write your book with me this year

I sign up a small number of coaching clients each year and I’ve got a couple of spaces right now – so if you’re thinking to yourself that this is your time, come and join me. Find out about my book coaching packages here.

More news – of new books and exciting things – coming soon. I’ve got a lovely new camera, so the photographs that used to fill the blog will be back.

Watch this space!


I’ve never been much good at resolutions. I’ve done “keep a diary” (fizzles out every February) and “join the gym” (I’d be better off sending the direct debit to charity) and all the usual stuff, but I’m hopeless at all that New Year New You stuff (plus I quite like the old me).

So instead of writing a list of things that will remind me of all my terrible failings, I’m going to write one that cheers me up.

I resolve to:

Use my new camera and share my photographs here. Here’s a funny thing – I stopped years ago, pretty much as soon as my blog won an award for best photography. Why? Because I felt like I wasn’t a Proper Photographer because all I did was look at the world through a lens and share the things I saw and I didn’t really understand all the twiddly bits (still don’t) and that’s ridiculous. So: more photographs.

And more baking. Because I’m determined to perfect the art of the cinnamon roll (so determined that I’m off on an, er, research trip to Copenhagen in February).

More writing. That might sound bonkers when I have two books out this year, but last year was a really tricky one for writing – not just for me, I’ve discovered, but for lots of other people too. So less time worrying about what happens to the books once they’re done (that’s not my job, after all) and more time concentrating on what I love, which is telling stories. And I have SO many stories to tell this year.

More reading. Because that’s never a bad thing. Last year I got lost in the Game of Thrones books and it was such a wonderful feeling to escape into another world when so much awful stuff was going on in our own one.

More: time with friends. Laughing. Even more sitting on the front step drinking tea and watching the world go by in spring.

And most of all: spending time with these four. As I explained to one of them (who is now, amazingly, 6’2″) they might be turning 18, 16, 14 and 12 this year, but in my head they’re this size. I suspect they always will be, in a way.

I have exciting news!

In fact I have three pieces of exciting news. The first one is that I will be writing another two adult books for Pan Macmillan – the first is out next October and is the story of Ella, Matthew, and a little girl called Hope. It feels amazing to know that books six and seven will have a home, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

rachael lucas bookseller deal announcement

The second is that my next YA novel, My Box Shaped Heart, is now available for pre-order.

If you want to learn a bit about it, read on…

My Box Shaped Heart

Holly’s mum is a hoarder, and she is fed up with being picked on at school for being weird . . . and having the wrong clothes . . . and sticking out. All she wants is to be invisible. She loves swimming, because in the water everyone is the same.

Ed goes to the swimming pool to escape the horrible house he and his mum have been assigned by the women’s refuge. In his old life he had money; was on the swim team; knew who he was and what he wanted. In his old life his dad hit his mum.

Holly is swimming in one direction and Ed’s swimming in the other. As their worlds collide they find a window into each other’s lives – and learn how to meet in the middle.


I love the cover – designed again by Rachel Vale, it’s just perfect!

I’ve got one other bit of news – over the last few years I’ve had so many people saying to me that they’d like to take the leap and write a book, or create a blog, or just start doing something creative. I’ve learned quite a lot along the way about creativity, and courage, and why so many of us have a few chapters of a book in a drawer somewhere, or a dream of trying something new.

Later this year I’m going to be offering a six week e-course called Create Courage where I’ll be tying together my writing, my coaching work, and my training as a mindfulness and meditation teacher. If you’re interested in being one of the first to find out more, you can sign up here. I’d love to have you on board!



finding myself in the mud

I wasn’t lost after all. I was just hiding in the garden, under a pile of leaves from last autumn, waiting to be rediscovered.

Today was lovely. I got up and sat on the front step (my favourite morning place) and drank tea (my favourite thing) and listened to a starling with a lot to say for himself. And I read a book (Ink, by Alice Broadway, who is a dear friend, which means that as I read I imagine her telling me the story, which is a lovely feeling) and it was good. 

And these are are small and simple things. But when you are a person who gets SAD (seasonal affective disorder) every year and who comes back to life with the changing of the clocks and the lengthening of the days, small and simple things are to be treasured. 

And so then we went to Rufford Old Hall (one of my favourite places) and drank tea and ate cake. And the two youngest made us laugh with silly stories and long conversations about Why Reading Is Good (one) and Why Reading Is Not Good (another). 

And then they built dens, and climbed trees, and we sat in the sunshine and watched them. And then we came home and I gardened and got a spade and dug and my heart felt so full of happiness at the greenness and the loveliness that I realised that I used to take those feelings and those photographs and put them here, on my blog. So here they are. And here I am. 

the story of a book cover


Rachel Vale, the brilliant artist behind the cover design for the State of Grace, has written a blog post for me (I like this delegation lark – I should have been off having a painting day in exchange, but in fact I’ve been gardening) about the thought processes that led to the gorgeous cover…

the state of grace - rachael lucas

The cover for The State of Grace was a really great project to work on. As with all cover designs I kicked things off by reading the book – I absolutely loved it! We follow Grace, a teenage girl with Asperger’s, and see how she deals with everything life throws at her. It’s written with great humour, which I wanted to reflect within the design as well as sympathetically referencing Asperger’s. The story also raised questions for me over what is ‘normal’? A lot of the emotions, anxieties and questions Grace deals with feel relevant to absolutely everyone with regards to whether we ‘fit-in’.

So book read and notes made (my keyword list included cat, Doctor Who, pattern, horse . . .), I generated some typography. I knew immediately what I wanted this part of the cover to look like. I can’t quite explain why – sometimes it will take a few attempts and I’ll be working on the typography and image together so that they evolve as one creation. But even without any imagery, I already knew that this had to be big, bold and simple, and to look hand-drawn, therefore giving it a human element.

Typography done, I hit Google and Pinterest for research and image-collection. I wanted to find out more about Asperger’s, and if there was anything visual I could generate that may nod to the syndrome, along with finding a voice for Grace.

Repetitive pattern of behaviour and interests came up quite a lot. So a sort of repeat pattern felt like something I could definitely work with. I generated numerous ideas that included various themes. Some were better than others (as is often the way), but what they all seemed to be lacking was Grace. I needed to revisit her and her journey.

Grace experiences emotions around many different relationships, with her mum, sister, best friend and love interest. A lot of these are conducted to some degree via texting – something we all do and can all relate to. I use emoticons nearly as much as I use actual words whilst texting these days, so a visual take on that felt like something that could appeal to all. For me this idea felt like it relied on simplicity however, so the almost 3D nature of emoticons on modern mobile phones felt too complex – it was the emotion element that I needed, not a fancy rendered graphic.

Using a more ‘old skool’ approach of keyboard characters (brackets and semicolons, etc.) contained in a circle to resemble more recent emoticons felt much more like the right route. A smiley face for the main pattern made me think of Grace immediately. Grace is happy – she’s just a little confused sometimes, so a confused emoticon felt like the perfect way to suggest not fitting in. The change between the two emoticons is subtle (a closed bracket vs a forward slash depicting the mouth), which is perfect, as changes in human emotions can also be so subtle and difficult to read. Obviously I didn’t want this to be so hard to read that it was missed altogether though, so I highlighted it in a different colour. The typography from a couple of months earlier sat perfectly atop my pattern – it’s always nice when these things come together.

Some of the best book covers for me are the ones that don’t try too hard. They rely on a simple and clean concept, and the more you add means the less you actually say. For me The State of Grace does just that. At a quick glance you get it – well, I hope you do! I’ve a copy on the shelf next to my desk, and every time I catch a glimpse of it it makes me smile. I hope it does the same for you. 🙂

the state of grace by rachael lucas


The State of Grace is published by Macmillan Children’s Books on the 6th of April.

Whip-smart, hilarious and unapologetically honest, The State of Grace is a heart-warming story of one girl trying to work out where she fits in, and whether she even wants to.

A sweetly funny look at first love, family and faking it told from the perspective of a heroine with Asperger’s and her own particular way of looking at the world. (Red Magazine Online)

This brilliant coming of age novel for young adults is set to become a classic. (AGA Magazine)

Buy here:


Amazon UK


Book Depository (with free world wide delivery)

The one where I bin 35,000 words

It’s been a bit quiet round here of late. I’ve been on a mission, you see. I wrote The State of Grace in a whirl last year and it sold just before Bologna Book Fair. So with all that excitement over, I settled down to write my next adult book. 

I did the research. I wrote pages and pages of notes. I plotted and character sketched and doodled pictures of the horses who were a major part of the story. I’ve loved horses all my life, and the book was set in Wales, somewhere I’ve loved and visited many times since childhood. 

This was going to be such an amazing story, I thought. And I started writing and it galloped along until I got to 35,000 words and then I stopped.

It’s nearly Christmas, I told myself. I’ll read some comfort books and let the plot carry on sorting itself out in my head and it’ll be fine. 

“How’s it going?” people started asking.

“Good,” I’d say, and change the subject.

It was a perfectly nice story, but I had this niggling feeling something was missing. And whatever the something was, it didn’t seem to be hiding in the millions of post it notes or the pages of research or the piles of notebooks. It was an intangible thing.

It’s fine, I thought. I’ll fix it in the next draft. Only the thought of the next draft made me feel a bit sick, and I started waking up thinking ugh, I don’t want to do this. And I agonised over what to do and didn’t listen to my own instincts (which were by this point parading around the sitting room on a protest march waving placards).

And then a voice in my head said this is supposed to be fun, remember? 

The missing thing was joy. Happiness. I felt like I was writing it because I was supposed to, and somewhere, right in the very heart of the story, it showed. Because the heart of the story was missing. I didn’t connect with the main character and if I did, how could I expect that from a reader? 

So I put all the notebooks in a little pile and shoved them in a file. And I left my messy desk and decided to stop thinking about books for a bit until my brain stops whirling. The words I’ve written might end up somewhere else, one day, but they might not. And that’s okay. 

It’s my birthday today and I’ve decided this will be a year of doing brave things and saying yes to things that scare me (and no, instead of politely going along with things, too). And getting back to writing here – even if it’s about not writing – is a good start. 

Here’s to blank pages. And all the words and pictures to come. 

Imagine (a post for #worldautismawarenessday)

Imagine if you were five years old at a birthday party where the noise and the colours and the feelings were all kaleidoscoping into a swirl that made you feel sick and you couldn’t understand why everyone kept looming their huge faces right into yours and saying “Isn’t this fun? Aren’t you having fun?”.

Imagine if your happy time was hours alone quietly playing with your toy horses, drawing pictures of them, reading books about them, soaking up information quite happily until you were an encyclopaedia of knowledge.

Imagine if you met a schoolfriend in the park when you were with your mum, but you couldn’t say hello because you felt physically sick at the idea of getting the words out, even though they walked past you and you could see them catch your eye and frown slightly, as if they couldn’t quite work out why you wouldn’t speak.

Imagine if you learned to read so early and so quickly that teachers wouldn’t believe you so you learned to fake-stumble over words in school reading sessions while devouring adult books at home.

Imagine if you were sitting in the classroom, and the teacher told you she didn’t want to hear a single word from anyone for half an hour, so you sat there, watching the clock, legs crossed, knowing that you mustn’t interrupt her – until it was too late and the classroom was full of horrified amusement because you were sitting there with a puddle under your chair.

Imagine if you were trying and trying to concentrate at school, but the sound of the clock ticking was as loud to you as the teacher’s voice and the scratching of the pens and the breathing of the person next to you, so you had to work so hard to focus that it made you feel dizzy and every day you went home with a migraine.

Imagine if standing in line for school lunches every day, and the jostling and the noise made you want to cry because it was just too much, and then you went inside and the food all tasted of hot metal and washing up liquid and it made you want to throw up.

Imagine if you didn’t know where to eat at university because you couldn’t work out how the cafeteria operated so you bought expensive sandwiches from the shop every day, running down your meagre student budget which you couldn’t manage anyway because paperwork and bills didn’t make sense.

Imagine if you could hardly ever organise yourself to get to lectures, and when you did get there, you found it almost impossible to concentrate on what the lecturer was saying so you shut down, exhausted, and fell asleep.

Imagine if you spun your way through twentysomething, blocking out the world with whatever you could because when you did the noise and chaos stopped for a while.

Imagine second guessing every social interaction, watching it through a lens, checking your behaviour is okay and your conversation makes sense and your body language is matching your words. And imagine never quite knowing if someone is joking or not so you have to ask, even though you know asking means you’re not playing the game properly.

Imagine walking out of job after job – even though you were promoted, even though they thought you were talented and had potential – because pretending to cope was so hard that you’d have nothing left and you’d lie on the bed crying all night at the prospect of having to go to work.

Imagine having your first child and realising oh, this is it. You can do this. And imagine reading everything you can on parenting and being so terrified that you’ll break a rule and somehow break your child that fifteen months later, broken yourself, you walk into the doctors’ surgery and say you can’t do it any more.

Imagine the love for this solemn, owl-eyed child, who doesn’t like to be held when she’s crying and hasn’t read the same parenting rulebook. Imagine watching her at music class, refusing to join in, realising she is hating every second, crying at the noise and the lights and the chaos. Imagine wishing desperately that she wasn’t like you – that she was child in the middle of the room, dancing happily, instead of sitting in the corner, sullenly clacking on the same blue castanet every Wednesday.

Imagine discovering that there’s a thing out there that describes your child’s behaviour perfectly, and imagine the nursery school notice her behaviour and say look, we think there’s a thing here. And imagine realising when you start reading (and when you start reading, just like always, you read everything) that this thing describes you, too. But then the health visitor shakes her head and says no, look, she doesn’t line up her toys and anyway, it affects boys, not girls.

Imagine years of teaching your child everything you’ve learned about how to be a person. About what’s expected, how to behave. Imagine dealing with the exhausted after-school meltdowns, and going in and fighting your corner and saying look, this child isn’t ever going to tick the people pleasing boxes, because she’s just like me.

Imagine, years later, a teacher finally listens. And you’re told that yes, your child has a thing, and then someone mentions gently – you do realise that you tick all the boxes for that thing, too?

Imagine having a job where you spend all day inside someone else’s head, using your powers of observation and your empathy – yes, empathy, the thing that you’re told you can’t have – to create stories which make people laugh and cry. Imagine being able to stand in front of huge groups of people at conferences and talk, and have people come up afterwards and say “thank you for making me feel like I could do it, too”.

Imagine if the payoff for doing those talks was reaching the end of the day so tired that the noises and the people and the chatter all blurred into one until you felt like you were inside a bell jar, mouthing hopelessly.

Imagine if, despite telling your daughter that she should be proud – fiercely proud – of who she is, of her sense of humour and her kindness and her passion and her loyalty and all the things that make her amazing, you were nervous of saying it out loud for yourself.

Imagine that.

I am a mother, I am a writer, I am a friend. I make people laugh. I am kind. I am compassionate. I am bright. I am creative. I am a lot of things.

I am autistic.


the state of grace - rachael lucas

I wrote the above when I first received my diagnosis of autism. Three years on, I’ve written the book I wished I’d had as a teenager – one where I might recognise myself. I wrote it for anyone who ever felt like the world didn’t quite make sense.

The State of Grace is published by Macmillan Children’s Books on the 6th of April.

Whip-smart, hilarious and unapologetically honest, The State of Grace is a heart-warming story of one girl trying to work out where she fits in, and whether she even wants to.

A sweetly funny look at first love, family and faking it told from the perspective of a heroine with Asperger’s and her own particular way of looking at the world. (Red Magazine Online)

This brilliant coming of age novel for young adults is set to become a classic. (AGA Magazine)

Buy here:


Amazon UK


Book Depository (with free world wide delivery)


Wildflower Bay is here!

If you enjoyed Sealed with a Kiss I think you’ll love this…

wildflower bay rachael lucas

This little island has some big secrets…

Isla’s got her dream job as head stylist at the most exclusive salon in Edinburgh. The fact that she’s been so single-minded in her career that she’s forgotten to have a life has completely passed her by – until disaster strikes.

Out of options, she heads to the remote island of Auchenmor to help out her aunt who is in desperate need of an extra pair of scissors at her salon.

A native to the island, Finn is thirty-five and reality has just hit him hard. His best friends are about to have a baby and everything is changing. When into his life walks Isla…

You can find it in ASDA, WHSmith, Waterstones, and all good bookshops.

You can also order it from Amazon or if you’re outside the UK order from Book Depository with FREE WORLDWIDE DELIVERY which is pretty blooming clever.

I’m off on holiday for a couple of weeks but I’ll be back afterwards with some very exciting new book news, and lots of photos from our trip. Happy reading!