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It’s a funny thing, writing a book. I first had the idea for what eventually became In Just one Day about ten years ago. In fact, it was my first ever idea for a fiction book. I’d written books about wine (my specialist subject!) but writing things you know is much easier than making stuff up. Anyway, I wrote a synopsis and showed it to a friend of mine. She gently suggested I waited a while before writing it and to this day, I’m so glad she did. 

Let me explain. In Just One Day is a story about Flora and her little brother Billy. Born just eighteen months apart, they adore each other and grow up to become firm friends, supporting each other as they find their own way in the world. Then, one day, everything changes. 

The story explores how love and loss affects people, specifically how grief is something we all experience differently. And this is where my friend was so wise. Ten years ago, I was still dealing with the death of my own little brother. I thought I was fine, that I had the grief thing nailed. But looking back, it was still so raw. 

Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to write this story because I was still lost. But now, almost twenty years since my own life changed in just one day, I can honestly say that I’m living comfortably with my grief. I feel able to celebrate the time I had with him rather than mourning the time that was taken away. It’s just taken a while to get here. 

In Just One Day isn’t just a story of grief, rather it’s one of love in all its guises. Between friends, family, partners and how even the support of strangers can help you make sense of the world sometimes. I really wanted to write an uplifting story, one that makes you look forward to what’s to come rather than sad at what’s gone. 

I also wanted to take you, the reader, to places that I love including the seaside (I live on the South Coast) and to Venice, one of my favourite Italian cities. And there’s quite a lot of wine involved, unsurprisingly! In fact, one of my favourite scenes see Flora and her husband Johnny perched on a wall overlooking a canal outside a wine bar in the backstreets of Venice, a plate of fresh cicchetti and a couple of bright orange Spritzes each garnished with a salty olive between them. 

So, like I said, it’s a funny thing writing a book. I’m so glad I put this one back in the drawer for a while, not least because I then had the idea for what became my first fiction book, This Changes Everything. But more importantly when I came back to this one, I knew I was properly ready to write it. 

Time really is the key. I hope you enjoy reading it. 

Helen x

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