Nannies, daughters-in-law and book covers – can they ever be good enough for your baby?

I was cautiously optimistic; even at the time of offering for the book, the publisher had shown me covers of other novels as examples of what they had in mind. Later, I’d been invited to send images of local houses and scenery. All this was reassuring, when I recalled the appalling stories of author friends: a heart-warming, beautifully written character-led story was given a cover she felt suggested erotic fiction; a thoughtful and moving memoir about some harsh realities of moving to the countryside was given a twee cover totally at odds with the book’s message. In comparison, I told myself I really had nothing to worry about. I just had to get used to the fact that my Spanish house was unlikely to look quite the same as I imagined, and not all my images – ‘essential’ Almerian semi-desert plants, locally specific ceramics, goats and a particular type of tasty but ugly tomato – were likely to be in it!

I was delighted when the first image arrived, except that they’d planted an Agave Americana right by the front door. It’s stunning and locally emblematic, but also a vicious invasive beast, with toxic sap giving agonising contact dermatitis! Luckily the publisher patiently let me do some re-planting.

So, here’s the final result – and I’m happy to say I really feel it does my baby proud.

You can now pre-order The Spanish House and its friendly pot plants on