One of the points at which I thought I might be doing something right with Mrs Darcy was when Vanessa Gebbie unexpectedly started following it. Now when I’d started out writing short stories, I was completely in awe of her. She seemed to be everywhere – and when her first collection, Words from a Glass Bubble, came out, I devoured it. When I found myself sharing a platform with her, at Sparks in Brighton in November 2009, I was more than a little anxious, but she turned out to be lovely, warm and generous and I’m proud to count her among my real-life friends now.

So when she asked if I fancied being interviewed by her for the Salt blog, I leapt at the opportunity. However, I have to say that things took a slightly unexpected turn…

Speaking of generous co-writers, I’m also grateful to Geoff Nelder for the nice mention on his blog here. Geoff is a terrific guy who I first came across at Café Doom, and I’ve learnt a hell of a lot about writing from his trenchant criticism in the critique group there.