First the distraction. Talk to any author and you will find someone who could instruct a masterclass in how to avoid writing what needs to be written. Procrastination – thy name is author. If it isn’t making cups of tea, cleaning a spot on the wall which is annoying you, checking Facebook, checking sales figures, changing the sheets, washing the sheets, hanging out the sheets and getting the sheets in when it starts to rain, it is embarking on research trips and thinking about what to have to for dinner. Sometimes you have help.

Meet Rupert. He is the help. He is helping me not to write the next chapter in the third book of the Euphemia Sage series. He likes cuddles and a warm lap. He is moulting and I am wearing black. Hours of good solid procrastinating in that last sentence alone. I am looking after Rupert while his owner is away. We are old friends and I have looked after him many times before. Like people, dogs have different personalities. Rupert is loved by everyone he meets. Short with lots of attitude, he runs straight into your heart and stays there. If he wants to sit on my lap, he does.

Now for the pitfall. Empty Nests is the third book in the Euphemia Sage series. It has a nature theme. I needed to research a bird sanctuary called the Pounui Lagoon. It is an hour’s drive from my home and I hadn’t been there before. What better way to avoid sitting down at the computer than driving to a place you know little about. Part of me was glad I went. The other part of me the soaking MUDDY WET part … isn’t.

This is a hide on the banks of the Pounui Lagoon. It is where birdwatchers sit and watch birds. The grass around it looks solid. It isn’t. It is entirely liquid and if you stand on it, you fall into ice cold (it’s winter) lagoon (mud, peat included) water. Which I did. My gumboots filled up and several hours later are still draining. My clothes are in the washing machine. So dear reader when you get to this part in Empty Nests, you will know that I know exactly how it feels to fall into a lagoon in the dead of winter. Research like water finds its own level.