This, the first part of the first chapter of Almost English, my fourth novel, was not easy to write. Nothing, in my experience, is, and it seems to get harder. Marvellous.
In this case, the problem was that I had many fantastic possible first lines, none of which quite worked. I kept trying to change the novel to fit them. I kept arguing with myself, viz: ' "Everyone loves a party" - no they don't. That's a lie. You hate parties. Or you think you'll love them and then you hate them. So don't start your novel with something that every reader will think is rubbish. It IS rubbish. What are you even doing here, trying to write? Shouldn't you have become a baker?'
So, if you were to ask me how this novel begins, I have no idea. It's a party. We meet the characters, some of whom have amusing Hungarian accents and others of whom - Laura - are just English, and quiet, and are nursing secrets. Things go wrong. It's what critics call a set piece, as if everything else is just cobbled together with Sticklebricks and blu-tak and loose words which happen to have been lying around on my desk.
Almost English is being published in mid-August. Here it is: Chapter One. I hope you enjoy it.