This was my second book and my then agent told me I should set a book in London to avoid becoming a Cotswold writer. (That worked well, then!). I was anxious about setting a book in a place I had hardly visited for over ten years so I decided to set my book in a part of London I did feel I knew – the canals.
When my husband and I were first married we had a pair of narrow boats that we operated as a hotel and after our first season we took the motor boat up to London for Christmas. We explored London by canal a bit and this gave me my setting.
A casual glance through the classified columns of a newspaper gave me a title, Cleaning Undertaken and the idea of three young women setting up a cleaning company together. (I have been a cleaner in my time, which is something that makes friends who visit my house laugh nervously in utter disbelief).
May, my main girl, lives on a narrow boat and so here I was on very safe ground. I knew exactly what that was like. But this book has three heroines and one of them, Sally who's an actress, gets carried off to Gloucestershire fairly swiftly. There is also an Irish Wolfhound. It was years and years before I could have a breed of dog in my book that I hadn’t owned myself. I am more relaxed about this these days.
It was a difficult book to write in some ways because it was only my second book, I was very inexperienced really. But it had lots of fun in it even though editing it was hellish! The title was immediately changed to The Rose Revived, which was the name of the narrow boat, a name which I stole from a pub on the Thames.