From Car Crash to Crawdads
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 — or even particularly in the broader crime genre. I read (fiction) widely, hoping that I will learn from other authors, no matter what they’re writing about. I’m interested in compelling stories, because that’s w
Lopping and chopping
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 gives you more power than a straightforward pair. Much more, in a very exciting, and believe it or not, inspirational way. Now, before you start thinking I must be a committed gardener, let me say I’m no expert. M
Learning to be a duck
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-choice university, being dumped by your first boyfriend/girlfriend (and many more after that). It hurts. Time after time we get knocked back, our self-esteem dips, our confidence wanes. Yet repeatedly we get ba
With a storyteller's eyes...
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 characters are subtly evocative, as is the inspired reference to Battenburg cake on the cover. You know just from these things what era you’re in, or what generation the characters belong to. In The Truth Waits, I men
"There's so much research to do." Is there, really?
When I was around 17 years old, I mentioned to my father that I’d like to write a novel. I’m not sure whether I was thinking about a career in writing, or if I was simply interested in getting a book published, but I’d always enjoyed creative writing in my English classes at school, and relished using my imagination to make up stories. My father’s response was to say: “Don’t be silly. You won’t be able to write a novel. There’s so much research to do.” I remember at the time