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Author blog post by Charlotte Butterfield


Charlotte Butterfield, author of By This Time Tomorrow relives some moments in her past she would do a little differently given the chance…



‘Turn around, shut the door, then come in the room again and let’s start again.’ I say these words to my children fairly regularly, usually when I’m greeted with an unintelligible grunt in the morning or get accused of moving or losing a belonging, and this formed the basis for what has now become By This Time Tomorrow. What if it was really that easy? A simple swivel on your heel, a closing and opening of a door and the previous moment has been erased and restarted. If only.

Writing this novel where the main character Jess has the ability to re-do any moment from her past, it would have been impossible not to wonder what I would alter or fix from my own 44-years of life. Here are some of the moments I would tell my past self to do a little differently.


  1. 1994-96, Bristol. You don’t need to date a roll call of deeply unsuitable boyfriends; including heavily tattooed heavy rock enthusiasts (*disclaimer, nothing wrong with tattoos, or rock, but this one had a list of previous girlfriends snaking up his forearm), and a glass-eyed jobbing photographer, (*disclaimer, nothing wrong with glass eyes but this glass eye stayed open while he slept). Just say, ‘I’m really flattered, but I’m busy Saturday’ when they ask you out. You’ll thank me, and so will your Mum.
  2. Summer 2002, Bangkok. You’ve bought the mosquito repellent, so for the love of god wear it. While we’re on the subject of Thailand, that plate of pad thai wrapped up in an undercooked omelette you’re thinking about buying from that man on a bicycle with a hot plate in his front basket may not be the best idea you’ve ever had. Swerve it, and head for a restaurant with an indoor kitchen and refrigeration for its ingredients.
  3. 2009, Dubai. You have to bow out of your best friend’s really important party a few hours before it starts because you’re eight months pregnant and hot and massive, and can’t bear the idea of leaving the house and putting on shoes. Tell her that. She’ll be annoyed, but that’s ok. The web of lies you’re thinking of concocting will be found out, and will dissolve a really great friendship that will never be rebuilt. Also, if you are going to text your husband telling him how unreasonable said friend is make sure you send it to him. And not her. Or neither of them, and just allow her to be angry because she has every right to be, keep apologising, and then book a brunch for the two of you. And take flowers.
  4. 2017, Rome. Before moving to Italy learn how to say, ‘yes I would like four carrier bags please,’ and ‘Please can you speak a little slower, I’m only learning,’ and other useful phrases, not just, ‘large glass of Pinot Grigio please’. This will save a lot of hassle and heartache, and mean that you don’t have palpitations every time someone speaks to you and you won’t need to duck and hide out of sight if the doorbell rings. You’ll cry a lot less too. Seriously, do a language course.
  5. 2005-2022, Everywhere. Decline the third bottle of wine when there’s only two of you drinking it. In every situation. Always. You’re welcome.



By This Time Tomorrow is out now in eBook!