I was delighted the other day when Deborah Swift’s new publisher emailed to ask me if I would review her new book – I love Deborah’s work and reading a new novel of hers is always a treat. And, of course, I was not disappointed when a bound proof copy of ‘Shadow On The Highway’ appeared and I got stuck in. It’s a terrific read – the first of a trilogy. It’s aimed largely at the teenage fiction market, but it is nonetheless thoroughly engaging for lovers of historical fiction of any age. (If Deborah’s aim in presenting her story to the teenage market is to capture the next generation of historical fiction lovers, then I reckon she has done a good job here!)
Set in seventeenth century England as the horrors of the Civil War are laying waste to people and land alike, Shadow on the Highway is narrated by Abigail Chaplin, unwillingly posted to Markyate Manor as a servant girl after her family is plunged into reduced circumstances. Abigail is a fascinating first person narrator, for, as well as being inexperienced, shy and diffident, she is also profoundly deaf – a disability the poor girl is convinced must be a divine punishment for something she did in earlier years.
Abigail becomes maidservant to the young and fiery Lady Katherine Fanshawe – a character loosely based on a real historical figure who was known (and depicted on screen as ‘The Wicked Lady’ by such actresses as Margaret Lockwood, if I remember rightly) to be a covert, cross-dressing highway robber. Lady Katherine is no easy mistress, and Abigail struggles both with the outrageous workload she is expected to manage, and with Lady Katherine’s mercurial and often reckless behaviour. Abi’s deafness is both blessing and curse in this situation. I very much enjoyed the contrast between the two characters – Abi’s good sense and tender-heart contrasts well with Katherine’s often unthinking and hot-headed courage. Both girls, in very different ways, have much to overcome in their lives and Deborah Swift explores their responses to their challenges with great energy.
Deborah Swift always Shadow on the Highwaytells a good story: her prose is sure and lyrical, her research is thorough (though always worn lightly) and her characters are convincing and engaging. There’s romance and a satisfying ending here, but also grit and a realistic depiction of poverty and violent struggle. This is – as you would expect for the teen market – an accessible historical read, and one which I’m sure will encourage young hist-fic dabblers into further forays in the genre.

Posted in General | Written By August 13, 2014 | Comments (0)

 It’s November – and that means it’s publication month!  My new novel, THE GIRL WITH THE PAINTED FACE will be published on 21st November and I’m once again in that state of flustered agitation in which I found myself before the arrival of each of my previous two books. Do you know what?  It doesn’t get any easier.

Painted Face1

 I’ve always thought that the process of the creation of a novel is a bit like a pregnancy (the exciting fizz of the initial inspiration could be seen as the conception, the long months of drafting, editing, copy-editing, etc is the three-trimester gestation and this … this last minute blog-writing, event-attending, internet-scanning, nail-chewing, anxious emailing of editor and publicist , etc … this is labour.  Second-stage labour now … arrival is imminent.)

 So what is the new arrival going to be about?  Well, it’s about love and loyalty, addiction and deception, false accusation and misunderstaning.  Does that make sense?  More specifically, the central character is a girl called Sofia, a seamstress in training, who enters the story at speed, falsely accused of theft (accused by an unpleasant customer who wanted rather more from her than the mended shirt for which he had paid …).   Penniless, and desperate to avoid the perils of whoredom, she is introduced to a troupe of travelling actors, who ask her to join them as costume mistress.  Within weeks, though, she is doing much more than just mending ripped breeches and darning torn shirts – she is learning to act.

 She’s delighted about this – partly because she finds that she enjoys being on the stage, but also because she realises that her acting lessons will bring her closer to the young man who plays the anarchic character Arlecchino (Harlequin).   And, as the two become increasingly intimate, Sofia is sure that she has never been happier.

 But not for long.  Trouble seems to follow Sofia (as it has followed her family for years).  After a fêted performance at an aristocrat’s castle, she is accosted by the womanising owner – and the following morning the man is found dead.  Sofia finds herself on the wrong end of a false accusation again – but this time it’s an accusation of murder.

 And that’s as much of the plot as you’re getting!

 I thought I might introduce you to the idea of Commedia dell’Arte though, and to one or two of the characters.  Commedia troupes were (as Commedia expert Pete Talbot explained it to me) part of the ‘carnivalesque’ tradition – that is, activities on the streets which marked the beginning and end of Lent (during which, of course, meat (or carne, in Italian) is forbidden to Catholics).  Many of these activities were anti-authority and anarchic … as Pete explained, if you have traditionally ‘scheduled’ occasions when everyone is out behaving badly together, it’s hard for the authorities to pin it onto any individual, so for the 16th century performer, it was a good occasion to indulge in a bit of satire, direct criticism of the powers-that-be and on occasion, a spot of downright rebellion.

  Pete says, ‘These players included improvising ‘fools’ in masks who barked like barrow boys, leapt like monkeys, and stood on one leg to play the mandolin, literate actors who kept speeches in commonplace books and learnt them by heart, lovers and servetti with painted faces (hence the title) who moved with the grace of Renaissance dancers and talked with the lyricism of poets, all assembled on the spot on trestle stages in a dynamic interchange with raucous crowds gathered outdoors in the piazzas of cities like Venice, Naples and Bologna.’

 So there’s an anarchic feel to Commedia shows.  You’re never quite sure whether what you think will happen, actually will!  It’s a tradition of archetypes – it contains a number of stock characters (usually masked) whom any 16th century audience would have recognised instantly.  To try to get your head around this idea, think of Charlie Chaplin.  We know him as the Little Tramp straight away; although he is a specific character in each film, he’s also always the Little Tramp . . .  but he’s also every hard-done-by person who has ever pitted himself against the rich and powerful. 

 There are far too many Commedia characters to talk about them all here, so for the moment, I’m going to focus on just a couple.  My two central characters, Sofia and Beppe, play two of the most recognisable Commedia characters – Arlecchino and Colombina (Harlequin and Columbine in English). 

 In Commedia tradition, Arlecchino is a servant, usually working for one of the more pompous and self-important characters like Il Capitano.  Arlecchino thinks of himself as being canny and clever, and he is physically agile, but he’s actually a bit of an idiot, and is always getting into terrible trouble.  He hatches complex schemes to get himself and others out of the messes he creates , though his schemes rarely work.  He’s in love with Colombina but might be distracted by any other pretty woman who comes anywhere near him.  Arlecchino always wears a jacket and trousers patterned in diamond shaped patches (which in the very beginning were probably leaves stitched together, and probably originated from the same traditions as The Green Man)  He has a black mask and a black woollen hat, and carries a thing called  a batocchio – which is also known as a slap-stick (hence the comedy term).  This is a weird sort of wooden bat, which cracks like a bull-whip when you smack it against your leg and can be used in all sorts of daft ways for comedic effect on stage!

 I had a brainwave when I thought about how to illustrate my post.   I teach in a performing arts school – the very wonderful Arabesque School of Performing Arts – so,  rather than just look for stock images on Google, I decided to ask a couple of my lovely students if they’d like to pose for me   They happily obliged, and my artist-and-photographer sister, Buffy Kimm, took the pictures.   The costumes come from The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company’s 2013 production of ‘Harlequin Goes to the Moon’ and were generously lent by Pete Talbot.

 Here’s Toby Corner,abby and toby 3 dressed as Arlecchino, in typical pose.  Arlecchino is clearly distressed by some piece of skulduggery which has gone badly wrong!

  The love of Arlecchino’s life is Colombina.  She is a servant, too (known in Italian as a servetta.  She’s sharp and canny and clever, a bit of a gossip, probably one of the few sensible female characters in the tradition. She’s in love with Arlecchino, but has no illusions about him – she knows all too well that he’s an idiot!  Author John Rudlin describes her as ‘the still centre of the turning wheel [on stage], in on everything that is going on, she exerts a benevolent influence on the outcome.’  She can be flirtatious, but ‘although she seems sexually very knowing, she is sometimes a virgin when it suits her.’

 Here is lovely Abigail Fell, in Colombina’s costume, in a traditional Colombina pose.  In fact, she IS  my ‘Girl With a Painted Face’!abby and toby 2

And lastly here are Arlecchino and Colombina in tender mode, sharing a moment’s intimacy. ( Bless them!)  Commedia actors don’t actually touch lips on stage (it risks messing up the make-up) so the kiss happens in mid-air, with the mouths an inch or so apart.abby and toby 1

 I hope this has given you a hint of the flavour of Commedia.  It’s been a wonderful voyage of discovery for me, researching and learning about the traditions of this extraordinary form of theatre.  If you live within reach of the south coast of England, and would like to see a commedia show for yourself, come and see Pete Talbot’s troupe, The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company, perform next summer.  Here’s a link to their website – http://www.therudemechanicaltheatre.co.uk/

 And here’s a link to my sister’s website. http://www.buffykimm.co.uk/   She’s a talented and innovative artist and photographer, and very generous with her time!  We actually took these shots of my students in my parents’ leaf-strewn back garden, and it was all thanks to Buffy’s wizardry that they’ve been transported all the way to Venice!

This will link you through to the Arabesque  website  http://www.arabesqueschool.co.uk/

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Posted in General | Written By November 3, 2013 | Comments (0)

I realised the other day that I’m rubbish at remembering to write reviews! 

Like most writers, I constantly have a novel on the go, and really love so many of the books I read, so I think  I really ought to be more assiduous in reviewing my favourites – I do love to read a good review of my own work, after all!   I read very widely and not just historical fiction, but as it happens, three of my favourite reads of the year do happen to be in my own genre:

A DIVIDED INHERITANCE by Deborah Swift
THE SKULL AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Michael Irwin
THE PARIS WINTER by Imogen Robertson

 

A DIVIDED INHERITANCE by Deborah Swift

Deborah and I met in Exeter in 2007, when we were both shortlisted for the Impress Prize for Fiction.  We have each published three novels, she with Macmillan and I with Little, Brown, and we’ve kept in touch since that first meeting, getting together when we can, although we live at opposite ends of the country.

ADIA DIVIDED INHERITANCE is, I think, my favourite of Deborah’s books, though I’ve loved them all.  Set partly in London at the very end of the 16th century, and partly in Seville at the beginning of the next, this is a gorgeous romp of a story.

The blurb will tell you that: Elspet Leviston’s greatest ambition is to continue the success of her father Nathaniel’s lace business.  But her dreams are thrown into turmoil with the arrival of her mysterious cousin, Zachary Deane, who has his own designs on Leviston Lace.  Zachary is a dedicated swordsman with a secret past that seems to invite trouble …’

 This is a true gem.   It has a pacey storyline,  the characters are complex , intriguing and often unexpected – and it is packed with fascinating historical fact, though as ever, Deborah Swift’s story wears its research lightly.  The swordsmanship is beautifully described – both visually and through the characters – the settings, both in London and Seville are evocative and engaging, and in particular, the depiction of the expulsion of the Moriscos by the Spanish Inquisition (something about which I knew nothing before reading) is at times truly shocking.

For me, though (ever drawn to characters above all), the overriding drive of the book is the beautifully drawn antagonism between central characters, Elspet and Zachary and the unexpected inheritance which both unites and divides them.   The gorgeous setting of heat-bound Seville is compelling; the plot moves as swiftly as Zachary’s newly-forged sword, and with as much courage and verve.

I emerged from reading  A DIVIDED INHERITANCE feeling slightly breathless, considerably more knowledgeable than I was when I began, and as fuzzily satisfied as I feel after a huge mug of tea and a piece of my favourite cake.  And that – from me – is saying something!

Check out Deborah’s website on:  http://deborahswift.blogspot.co.uk/

 

SkullNightingale_HC_c.JPGTHE SKULL AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Michael Irwin

I had awaited this book for ages.  Professor Michael Irwin’s expertise in the field of 18th century literature is considerable, and this, his first foray into fiction writing, promised to be something very special.  I wasn’t disappointed – it really, really is  wonderful – this is a cracking novel.  It’s something of a Rake’s Progress – as it tells you on the flyleaf:  when Richard Fenwick, a young man without family or means, returns to London from the Grand Tour, his wealthy godfather, James Gilbert, has an unexpected proposition. Gilbert has led a fastidious life in Worcestershire, but now in his advancing years, he feels the urge to experience, even vicariously, the extremes of human feeling—love and passion, adultery and deceit—along with something much more sinister. He has selected Fenwick to be his proxy, and his ward has no option but to accept.

But Gilbert’s elaborate and manipulative “experiments” into the workings of human behaviour drag Fenwick into a vortex of betrayal and danger where lives are ruined and tragedy is always one small step away. And when Fenwick falls in love with one of Gilbert’s pawns and the stakes rise even higher – is it too late for him to escape the Faustian pact?

This is a tour-de-force of a novel, with its narrative voice sounding authentically 18th century.  There is a cast of wonderfully depicted characters, from Fenwick himself to the fabulous Crocker – a Hogarthian giant of bodily excesses.  It’s a delightful – at times shocking and at times very funny – tale of debauchery, foolish decisions and questionable morality. In fact, the ethical rights and wrongs of the story do at times become seriously blurred and there are times when you wonder just how accurately your own moral compass is set.  The book ends with the possibility of a sequel – I have no idea whether Michael Irwin has one in mind … but I do hope so!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Skull-Nightingale-Michael-Irwin/dp/0007476337

 

Paris WinterTHE PARIS WINTER  by Imogen Robertson

I hadn’t heard of Imogen Robertson, before it was arranged that she and I would appear on a historical fiction festival panel together.  I thought I had better read her latest book before the event, so a few days ago, began tucking into ‘The Paris Winter’.

Oh wow!  Feeling like a greedy kid with a big bag of toffees, I just wolfed this book down almost in one sitting. I read it over meals, while cooking, while I should have been writing – I just walked about the house reading it, bumping into things.

Set in Paris at the end of 1909, this is a story which weaves a sinuous way through chilly Parisian streets; the city is largely viewed through the eyes of Maud Heighton, a struggling art student, and the visual descriptions are sparkling and atmospheric.

The plot is complex and compelling – and I don’t want to risk giving anything away.  But just know that it concerns art student Maud, her aristocratic Russian friend Tanya, a streetwise life model called Yvette and a brother and sister who have more than a few secrets to hide.  It is a story about addiction and lies, about theft and deception, about wealth and poverty.  It’s a fabulous read and I absolutely loved it!

http://www.imogenrobertson.com

What have your favourite books been this year – and why?

Posted in General | Written By October 31, 2013 | Comments (4)

I’m delighted to be appearing twice in this year’s Havant Literary Festival!

On Saturday 5th October at 12.15 at the Spring Arts Centre, I’ll be celebrating the release of my new novel ‘The Girl With The Painted Face’, and then on Tuesday 8th October, at 3.30 pm, I’m running a Historical Fiction Masterclass, at the Havant Meeting Place.   All details available on the Havant Literary Festival website – http://www.havantlitfest.org.uk/programme.php

Do come along if you can – I’d love to see you there!

Posted in General | Written By September 9, 2013 | Comments (0)

THE GIRL WITH THE PAINTED FACE

I know it’s a bit of a long time until November, when my new novel is due to be published, but I felt that it was time for the book to have its first airing on the website.   

It is going to be called THE GIRL WITH THE PAINTED FACE and it’ll be on the shelves from 21st November 2013.  This is a story about a troupe of travelling actors, and the troubles that befall  them over a few difficult months during 1582.

The book is set in Emilia Romagna, in Italy, and as the novel opens, seventeen-year-old seamstress Sofia Genotti is on the run, falsely accused of theft. Penniless and desperate to avoid the perils of whoredom, she is introduced to a troupe of actors, who ask her to join them as costume mistress. Within weeks, though, she is asked if she would care to learn how to act.  She is delighted with this idea, as acting will surely bring her closer to Beppe Bianchi, the young man who plays the anarchic character, Arlecchino (Harlequin), for the troupe.  And, as the two become steadily closer, Sofia is sure that she has never been happier. 

But her happiness does not last long – after a fêted performance at an aristocrat’s castle, she is accosted by the owner … and the following morning the man is found dead.  Sofia finds herself faced with another accusation – this time, one of murder.

Who was the dead nobleman, and how did his secret past lead to his death? A tale of blackmail, violence and sexual jealousies will reveal the true killer and the redemptive power of theatre will triumph.

Over the weeks between now and publication, I’ll tell you more about the theatrical traditions of the time – those of Commedia dell’Arte – and more about the research I did for the book,  which has included practical drama workshops, a lovely day helping set up the set for a Commedia show, and several failed attempts to learn how to juggle!

Posted in General | Written By July 14, 2013 | Comments (0)

A couple of days ago, I made the decision to take myself off all social networking for six weeks, while I blast into the final twenty thousand words or so of my third novel.  The deadline is mid-March, (publication in November) I still have a scary amount to write, and still have a couple of  plot decisions to make (which is just how I like it, I hasten to add – I’d find it very boring if I knew EXACTLY what was going to happen from the start!), so I’ve announced on Twitter and Facebook, that I’m bowing out for a month or so, so I can at least try to avoid any unnecessary distraction.

Thinking of distractions:  the Christmas holidays end this evening – I’m back to teaching two days a week from Tuesday.  The holidays have, up until this Christmas break, tended to be difficult for me as a writer.  I have two teenage girls, and their constant background jumble of noise, pulsing beats, bickerings and singings-in-the-shower tends to fill the house from the moment they wake.  It’s always been a real struggle to achieve anything much in the writing department, whilst my kids are off school.  I don’t know about you, but I have to have silence, to write – no background music, definitely no quacking TV in the background, no squabbling.

But with the deadline being this close, I had no choice this year – I was just going to have to write every day in the holiday –  so I changed my routine, and started getting up at six, and aiming to make my daily thousand-word wordcount before everyone else woke up.  I wasn’t sure how it would work – how successfully I’d be able to write at that time of day, and how easily I could achieve anything like the word-count … but I needn’t have worried.

It worked brilliantly!  I really enjoyed being a crack-of-dawn writer.

I was at the computer by 6.30 every morning (not Christmas Day or Boxing Day obviously – even I have limits!) and apart from one day, achieved my thousand-word count by about 9.15, just as the first grumbling teen emerged, frowsty and rumpled, to ask if anything exciting was going to happen that day. 

I wonder how other writers cope with busy family times, when deadlines have to be met, and wordcounts achieved alongside the busy day-to-day-ness of life with children.  (As a working mother, I’ve always had a soft spot for Elizabeth Gaskell, who apparently wrote most of her novels up at the kitchen table,  surrounded by her offspring.)

Posted in General | Written By January 6, 2013 | Comments (10)

Years ago, in the days before I ever tried to write a novel, I used to hear of writers saying that their characters ‘didn’t always do what they told them to’, or that they had ‘a mind of their own’.   While I was rather charmed by the thought of fictional inventions having a life beyond that given to them by the writer, the sentiment struck me as rather pretentious and unlikely. 

Pretentious and unlikely, that is, until I started writing my own novels, and discovered that this is exactly what characters seem to do.  Not necessarily often, but more than seldom, I suppose.  And when a moment like that happens, it feels great –  one of the best moments in the writing of a novel perhaps –  because it’s at that point that you realise that the narrative and the characters you have invented have a genuine life, which exists beyond that of your own imagination.  For me, it’s one of the ‘fixes’ that make writing so exciting.

Something of the sort happened a week or so ago, in the writing of my new novel.  I don’t want to give any plot away, but one character – let’s call him A – is winding up the heroine, who, for the sake of this post, we can call S.  A is trying to prejudice her against a young man (B) in whom she is developing quite an interest.  I had written a short section of dialogue between them, in which A was telling S that she should be careful of getting too close to B.  Why, she asks.  ‘Ah, well,’ A says, shrugging – ‘If you knew about his past …’

At this point, A might well have known about B’s past, but for me, well  I had absolutely no idea what he was referring to, myself.  I hadn’t been expecting A to say that to S at all, and hoped very much that inspiration would strike, so that I could come up with a suitable back story for B over the next few pages.

Later in the chapter, S confronts B and asks to know what A is talking about – she’s desperate to know what’s happened in his past that might be seen by A as being problematical.  He promises to tell her later.   As he promised,  I still had no idea what dark secrets B might have been harbouring, so as I wrote his words, I was worrying about what the hell I was going to come up with.

Then, a couple of pages further on, the moment of revelation was reached.  There was no getting away from it.  B agreed to tell S all about the unspoken history A had raked up – but I still had NO IDEA what the back story was.  Then I opened the speech marks …  and B just told her.  He knew.  I didn’t, but he did.  It was extraordinary.  I hadn’t planned it, or consciously invented it – B just knew.

And what was even odder was that as the story poured out, I realised that it explained something fundamental about B’s motivation, and I realised that I understood something about him of which I hadn’t been aware up until then.

It was a really exciting moment.

I’m sure that any writer who reads this will have had a moment like that of their own – do share!

Posted in General | Written By November 10, 2012 | Comments (4)

I spent a few days this summer doing something I have never done before.  It was great fun and a lot of REALLY hard work.  I recorded an audiobook. 

It all started a few months ago, when my agent emailed to say that she was pleased to tell me she had sold the audiobook rights to ‘His Last Duchess’  – to a company called Oakhill Publishing;  Oakhill produce audiobooks largely for libraries.  Little, Brown was, she said, also planning to release the book as an Amazon Audible Download.

 I immediately emailed back to say, ‘Hurrah!  And can I do the recording myself please?’  My lovely agent said I could of course ask Little, Brown what they thought of this idea, but that it was unlikely, as authors don’t normally read their own work on recorded audiobook tracks.  I think she was trying to let me down gently.  But, being a determined sort, (and horribly possessive about my books), I emailed Little Brown and asked them.  ‘Well,’ came the reply, ‘we don’t normally tend to have authors read their own books, but you can do a demo if you like, and we’ll send it on to Oakhill.’

So I spent this year’s parental birthday money on two hours in a local recording studio, and laid down (I think that’s the term) twenty minutes or so’s worth of extracts – scenes with lots of characters, and heightened emotions etc so that the company could get an idea of what I can do.

Sarah, the audiobook person at Little, Brown, liked my demo and sent it on to Oakhill.  And then Oakhill said yes.  I was so chuffed, I can’t tell you!

So, now picture me on my way up to the company’s studio in Chiswick, which in fact turns out to be a room in Douglas the producer’s very pretty terraced house.   Douglas is friendly and welcoming, and he makes me feel much more confident than I thought I would be.  He shows me into where we will be doing the recording.  Imagine a smallish room, in one corner of which has been built a little cubicle, about five feet square and seven feet tall.  A slightly larger telephone box – that sort of size.  It is completely lined, walls and ceiling, in the sort of bobbly egg-box-type foam rubber that lines posh aluminium computer cases, and it has in it a small table, a chair, an anglepoise lamp, the (rather scary-looking) microphone – and a cushion.  There is one small window, looking out into the rest of the room.  It’s like a cross between a sauna and a padded cell.

We do the level-checks:   I read little extracts and Doug listens and fiddles with the settings on his computer, asking me to re-read bits and pieces from time to time.

And then I start reading for real.  It takes a couple of pages to settle down to it, and to stop stumbling, but it gets easier as the day progresses – and I’m astonished to find that at the end of day one, we have completed A THIRD of the book!  More than a hundred and thirty pages.

That evening, my throat feels very strange – not sore, like it can be with a cold or tonsillitis or something, but more as though it has been quilted.  It feels fat and hot and padded and as if it has shrunk in the wash and is now a couple of sizes too small for me.  I suck spoonfuls of Manuka Honey, drink lots of water (and a couple of glasses of wine …) and avoid speaking.  I just do a lot of nodding and ‘mmm-ing’. 

It doesn’t feel too bad in the morning, so, crossing my fingers, back I go to Chiswick, and we start again, on the next third of the book.

Douglas makes me re-do a number of sentences over the three days it takes us to complete the book – not all because I fall over my words, but a fair few because my tummy keeps rumbling and the microphone picks it up!  I squash the cushion over it in an attempt at smothering the noise.   I have to smother my embarrassment, too, in a couple of places, too, when reading the steamier scenes – luckily I can’t see Doug from where I’m reading, because, believe me, it’s a trifle embarrassing to stumble over a sentence and have him say cheerfully, ‘mmm … OK, shall we just pick it up again after ‘buttocks’…  .    

I quaff my way through mug after mug of warm water with yet more Manuka Honey and lemon juice in it, which seems to be an effective way of placating my still-protesting throat:  the poor thing has never had to do anything like repeated seven-hour reading stints before. 

But in the event, thanks to Doug’s skills, my determination and a fair bit of luck, we manage to complete the whole book in three days, and I am so into the whole process by that point that I’d willingly have started on the next novel straight away!

The audiobook of ‘His Last Duchess’ is being released as a physical audiobook for libraries by Oakhill on 15th October, and as an Amazon Audible Audiobook on 22nd October.

I’m really happy that the lovely people at the Writers’ Hub in Portsmouth have asked me to come and talk to them on 3rd October at the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth (blimey – can it be that late in the year already!?).

Here’s a link to all the details: http://www.newtheatreroyal.com/index.php/whats-on/octhubmeet

Posted in General | Written By September 23, 2012 | Comments (0)

I’m appearing at the Arundel Festival, alongside writer friends Isabel Ashdown and Jane Rusbridge – together, we are the 3 Sussex Writers!  We’ll be reading from our books, talking about writing, and our journeys to publication – and we’ll be taking questions from the audience.  We’ll also be offering a quick writing exercise, for anyone who would like to give that a go!    All details below:

Posted in General | Written By August 2, 2012 | Comments (0)