I don’t know if anyone has driven around with a small child singing the songs from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in the recent past, in which case these words will resonate, but 20 years ago it was standard fare in our ancient car.

The whole lyric goes something like this:

“Disaster didn’t stymie Louis Pasteur!

Edison took years to see the light!

Alexander Graham knew failure well; he took a lot of knocks to ring that bell!

So when it gets distressing it’s a blessing!

Onward and upward you must press!

Yes, Yes!

Till up from the ashes, up from the ashes grow the roses of success.

There are times in every writer’s life when it all seems hopeless. That the book is a horror – that you are:

not clever enough,

don’t have enough mental energy

or both

to finish, and that feeling can last for a long time – like, six months.

With Mouse Heart this happened, BIG TIME. . The book was big, too long, as it happened, and there were too many characters (since culled) and at times I found it very hard to hang on to my vision, and there was a pandemic… but – as the song says – from the ashes of disaster…

It comes out in a month – you can judge for yourselves but I’m very fond of it now.

Find out more here

Pre-order it from the Rocketship Bookshop in Salisbury

or Waterstones