Before Stop the Clock: my other first novel

We marched down the aisle, my head on his shoulder, the white dress trailing behind me.

“At last,” I said. It was only a whisper, but it stated a lot of things…

And that was the beginning of the end of my very first novel, finished in, er, circa 1982. I think someone did point out at the time that you might get unromantic neckache if you marched down the aisle with your head on your husband-to-be’s shoulder. But never mind.

Inspired by a blog post on,  I thought I’d drag Solitude (illustrated and published, with hand stitching and sellotape, by the author) out into the light of day. I was proud of it at the time… I still remember how astonishing and heady it was to get through to THE END, and how I never quite believed I’d get there before I did.

I think that still holds good – I felt pretty much the same way when I finished Stop the Clock. Though I promise you it doesn’t end with a heroine with neckache.

Anyway, you have to start somewhere, and for me the start was Elizabeth Davis and her faithful servant companion (!) Dorrie, traipsing round Europe at the beginning of World War I in search of Elizabeth’s beloved Edward. Not quite sure where he had gone or why, but I think it turned out to be something to do with a mad wife in an attic and a house burning down. I was quite immune to Anxiety of Influence.

Fast-forward 30 years, and Stop the Clock is also about women looking for what they think they want.. but then getting it doesn’t turn out at all the way they might have expected.

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