Sarah Winman is the author of 2011's runaway success When God Was a Rabbit. We can exclusive reveal the cover her new book, coming next summer, A Year of Marvellous Ways. Set in Cornwall in 1947 it tells the story of the unlikely friendship between 90-year-old Marvellous Ways and young soldier Drake.
So here she was, old now, standing by the roadside waiting.
Ever since she had entered her ninetieth year Marvellous Ways spent a good part of her day waiting, and not for death, as you might assume, given her age. She wasn't sure what she was waiting for because the image was incomplete. It was a sense, that's all, something that had come to her on the tail feather of a dream - one of Paper Jack's dreams, God rest his soul - and it had flown over the landscape of sleep just before light and she hadn't been able to grasp that tail feather and pull it back before it disappeared over the horizon and disintegrated in the heat of a rising sun. But she had known its message: Wait, for it's coming.
She adjusted the elastic on her large glasses and fitted them close to her face. The thick lenses magnified her eyes tenfold and showed them to be blue and as fickle as the sea. She looked up and down the stretch of road once grandly known as the High Road, which was now used as a cut-through by heavy farm vehicles on their way to Truro. The familiar granite cottages - ten in all - built a century ago to house men for the farms and gardens of large estates, were boarded up and derelict, visited only by ghostly skeins of gorse and bramble that had blown in like rumour from afar.
A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman is out next June from Headline.