When I wake up, I feel as if my shoulders have been velcroed to the sheets.

Agatha Raisin and the Witches' Tree

Agatha Raisin and the Witches' Tree

A siren voice in my head says, "Go back to sleep. Death by duvet. Don't get up." But I wrench myself out of bed, run a bath so full of Epsom salts, it's like the Dead Sea but makes it easy to get out of as I float to the surface. I dress, get black coffee but no more cigarettes. Three years now and I still miss them. Upstairs to the office and I prepare to write. I fiddle about, getting a sudden inspiration to iron my socks or defrost the fridge or do anything but start. But I tap out the first sentence and suddenly I am inside that film in my brain and I write what I see. A good morning is when I manage three thousand words.

I go downstairs, collect plastic bags and go shopping. I like Lambourne's, the butcher in Stow-in-the-Wold and I maybe buy some shin of beef or a partridge. On to Tesco's where I buy a drink and a sandwich because I can never be bothered to make lunch.

When I get back home, I settle down to do The Times crosswords and phone some people when I've done the best I can. I read one of Alexander McCall Smith's Isabel Dalhousie books. I find them gentle and soothing. I might meet friends in the evening or veg out in front of the television, watching things like University Challenge but nothing violent where there's rape and torture.

It seems as the more the world goes to hell in a handcart, the more I crave escape.

Extract from Chapter 2 of Agatha Raisin and the Witches' Tree 

Agatha Raisin was glad of this unexpected event. She was completely out of dreams and obsessions. When she was obsessing about some man, Agatha could forget about how little she valued herself and wrap herself up in a cosy package of rainbow fantasies. She was also lonely. Her ex-husband, James Lacey, a travel writer, was somewhere abroad and her friend, Sir Charles Fraith, was somewhere away as well, and she missed him. Of course, the steady friendship of Mrs Bloxby was always there, but she was good, and Agatha wanted to kick up her heels and be bad, preferably in bed with some gorgeous man…