so I’d got my fix and was happy that the sequel is making progress. By the way, as I've had several queries about why I wrote The Rescue under S L Rosewarne, I should explain.

My mum's maiden name is Rosewarne, and at her memorial service, my only Rosewarne cousin looked at me as I slid into the seat next to her and said, "my goodness, you can tell YOU'RE a Rosewarne!" Pause. "That's a compliment by the way." (The Rosewarnes are small, slim and dark whereas the Kittows are taller and stockier.) And as there are no young Rosewarnes left to carry on the name it seemed a good idea to use Rosewarne for my fiction, but also to differentiate my fiction from non-fiction books.

An aside, here, but a relevant one: my sleep pattern is all to pot at the moment. I’ve been worried about several things, but as someone who usually gets about 7-8 hours kip, surviving on 4-5 hours isn’t great. However, a lot of friends have similar problems so we compared notes on how to get a few more hours. Rescue Remedy Night drops? Read? Listen to BBC4 Extra? Read? Get up and have a warm drink? I am becoming expert on BBC Radio 4 Extra schedule from 2-5am...

Anyway, after about 5 hours sleep I wasn’t at my best, but on Tuesday I had to pick up my friend Jac from the garage at 9am, go and see some kennels at 9.30 on the way to Penzance, then meet Pip’s cousins there at 11 for coffee. After that, at 12, we went to the Edge of the World bookshop to meet James, the manager, for he wanted to buy some copies of The Rescue. After that we explored a few charity shops, had a coffee sitting outside in the sun at Penlee Gallery - one of my favourite places in Penzance - then had a fabulous new walk over the fields from near Marazion to Perranuthnoe, where the tide was out enough for us to have a good run on the beach. I dropped Jac back in Penryn and drove home where I collapsed on the bed. No way was I able to write that day.

Yesterday I was booked to give a talk to Kerrier U3A at Heartlands at 10.30. Plenty of time to get up, eat, shower, walk Lainy etc and get to the destination. Again on not much sleep. I’ve sung at Heartlands, but it was a few years ago, so I was a bit hazy about the last bit of the journey so thought I’d ask Google maps. Unfortunately it decided to send me round in circles so instead of arriving in plenty of time, I arrived flustered and shaking. I then found the venue, opened the door to find a room packed full of people - for my first solo talk in 3 years. Oh my god, I thought, but accepted a decaff coffee and took some deep breaths.

And what a lovely audience - warm and attentive (apart from the odd man nodding off) and enthusiastic. I got very emotional at times reading out parts of The Rescue (I blame low blood sugar, low sleep and over-adrenaline). But a lot of them came up afterwards for a chat and to buy books, which made it all worthwhile. I drove home, utterly drained...

And today I am back at my desk which is lovely. I’ve written 1500 words and wondering what’s going to happen next, as the synopsis I’d painstakingly drafted bears little resemblance to what I’ve actually written. And I’ve got about 15,000 words to wrap it up in.

Below is a glimpse of the most glorious weather on Tuesday for our walk - we were so lucky.