DESPITE being a best-selling writer, there are some words PD James still struggles with, and it's the reason why fans are still anxiously awaiting the next installment of her best known hero Adam Dalgliesh.
The last novel featuring the detective was published in 2008, and it's not the plot that's stopped the 93-year-old in her tracks.
The reason is simply time, or a lack of it, and an inability to say "no" to the many engagements she is asked to attend.
The author, whose full name is Phyllis Dorothy White – James is her maiden name – admits: "On the whole I don't have time for writing. I miss it very much, but if I say no to anything then that's not good either. I enjoy the talks I give because I get to meet my readers so I would miss that.
"I've not been able to start on a new book because I'm just too busy. I would really like to do one more Dalgliesh, but I'm 93 now and I might not live to finish it. That would be very irritating. I hate to leave something unfinished.
"How long it takes me to write a story depends on the length of the book, how difficult the subject is, and the research I need to do. Some take three years and others 18 months.
"I've got the general plot and the setting already in my mind for the next Dalgliesh book. I've lived with that man for so long that I think I know him quite intimately. The only difference is I get older but he doesn't!
"You do get very fond of the characters you write about, even the murderers, because you have to get inside their mind. You have to be able to do that to be a novelist."
So it remains a mystery, much like the reoccurring themes found in Phyllis's books, whether or not the story will ever come to light.
In the meantime, Phyllis is still enjoying the success of her latest novel, Death Comes to Pemberley, which was released in 2011 and recreates the world of Pride and Prejudice.
It has been a number one bestseller in the UK, the States and most other countries, and has been reprinted nine times.
The book will be discussed in depth when the author comes to Devon to make her first appearance at the Budleigh Salterton Literacy Festival, taking place in the town from September 19 to 22.
Phyllis will be joined by the Observer journalist Rachel Cooke for an "in conversation" evening on Thursday, September 19.
"I've never been there before so I'm looking forward to it very much," says Phyllis. "Death Comes to Pemberley came about after I had just finished a very long detective story called The Private Patient and wondered what to do next.
"I thought about doing another Dalgliesh, but I had the idea in the back of my mind of showing Elizabeth and Mr Darcy six years after marrying and being very happy with two little boys."
Being the crime writer that Phyllis is, that happiness is short-lived, and this Christmas the BBC is broadcasting a three-part TV series based on the story.
In fact, most of her books have been filmed and broadcast on TV, not just in the UK but also the States and other countries.
Looking forward to seeing her latest work transformed onto TV, Phyllis says: "I saw some of the filming in Yorkshire recently and it was absolutely fascinating. I think it will look beautiful and I hope it will be successful.
"They have done most of my Dalgliesh stories on TV over the years. They have to change them because there are lots of differences between books, where the words are so important, and TV, where the picture and acting is so important."
For Phyllis the desire to write has been there since childhood, but it was a long time before she could dedicate her time to it with a family to support.
She spent 30 years in various departments of the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Department in the Home Office. Phyllis has also served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BBC.
They are all roles which have helped in her genre as a crime writer. Her ability to keep readers guessing has had people hooked on her books ever since her first novel, Cover Her Face, was published in 1962.
Her husband died two years after its release and never got to see the huge success she would become.
Over the years, Phyllis has written dozens of books including A Mind to Murder, An Unsuitable Job for A Woman, Innocent Blood, and A Certain Justice.
The recipient of many prizes and honors, she was created Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991, and also has an OBE to her name.
Phyllis, who lives in London and Oxford, reflects: "I'm very, very fortunate because to be really good you have to be born with a talent, but after that it's been hard work.
"For me, very often it's the place that begins a book. I get a strong response to a setting. It could be very sinister old building with a bloody history; a beach; or a scientific lab.
"I have always been drawn to detective novels. My books have to have a puzzle at the heart of it and it has to be solved so they are kind of almost formulaic.
"A murder is at the heart of the book, a close circle of suspects and a detective – either amateur or professional.
"There are clues along the way and the reader should be able to arrive at the truth through those clues in the book."
A self-confessed early riser, Phyllis is often up at 5am and can be at her writing desk by 6am, enjoying the chance to work in peace without any distractions. Not even the noise of typing on a computer keyboard can be heard.
"I'm no good at technology, but I have a very good secretary," laughs Phyllis. "I write by hand and dictate it to her and she puts it onto the computer and prints it out so I can edit it, or rather alter and revise it as I go.
"Some chapters go very easy and it just flows, and other times it's very difficult and I end up re-writing it many times."
Despite her many achievements, Phyllis never takes her success for granted.
"You get quite excited when you feel you've done a good piece of work," admits Phyllis. "It's a lovely feeling and it's so important to the publisher as well as they all like a success.
"It's certainly very important to me that the books are good, and continue to be good. If I felt I was not writing as well then it would be time to stop. You have to be very self critical. When you're a best-selling author people will buy your books just by your reputation. I don't want to publish a book just because I know it will sell, but because it is good."
In the past Phyllis would embark on international tours to promote her books. Although they have stopped, very little else has in Phyllis's busy life.
"My family have given up telling me to slow down!" says Phyllis. "They say I shouldn't say yes to so many things, but I do find it hard to say no as most of them are very interesting.
"People write me very nice letters asking me to come to various things and sometimes, when I do say no, they come back to me again the next year.
"The smaller literacy festival, like in Budleigh Salterton, are particularly interesting."
Tickets to see Phyllis In Conversation at St Peter's Church, The Lawn, as part of Budleigh Salterton Literacy Festival, cost £7.50.