An old oak tree in my local graveyard surrounded by headstones marking their respective dead. Some of the interred lived and died over two hundred years ago, while others left the world this year. Where do we go when we die, the bodies of expats, in this ever crowded city? Do we belong in the earth of our adopted country, or should our ashes be tossed into a powerful wind, forgotten in a puff of smoke, like a magic trick?

A path on Hampstead Heath

The leaves are turning on the heath, autumn is here. Is it already October first? Time flies when you’re trying to finish a novel! At least I’m walking again, bringing back my sanity, as each mile passed underfoot holds within it a chapter, a paragraph, a sentence, an image. They say nature is the best therapy. At night I dream of flying above treetops, my weird bird feet gently grazing the leaves like a whisper of green. My friend said the dream means freedom. It felt like peace. Perhaps the two are bound.

Two hours, three, sitting at a table, typing word after word, stringing sentences together that hold entire lifetimes within them, while my body is caught in stillness as my mind unwinds the coil of a story onto page after white, glowing page. I am planted, rooted to this chair, this desk, this space in time, writing, remembering, dreaming of a history hidden in the recesses of my mind, drawing it down through my limbs, my fingertips, and out into the world. Leaves uncurling one by one, each movement invisible to the naked eye, painfully slow progress, each passing second a micrometer exposed, and the next day a leaf, a stalk, from a changed plant, greets the world.

The paperback is out now! Check out the bestseller stamp of approval. So much love to my amazing publishers at Longanesi. I fell in love with Milan and Rome on my book tour last year meeting the publishing team, the booksellers and bookbloggers! Thank you to everyone who has made this book a success, especially to all the readers who followed sisters Hana and Emi on their tragic journeys. 🙏