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Pondering trees

Contemplating the loss of our horse chestnut

In our back garden, almost on the boundary with our neighbour’s garden, stands a lone horse chestnut tree. It has been here longer than our house, and our house first appeared on an Ordnance Survey map in 1903. This is the time of year when the tree is just coming into leaf and, as they…
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I remember when all of this was fields

Why mix up historical and contemporary fiction when I would make my life as a writer a whole lot easier if I were to stick to one or the other? Because I don’t see a clear dividing line between the two. For me, when I think about my father saying, ‘I remember when all of…
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Crystal Balls, Coincidences and Creative Hunches

I’m reading a lot of interviews with Emily St John Mandel about Station Eleven and whether or not she actually has a crystal ball, so i asked a few writer friends to tell me about the time they wrote about a fictional event, only to have it, or something very similar, come true. Linda Gillard:…
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Utter madness, but for once there’s a method in it.

As well as working part-time to pay the bills, together with my brothers and sisters, I am now helping my mother to care for my dad who has dementia. I urgently need to find a way to free up precious writing time. The only way to do this is by cutting out marketing time. That…
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Help: my eBook business model is broken

When the line between lending and piracy becomes blurred

A few weeks ago, I was watching a topical panel show. When the question of plastic pollution came up, one of the panelists replied, ‘No, you’re not laying the blame at my door. I bought plastic on the understanding that it would be recycled. It’s not my fault if someone went and dumped it in…
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An exploration of art in fiction, Part 1: Smash all the Windows

For the next few weeks, Virtual Book Club will be taking a break. Instead, I’m going to bring you an exploration of the use of art in fiction. Fictionalised stories behind real painting; novels based on the lives of real artists; fictional artists, fictional works of art; fictional members of real art movements; fictional muses…
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Writers Who Walk

Creativity, Well-being and Inspiration

I’m a walker who writes. In my childhood years, as one of five children, ‘I’m a walker’ wasn’t something you needed to explain. It was a given. We even had our own chant. ‘I left (start with left foot) my wife with forty-four children and don’t you think I was (skip) right, right, right. I…
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Smash all the Windows: my cover design process

The Making of a Book

This week will be the first of a short series of posts about the production of Smash all the Windows. Its cover design has been attracting compliments, with many people wanting to know about my cover design process.  One of the other huge joys of self-publishing is choosing how to present your work. Given that…
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My Reading Year 2017

According to this article by Beulah Maud Devaney in the Guardian, the average reader will read 3,000 books during their lifetime (assuming they make it to 90). Like many readers who chose books they are told they ‘ought to read’, Devaney felt cheated when she didn’t enjoy an estimated 300 of the the 900 books…
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As I turn 50…

A smattering of facts about 1967 and a very special offer

On this day in 1967 I made my entrance into the world. To celebrate my 50th birthday, I have discounted the price of my *ebooks by 75%. This means that from 17 – 24 October, you can get your hands on I Stopped Time, These Fragile Things, A Funeral for an Owl, An Unchoreographed Life,…
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