DIARY OF A COLLABORATION

From day one, we've kept a diary in the form of notes, diagrams, piles of post-its and pages of now largely indecipherable shorthand. Thinking it might be more interesting than the novel maybe. Or perhaps hoping that somehow we could capture the creative process and recreate it with book number two.

Looking back now, our meetings have been a melange of social chat, exercising dogs, sharing news of books read and enjoyed, discussing the pros and cons of moving abroad for the sake of our health, and testing out recipes as part of Elaine's role as cookery book critic. That bit over, we get down to the real business of progressing our writing project. Our time together is always too short.

At significant points we have had to choose a working title, develop the lives and history of our characters, find a name for ourselves, review feedback from reviewers on various drafts and plan for publication. Even now, when we are busy promoting the book, we still try to chart the ups and downs.

The following extracts will give you a flavour of how it feels to be part of Mirren Jones.