Monthly Archives: July 2016

When I turned 49 I thought big birthdays didn’t matter. By 49-and-a-half I knew they did…


My UK publishers Sceptre turned 30 this year, with a splendid celebration on the new Hodder & Stoughton rooftop overlooking the Thames at Blackfriars. To celebrate they asked some of their authors to write a short piece about time, and the creative process. This was mine….



When I turned 49 I thought big birthdays didn’t matter; by 49-and-a-half, I knew they did. I marked my 50th by walking the 500-mile camino pilgrimage across northern Spain.

The idea was to reach Santiago by my birthday, but after my right knee swelled like a plump grapefruit on day two I had to let go of that plan.

I had to let go of just about every plan.

I was carrying too much: two novels for God’s sake, coloured pencils, three extra kilos of nothing. Then one day I found myself on a track through one of the most ancient human sites in Europe. Even though millions of pilgrims had walked before me, I knew I would find something. Continue reading