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January 31, 2020

I’ve been having a think recently about the concept of a ‘hook’ in writing. Specifically with reference to novels (obviously!). I was prompted towards this train of thought by the book that I’m currently reading, which has such a good ‘hook’ that I can’t put it down. I...

December 31, 2019

When I first thought about doing this blog, I discarded the idea because ‘everyone’ does it.

But then I decided that my choices are different from anyone else’s, and you might just be interested in them. I don’t read exclusively in my genre — psychological thrillers — o...

October 9, 2019

A few weeks ago, I bought a pair of ratcheted loppers for the garden. Bear with me, because this is relevant. For those of you who may not know what a pair of ratcheted loppers is, it’s a tool to chop large-ish branches from shrubs and bushes, and the ratchet action gi...

August 28, 2019

I've borrowed this descriptor from Amazon, because I think it's so apt. Just after I read the book, I saw the play – at the Bridge Theatre, with Joanne Froggatt as Frances. It was brilliant, and really brought this gripping, unsettling novel to life....

June 3, 2019

I’m in awe of authors. All of them — novelists, non-fiction writers, experts, short story writers, people who write cookery books, children’s stories and all the other types of books I haven’t mentioned. The life of an author is a rollercoaster, full of highs and lows,...

April 10, 2019

I went on a Nordic cruise a few weeks ago, and someone recommended this book: The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen (translated by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw). I was so glad I read it while I was there; it really enhanced my experience of the country.

Similarly, I was reading...

March 5, 2019

As an author, one of the questions I’ve grown to hate is: “How are sales of [insert latest book] going?”

You’d think that was a reasonable question, and all things being equal, I’d say you’re right. In most businesses, you’d probably have a pretty good grip on how sales...

February 20, 2019

Nobody likes rejection. Throughout life there are many occasions when we feel its pain: not being included in friendship groups at school, being excluded from that party, not getting into the school you longed to attend. Not getting the grades you needed for your first...

February 4, 2019

There are some authors who have a gift for creating a setting in their novels that truly resonates with readers.

In writer-speak, ‘setting’ includes both place and time. For example, in Joanna Cannon’s wonderful novel, Three Things About Elsie, the names of her characte...

February 2, 2019

Three Things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon

I read this book late into the night, and really looked forward to getting back to it. You can’t really call it a classic page-turner, though it has a lovely twist or two. It’s beautifully imagined and the characters are portray...