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News for August: Desirable, covetable, collectable books

My love affair with books began at an early age. (I have to be honest, it was the illustrations I adored). From my teens onwards, once I discovered a favourite author, I tended to buy everything they’d written. My bookshelves are crammed with sets of novels. When I began writing, it was my aim to produce a set of high quality collectable set of my own. I am pleased to announce that have now achieved that goal. Last week I took delivery of a bumper order.

This is not print on demand medium

To celebrate the publication of my new ‘bookshop editions’, Barton’s Bookshop in Leatherhead, Surrey will be hosting a relaunch on 3 October from 10am to 3.30pm. It would be great to see some of you there.

If you can’t make it along to Barton’s but would like a signed copy/ies, you can order these from me. I will include the cost of second class postage to UK mainland in the price of £8.99. The easiest way to pay is via PayPal, using my email address, then email me to confirm which book/s you would like and where you would like them sent. If you prefer to pay by cheque, please drop me a line. Books will be dispatched on my next trip to the Post Office after receipt of payment.

New books! medium

An Unknown Woman is not pictured but is also available as a new edition 

The great news is that whether you buy on-line (if you buy from Amazon, your copy will not be one of the new editions but will be printed ‘on demand’ from an electronic file) or from your local bookshop (ask them to place an order if my books aren’t in stock), you will benefit from Jessica Bell’s  fabulous new cover design for I Stopped Time and the crisp, clean interiors created by JD Smith.

Grab your free copy of I Stopped Time


For a limited time I am offering a free eBook of I Stopped Time to subscribers. Just fill in the form and you will receive an email with instructions of how to download the eBook in a format of your choice (Mobi, ePub or PDF).

Get Writing 2015

If you’re a writer based within striking distance of Watford, you’re bound to find plenty to inspire at the Get Writing Conference. Catriona Troth and I will be there talking about collaborations. Catriona, a member of Triskele Books, will introduce you to the concept of author collectives as an alternative to going it alone, while I will talk about my experience of producing a multi-author box-set, my current collaboration and team behind my novels.

Reader Question: This week Liz Bourne asked me about the books I enjoy reading for pleasure

My list of favourite books may change but it is always topped by The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. Ignore the terrible film version – it has everything. Family secrets, flawed characters, opportunities for redemption. I return to it time and time again and always find something new. Odd though it may seem, I have never read another book by Pat Conroy. The Prince of Tides is so perfect that I’d be afraid that I would feel disappointed.

Try David Mitchell’s One Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. I loathed Cloud Atlas so much that I was put off picking this up for some time, but I heard a lecture about it and was convinced. Quite simply, it is a masterclass in writing. The richness of the detail is enormous and the asides that the characters make are so astute.

Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad blew me away. This author has an incredible understanding of what it means to be human. She is so non-judgemental about her characters’ flaws, and what the reader comes away with is a sense of the characters’ struggles to find spirituality and beauty in a rapidly changing world.

I adored All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It has replaced Marcus Zusac’s The Book Thief as my war novel of choice. Two of the most heart-breaking characters of recent years: a blind girl and a German orphan.

Another recent discovery that I adored was J W Ironmonger’s The Coincidence Authority. I like novels with non-linear structures because that is how memory works. If you missed it, you can read my interview with the author here.

The Coincidence Authority hardback

Whenever I visit a new place, the first thing I do is check out the independent bookshop and treat myself. And so when I go to The Lake District, a visit to Sam Read in Grasmere – Wordsworth country – is essential. What could be better than buying the work of a Cumbrian author and reading the novel in its setting? Last year I fell in love with Haweswater, Sarah Hall’s achingly beautiful fictional account of a real occurrence – the flooding of a remote valley to create a reservoir to provide water for the population of Manchester. Walking to Haweswater felt like a pilgrimage.

As much as I love novels, I also enjoy a big biography. At the moment I’m reading Mad Girl’s Love Song by Andrew Wilson which tells the story of Sylvia Plath’s life before she met Ted Hughes. At the moment, I want to take her by the shoulders and shake her.


Work on my new novel is progressing. I have almost finished the first draft, which means that the hard work is about to begin. Without giving away too much, it’s about a radical poet and political activist, who is a cross between Edith Sitwell and Vivienne Westwood. She is horrified to find that she’s on the New Year’s Honours’ list.



  1. Congratulations on a mammoth achievement. I will take advantage of I Stopped Time offer!

    You are enviably organised. I have always had the impulse to shake Sylvia Plath, but never quite known why! Mind you Ted Hughes comes across as pretty self absorbed. Great recommendations. Have shared.

    Comment by Philippa Rees on August 26, 2015 at 11:08 am
  2. Congratulations on your book ….have enjoyed looking at your blogg will enjoy more I am sure

    Comment by Harvey Jones jan on September 13, 2015 at 6:16 pm