When I first came across Alexander McCall Smith’s books, it was not the African mysteries which I fell for, but the Isabel Dalhousie Philosophy Club books, and the Scotland Street series. In part I loved them because they put me in mind of the style of writing I had been aiming for when I wrote my Grace de Savira novels in the 1990’s, stories of an elderly astrologer intent on sorting out peoples’ problems. I’m not sure whether I hit the same style, but I finished two of them and duly – after a number of years of keeping them in a cupboard, put them up on to Amazon’s Kindle. Slowly people are beginning to read them, and I’m quite pleased about that because I loved writing them. Then I discovered writing for children, in the early 2000’s and had my Dreamstealers trilogy published, and following that I fell in love with history and have had two historical novels published : A Court in Splendour and The Bardic Monk. Much as I enjoyed the process of research and writing history, nothing quite matched my experience of writing about Grace and the characters in those early books. So I got out the third unfinished one recently, and began to work on it. Unfortunately I had lost the pace, the style, and was stuck in the twelfth century, floundering. Then I remembered Scotland Street and how it had been an inspiration to my style. So I listened to Scotland Street in the car, then read Love over Scotland and the World According to Bertie and loved them all over again, and the amazing thing is that the detail of them is so rich I found new things as well as all the bits I remembered and have laughed and sighed my way through them. He is a total genius. So I also read all the Dalhousies again (and the new one) and even Von Inglefeld and his many uses for Olive Oil, what a clown…so thanks to Alexander McCall Smith and his brilliant life-enhancing dramas, for getting me back in the mood to write my Welsh Astrologer stories. Reading and writing do, after all, go together like peaches and cream, salt and pepper or rock n roll! And am I on a roll….