I rise early and my day always begins with a cup of English tea (P & G Tips) and a walk in my garden. I grew up a farm girl and remember my Dad walking out the kitchen door in the morning with a cup of coffee to look out across the fields before starting the day. My work as a writer is so much like farming was for my Dad: sowing seed, cultivating through the long, hot growing season, harvesting and then going to market. My Dad would stand on the kitchen steps drinking coffee, planning his day, just as I walk through my garden sipping tea and formulating the turns my story will take. I'm usually at my desk around 7 a.m. with my second cup of tea reading over my pages from the day before. I find it hard to continue unless I'm satisfied with the writing. I edit and rework before moving on to the day's fresh output. I work from a synopsis and an outline, but I find that by chapter 6 or 7, the characters are guiding the story. I keep them in check, but still give them a lot of freedom. Somehow, everything usually ends much the way I conceived it. I write seven days a week with a goal of 1000 words a day. There are times when it’s a struggle and I just can't meet my goal . . . so I stop and give myself a break. After all, there were days on the farm when we had to stop work because of bad weather, but the sun always came out again. I'm usually finished by early afternoon when I either swim or take a long walk. I love to cook and garden, and that's what I turn to when my work is done. I love having friends for dinner, and flowers on the table are just as important to me as the meal. I absolutely cannot write after the sun goes down unless I'm at the tail end of my book . . . then I could write until dawn!