In 2004, while waiting for my novel about Henry James, Author, Author, to come out, I occupied myself by writing the introduction to a Penguin Classics edition of HG Wells's novel Kipps. In April I made this note in my very occasional diary:
Researching Kipps I came across in Wells's Experiment in Autobiography an interesting story of the ménage of Mr and Mrs Hubert Bland at Well Hall, Eltham. He was a Fabian, a philanderer who converted to Catholicism, she was E Nesbit. Possible material for a novel like Author, Author here. Sex, politics, children's literature . . . How much has it been worked over?