Skip to Content

Writing Life

In discussion with Lucienne Boyce

Lucienne was born in Wolverhampton and now lives in Bristol, which is the inspiration and setting for much of her work. She completed an MA in English Literature (with Distinction) with the Open University in autumn 2006, specialising in eighteenth-century fiction. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, having joined shortly after the HNS was founded…
» Continue Reading

Why I am currently reading A Funeral for an Owl by Jane Davis

Goodreads would like to know what I am currently reading. Well, Goodreads, the book I’m currently reading is A Funeral for an Owl by Jane Davis. When there are so many choices of reading material, and my to-read pile is toppling, why should I revisit my own books with a fresh eye? Once I have published, shouldn’t I just move on? You might argue…
» Continue Reading

A Glimpse Inside my Rejections Folder

Early in my writing career I was given some excellent advice: develop the skin of a rhino. And at no time have I found this advice more valuable than during the tortuous submissions process. ‘The literary industry – agents, editors, media arbiters of taste, publishers – forms a chain of filters that takes raw fiction, cuts…
» Continue Reading

Unlikely heroines: why I chose to write a novel about a prostitute

Writing a novel about a ballerina who turns to prostitution seems a strange choice for a writer who normally goes out of her way to avoid writing sex scenes. And, no, it’s not simply out of fear of ending up alongside Manil Suri on the podium clutching a bad sex award, or the thought that my mother might read it….
» Continue Reading

Book cover design – how I do it

‘A beautiful object’ In his 2011 Man Booker acceptance speech, Julian Barnes was quick to praise the unsung hero in the publication process, his book cover designer, Suzanne Dean. But this was three years ago, and Barnes’s concern was the rise of the e-book which, as we all know, is no threat to the paperback. It is just another…
» Continue Reading

Meet TLC’s PEN Factor winner, Piers Alexander

As an avid reader, I’m always excited to discover new authors. And so I was delighted to be contacted by Piers Alexander, author of The Bitter Trade, his first novel. He is also a serial media entrepreneur (I must admit I’m not 100 per cent sure what that means), and lives in London with the singer-songwriter…
» Continue Reading

Arranging Words in a Pleasing Order

Perhaps my favourite description of writing is ‘arranging words in a pleasing order.’ (This comes courtesy of Sir Terry Pratchett. Again.) Even at last week’s book reading at Waterstone’s, I realised that if I were editing ‘Half-truths and White Lies’ now, I would have kept the language simpler. During my reading, I skipped over words that I thought…
» Continue Reading

Tired and Emotional

Yesterday, I surprised myself. Between the buzz of Thursday night’s book talk, the hot weather and our resident demented pigeon, whose calls are amplified tenfold by the chimney, I hadn’t slept. Just to explain, I do not cope well without sleep. I get out of bed feeling like death warmed up and rapidly go downhill. Rather than…
» Continue Reading

Book Talk at Waterstones, Sutton

I have to admit that public speaking is not my favourite thing, but given that it is a necessary evil, last night’s talk at my local branch of Waterstone’s in Sutton was one of the more enjoyable events I have taken part in (and not only because we were able to extend the evening with a…
» Continue Reading

Uncommon Arrangements

I read yesterday of the sad loss of Hilary (Hilly) Kilmarnock, mother of Martin Amis and wife of the late Kingsley Amis. I knew nothing of Hilly’s story, but was moved to learn how, years after she Kingsley and divorced, Kingsley, unsuited to life on his own, was welcomed into the home of Hilly and her husband, Lord Kilmarnock. The…
» Continue Reading