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‘The time comes when there’s an overwhelming need to set something down. to begin. I bring up the blank Word document and give it a name and a date.’

Katharine Quarmby spends a diary week researching and editing her first novel, a work of historical fiction inspired by a cruel act of punishment, and finds the process surprisingly familiar.

‘I can write anywhere, and under most conditions, and yet, despite having motive, means and opportunity, I frequently lack the resolve to commit the perfect rhyme.’