Jacqueline Winspear
Jacqueline Winspear

Hello Everyone!

A Lesson in Secrets

I receive many emails and letters from fans of the Maisie Dobbs series who have been touched by something that one of the characters has said in a section of dialogue, or by a sentence here, a paragraph there. Readers often ask, "Where does this wisdom come from?" or they tell me they have been helped in dealing with their own problems by something Maisie, or perhaps Maurice Blanche has said, or endured. The truth is that much of the dialogue happens organically—it just flows, and I don't stop to think about the source of the words. However, I know that I have always been a good listener and—OK, I confess—something of an eavesdropper, so some of those conversations on the page contain phrases I might have heard while going about my daily round.

Let me give you an example: For the past several years, I have taken a break for a few days just before my book tour—to go skiing. I love to ski. There's something about the sport that can really get me out of my head and make me forget everything else except the moment. And of course, I love being up in the mountains, in the clear, clear air. My destination of choice is Utah, though I love just about any place with a mountain and a ski run. So last week I went on my annual jaunt to Park City, where I had signed up for a women's ski clinic. My instructor was a very funny expert skier named Maree. The interesting thing for me was that three or four times each day, she said something that I knew I just had to write down at the earliest possible opportunity. As we were about to ski down a particularly challenging run, she said, "Just let the mountain come at you, and take it as it comes." Wow. I had to stop and think about what she had just said, and I wrote it down in my ever-present pocket notebook as soon as we stopped for a hot chocolate.

"Just let the mountain come at you and take it as it comes."

I arrived home yesterday to many emails, calls and to-do's in the run-up to publication of my new novel, A LESSON IN SECRETS, and for a moment I felt completely overwhelmed. Then I remembered—just let the mountain come at you, and take it as it comes. And I remembered something else Maree had said, "Turn and rebalance, turn and rebalance."

So when you're reading A LESSON IN SECRETS, or any other book in the series featuring psychologist and investigator, Maisie Dobbs, and you come across a passage that resonates in some way, and you want to write it down or read it again, remember this—I might just have overheard you say those very words while waiting in a line at the store, and they found their way into a book. I believe we all have a deep level of knowing inside us, but the truth is we don't always realize that our personal wisdom is just as powerful as anything we might read. Perhaps words on the page are just echoes of what we know to be true.

A LESSON IN SECRETS—which sees Maisie working directly for the British Secret Service for the first time—will be published on March 22nd. More details on my upcoming book tour have been added in the past week, so log on to my Appearances page to see if I'll be coming to your city. And if I'm not and you'd like a signed copy of A LESSON IN SECRETS or another of the books in the Maisie Dobbs series, any of the independent bookstores listed would be happy to arrange for a personalized copy to be shipped to you, as long as they have your order before the event.

And if you are planning to come along to one of the events—I look forward to seeing you there! In the meantime, I wish you smooth ground ahead, and if the mountains come at you, don't be overwhelmed, just take them one by one.

With all good wishes,

Jacqueline

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