Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Christina Hollis: This Writing Life...

By Martyn Stanley

Spring has definitely arrived here in Gloucestershire. While it's still dark, I carry my first cup of tea of the day outside.The dawn chorus starts at around 4:30am, and at long last, the cuckoo has arrived! While I listen to the birds, I think about my WIP. It’s a lovely way to ease myself into the working day.

My bees are going mad, working over the fruit tree blossoms and wild flowers. I lost all seven of my colonies over the wet and miserable seasons of 2012/2013, and only managed to restock last July. I’ve started this year with just a single colony, and at the minute they’re expanding very fast. I've got everything ready in case they decide to swarm.
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Every evening after the bees have gone to bed, I stroll out to listen to them driving the moisture off from the nectar they’ve gathered during the day. It’s a really restful sound, and promises plenty of honey to come. 

I’m including this lovely piece by Delius called “On hearing The First Cuckoo In Spring”, in case you’ve never heard it before. One February night years ago, while OH was working in the US and I was in the depths of PPD, a combination of flu and DD teething had kept me awake all night. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to drag myself through the next day. Around 3am on that freezing cold, pitch black morning I made myself yet another cup of tea and switched on the radio. As sleet battered the window, I heard this:

It was the first flicker of light at the end of a bleak, black tunnel. Writing acted as my therapy, and eventually helped me back get my life back together. OH finished his stint in the US and came home. Slowly, day by day, the weather got brighter–and so did I. 

Has there been one special day that turned your life around? 

Christina Hollis writes both contemporary and historical fiction - when she isn't cooking, gardening or beekeeping. You can catch up with her at, on Twitter and Facebook, and see a full list of her published books at

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