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Writing fiction involves becoming a temporary expert in all kinds of random things. This week I’ve been working on my second novel, The Forgotten Seamstress, and I’ve needed to find out:

  • when did Boots the Chemist start processing film?
  • what’s cool in the latest upmarket sofas?
  • when did narcosis therapy start being used in the treatment of mental illness?
  • when did the Prince of Wales start his affair with Wallis Simpson?
  • how can I get into the mind of an aspiring interior designer?

For this last question, I’ve just been to the newsagents and bought six interior design magazines of the ‘Homes and Gardens’ kind (God, they’re heavy) and spent a happy hour or so trawling through them to find the kind of designs I think would appeal to my character. This is the result – a crazy mix of retro and floral madness!