Life Skills (1999)

Life Skills (1999)

When I first met my agent she suggested that I should write about my life on the canals, running a pair of narrow boats as a hotel.  I flatly refused.  It was far too much like hard work and no one would want to read it.  But this was my fifth book, I didn’t have any other ideas at the time.  Besides, time had passed – quite a lot of time – and narrow boats had become romantic for me again.

My girl starts the book giving up the life she knew, rather like I did when I got fed up with doing secretarial work and went on a cookery course.  (It was for debutants and my fellow pupils were all very grand.  Lady Diana, who became Princess of Wales went on it after I had been there and she wasn’t famous for her cooking either.)

But my husband and I decided to use my new skill to have a business which meant he didn’t have to go away to sea.  We were newly weds and very young.  We did learn a lot!  And a lot of the things that happen in the book happened to use in real life.

I wanted this book to have two heroines – it was a while since I’d done this – but I wanted one of them to appear to be an over privileged air head and if I was actually in her head, we’d find out immediately that she wasn’t.  She was fun to write and my sensible heroine ended up learning a lot about life, hence the title.

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