Back to the start…

So, it’s New Year. And there’s the usual rash of ill-thought-out resolutions and promises e.g. I absolutely will use that pink step machine I bought in a fit of crisp-induced madness for at least fifteen minutes every day.

But for me, New Year always starts with a new book, also accompanied by the usual rash of ill-thought-out resolutions, e.g. I will only allow myself a cup of tea every 500 words. Which by day two is already down to 100 words, or a particularly clever sentence.

But this year, the new book is also tinged with a teensy bit of regret. Because today is the day I start on the seventh and, at least for now, final Rachel Riley book. Which means tying up some very loose ends, like Rachel and Jack and their on-again, but mostly off-again relationship. And also means saying goodbye to a whole list of weirdos and, as Rachel would say, mentalists, e.g.:

a)    Grandpa Clegg, Denzil and Pig and their three-man Cornish independence sit-in protest.

b)   The James, Mad Harry and Mumtaz love triangle.

c)    Baby Jesus and his ever-increasing Wotsit habit.

d)   Sad Ed, who has yet to succeed in his mission to either become Morrissey or have an untimely tragic death.

e)    Mrs Riley and her ever-present J-cloth.

Plus Scarlet, the Kylies, Mr Whippy, notorious madman Barry the Blade, sadistic Mrs Wong, pervert-in-school Mr Vaughan and ineffectual headmaster Mr Wilmott.

But the more I come to think of it, the more I realise that, in life, loose ends are rarely every tied up properly. They always unravel. And just when you think you might never see someone again, they call up, out of the blue.

And so even as I begin the end, I’m already wondering where Rachel will be in a few years’ time, and whether there’ll be a book in it…

About Joanna Nadin

A former broadcast journalist and special adviser to the prime minister, since leaving politics I’ve written more than 80 books for children and adults, as well as speeches for politicians, and articles for newspapers and magazines like The Guardian, Red and The Amorist. I also lecture in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and hold a doctorate in young adult literature. I’m a winner of the Fantastic Book Award and the Surrey Book Award, and have been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Booktrust Best Book award and Queen of Teen among others, and twice nominated for the Carnegie Medal, for Everybody Hurts, and for Joe All Alone, which is now a BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated BBC TV series. I've also worked with Sir Chris Hoy on the Flying Fergus series and ghost-written Angry Birds under another name. I like London, New York, Essex, tea, cake, Marmite, mint imperials, prom dresses, pubs, that bit in the West Wing where Donna tells Josh she wouldn’t stop for a red light if he was in an accident, junk shops, crisps, Cornwall, St Custard’s, Portuguese custard tarts, political geeks, pin-up swimsuits, the Regency, high heels, horses, old songs, my Grandma’s fur coat, vinyl, liner notes, the smell of old books, the feel of a velveteen monkey, Guinness, quiffs, putting my hand in a bin of chicken feed, the 1950s, burlesque, automata, fiddles, flaneuring, gigs in fields on warm summer nights, Bath, the bath.
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