The Body at Rookery Barn!

I know, I know, I’m horrifically behind with the website and everything… but I will make more of an effort!

Anyway, the big news is the release of my first cosy crime novel: The Body at Rookery Barn. It’s out in October 2023 – currently you can preorder the ebook at Amazon, but it will also be a paperback and an audiobook (so you will be able to order those from bookshops, if you want to support indies, or from Amazon).

Storm has really done me proud with the cover.

Why am I particularly pleased with this? The cottage where I grew up was allegedly a haunted house, and there’s a ghost story connected to the farmhouse in this book. When I showed sneaky previews of the cover to my family, they all just stared at me and said, ‘That’s Mill House.’ (It’s not quite, but near enough!)

Then there are the rooks. Now, I see those rooks circling overhead, and I think of a certain story by Daphne du Maurier – who also wrote a story called The Blue Lenses (I won’t give spoilers, just to say that a woman has an eye operation and it affects the way she sees things). The concept stuck in the back of my head; I’m deaf, like Georgina, and when I got my first hearing aids I thought, what if I could hear something that nobody else could hear? (And what might that be? You’ll have to read the book to find out!)

Then there are the flowers. This is the kind of garden I would love to have… but with spaniels who like bringing in plants, that’s never going to happen. Plus my gardening skills are a bit limited (don’t ask about the lockdown veg project. Not helped by a 10-week-old puppy who saw it as his duty to harvest all the carrots and run round with them. And the herbs). But it’s my fantasy garden.

Then you have the sky. In Norfolk (where I live, and where the book is set), we have AMAZING skies. I love what the designer’s done here.

I’m thrilled to bits. I loved writing this story. If you like my romances, you’ll love this (no gore – probably less gory than my Medicals, actually) because it’s the voice you’re used to. If you don’t like romances – well, hey, this is cosy crime. You’re in the right place. If you like quirky stuff, this is definitely for you.

And where can you get a copy? Why… click on the link. (For transparency, I do get a small commission if you buy using this link, but it doesn’t cost you anything. Thank you!)

Writing life, Writing news

My new partner in crime…

I’ve been sitting on this news for a little while, but now I’m delighted to say that I’m branching out in a new direction!

Emily Gowers of Storm has acquired the first three books in my cosy crime series, the Georgina Drake mysteries.

I’m keeping some of it under wraps for the time being, but what you need to know is that it’s pure Kate Hardy. (I mentioned it to my M&B editors, who both said, ‘OMG, that is so YOU’ and want to read it now, but they have to wait!) So expect the usual stuff you get in my books: warm characterisation, a bit of quirkiness, Shakespeare, dogs, cake – and you’ll learn something new. If you like my romances, you’ll love my crime; and if you like my crime, you’ll love my romances.

The series is set in Norfolk, UK, in a village called Little Wenborough (which is a bit of a nod to the places where I grew up, plus the river I walk along with my boys), Georgina is a couple of years younger than I am, and like me is deaf. She’s about to acquire a Springer Spaniel (important for book 2 – and, yes, we all know who inspired that).

My research crew is still going to the same sort of places with me, but the new thing is ‘now, where could we hide a body?’ – though the fact that I’m dabbling with poison doesn’t seem to have stopped them demanding lunch out and cake…

I should add that I’m not giving up romance (I’m writing two books at the same time, which keeps my ADHD side very happy; and there’s a bit of romance coming up for Georgina), but I’m thrilled to bits about this new venture.

And I’ll let Storm tell you the rest 🙂

Publication day, Writing life, Writing news

Book 100 for M&B!

I’m late with this. Late Tardy, y’might say 🙂 But February 2023 is a massive month for me. Starting with the publication of Book 100 for M&B on 2 Feb – actually, it was already out in Australia last month, and it’s out in the US at the end of this month, but the wonderful manager of our local Waterstone’s hosted a launch party in exactly the same place as we launched M&B 1, A Baby of Her Own.

Anyway. Book 100. I wanted it to be my favourite trope – the fake fiancé – with a little bit of a twist to it. And I wanted it to be set in Norfolk, my favourite part of the world. And it’s on a farm (I’m married to a farmer!).

What’s the twist? Well, this is the blurb…

A fiancé for the cameras…or for ever?

In Kate Hardy’s 100th book, marketing executive Elle must put her childhood home on the map by helping manager Charlie promote Bluebell Farm as a wedding venue. Ignoring their chemistry isn’t easy—especially when they become the focus of the campaign and everyone is convinced their posed engagement is real! And when the lines blur Elle’s tempted to dream it could be too…

I loved writing this. And I loved being able to celebrate. Hence roping my family in to drop off 24 bottles of pink prosecco to Waterstones/help me organise a ‘raffle’ (no purchase required, just me giving something back) and help put chairs out.

My friend Nicki made me the most amazing cake to go with the bubbles.

My friend Rachel Hore (a Sunday Times bestselling author who writes fabulous books) interviewed me (thank you to Lizzie Lamb for the pic).

And my biggest supporter was there, so I wanted him to help me cut the cake (with the same knife we’d used for our wedding, 30 years ago!)

Thank you to the readers, editors and friends who’ve been there with me on the journey since the very first M&B, 20 years ago. Thank you also to Rowan Mantell of Archant for the fabulous articles in Norfolk Magazine, the EDP and the Evening News, and to Denise Bradley of Archant for taking wonderful photos.

And thank YOU for being part of it.

Stitching, Writing life

And more stitching…

Stitching is very useful when I want to think about a plot. I’ve totally fallen in love with the Bothy Threads Wrendale designs, and thoroughly enjoyed working on my first two last year.

Also did two special samplers for my children’s birthdays – a Shelley quote in a border of rosebuds for Chloe’s 21st, and a chemistry sampler from an Etsy pattern for Chris’s birthday last week. (Mathysphere – excellent astronomy pattern as well, but it means working on a dark background and that’s VERY hard on my eyesight. Very dark colours, or white on a white background, means a daylight lamp and maximum twenty minutes’ stitching.

I did a couple of birthday ones for other special people: firstly, this one for my friend Jo’s 50th (her three dogs – her younger Cockapoo is darker than the pic, but then the detail wouldn’t have shown up so I fudged it slightly).

Then one for my sister-in-law, of her cat. (This is a Bothy design. They’re SO nice to work with. Particularly loved the brightness of the colours in the flowers for this one.)

And finally, one for me – Shakespeare! It’s yet another Bothy (they are my favourite designer) and was great fun to do. I’m mulling about designing my own Thomas Hardy one in this kind of style. However. I’m on deadline. Back to work, slack me 🙂

Publication day, Writing life, Writing news

Double publication day!

Thrilled to say that today is publication day for my Medical twin doctor duo – Second Chance with her Guarded GP, and Baby Miracle for the ER Doc. (Click on the links to find out more about the books.)

Ollie and Rob are twins; and when Rob has a burst appendix that goes wrong, gives him severe blood poisoning and wipes out his kidneys, of course Ollie offers him a kidney.

They’re complete opposites – Ollie is calm and organised, and Rob is restless and a chaos magnet.

And although neither think they’re looking for love, while they’re recuperating from the operation they meet the women who will change their lives…


Stitching, Writing life

Kate’s ‘big stitching project’, 17/8/21 part 2


One of the joys of summer in Norfolk is a poppy field.

So I wanted to include a poppy. It’s another from a cross-stitch magazine, designed by Joanne Sanderson. I enjoyed the richness of the colours in this one, and the outlining made a huge difference.


Next: a swan. This motif does several duties: memories of feeding swans with my parents as a child, the swans at Stratford-upon-Avon, the Yeats poem (which is one of my favourites) and Swan Lake. This is a Maria Diaz design, and again the outlining made a huge difference.

Next is one of my favourite places: the Globe. This symbolises my love of theatre and particularly Shakespeare, and I’ve been fortunate to see several productions here (Mark Rylance as Iago was a standout), as well as to an amazing production of Faustus in winter by candlelight in the Sam Wanamaker stage here. Going to the theatre/gigs was the thing I missed most in lockdown — streamed performances just aren’t the same. Best Shakespeare ever: for me that’s Ian McKellen in King Lear.  The design is from a Bothy Threads Shakespeare sampler; my son bought me the kit for Christmas and I’m looking forward to stitching it later.


Finally on this section, a guitar — another Maria Diaz design, though I changed the colours a little bit to make it slightly more like my own guitar. This one symbolises my love of music. (I couldn’t fit a piano and cello as well!)


Stitching, Writing life

Kate’s ‘big stitching project’ 17/8/2021, part 1

Ouch – three months since I last posted! In that time, I have done some other projects – a wedding sampler which I’ll post after the wedding, and a sampler for my daughter’s 21st, which I’ll post later.

But updates on the big project.


I’ve always been fascinated by peacocks, and I really enjoyed stitching this one. It’s a Lesley Teare design from a cross-stitch magazine, full of complicated fractional stitches and those backstitched swirls.

Next was the rose – I adore roses, and have quite a few in my garden. I remember my dad trying to grow a blue rose (Blue Moon); my mum’s favourite was a very deep red (Deep Secret). My late agent bought me a beautiful Brother Cadfael when my dad died, and I’m not allowed anywhere that sells David Austin roses without adult supervision, because they just come home with me. (Madame Hardy – well, obviously that had to be there. And Darcey Bussell. I have my eye on Emily Bronte and The Mill on the Floss. Of course it’s an arty garden!) This is another Lesley Teare design – ‘vintage rose’, and I loved the shades in this.


Next, the stained glass window. This represents my love of church-crawling – I did want to stitch my favourite view of Norwich Cathedral spire here, but couldn’t make it work. So instead I used a Bothy Threads (Derwentwater) design; the ‘panes’ of glass are in single rather than double thread, giving that lovely quality of light coming through.

I definitely wanted bluebells. A bluebell wood is one of the deep joys of spring; my favourite is probably Blickling Great Wood (because we can take the dogs), though I also love the ancient woodland at Foxley. And it took lockdown for us to discover that we had a bluebell woodland roughly fifteen minutes’ walk from our back door… This one’s from a cross stitch magazine.


Stitching, Writing life

Kate’s ‘big stitching project’, 24/5/2020

Finished the next ‘line’ of the sampler, so I need to do a chunk of fiddly border before I start the next set of motifs.

The ballet dancer is a Lisa Reakes design (from a magazine), and represents my love of ballet and dance in general. I prefer dance aerobics and Zumba to any other cardio, and loved learning ballroom; Gerry and I were utterly hopeless at the waltz, but we enjoyed the quickstep, samba, rumba, jive and our absolute favourite was the cha-cha-cha. Sadly his arthritic hip meant we had to give up lessons. I desperately wanted ballet lessons as a child, but didn’t get them because I was too clumsy and round. However, I always loved the music of Swan Lake and the Nutcracker. I finally got to see Swan Lake a couple of years ago, and the theatre sent me an email asking if I’d like to try adult beginner ballet classes. I did – and it’s the best decision I ever made. Absolute joy. I love the music, I love the movement, and I come out of class feeling as if I’m floating. It’s been very good for my balance, and during lockdown zoom classes the dogs have joined in! I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed workshops, and the one where we danced to the Sugar Plum Fairy was utterly wonderful.


The teacup is a Lesley Teare design (from a magazine), and I chose this one because it’s very close to the Royal Albert ‘Old Country Roses’ design of my mum’s posh china. It’s also a nod to afternoon tea at the Assembly House in Norwich (aka a special treat). My tea of choice is either Passionfruit and Orange, or Cornucopia (mixed fruit, quite heavy on the blueberries). A book and tea in a pretty cup is such a good combination. The gold thread was meant to be the DMC ‘light effects’, but it wasn’t very nice to work with and refused to lie flat, so I unpicked it and used the same gold as the lighter one in the border. The outlining is a bit looser than I’m used to, so it was fun to try a slightly different approach. (I do like Lesley’s designs, and the one I’m doing next – in shades of teal, blue and orange – is also one of hers.)