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Behind the Book: The story behind Life in a Hospice: reflections on caring for the dying

This week, Virtual Book Club is taking a break and I’m handing over to Ann Richardson. Ann has worked as a social researcher most of her working life, writing books, articles and reports from interviews with ordinary people about specific health and social care problems. Most of this writing was addressed to professionals working in…
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My newsletter subscribers responded. I listened.

I received a massive 70% reply rate to a survey I issued to my newsletter subscribers. Thanks to them, I now have a fairly good idea how subscribers felt about the free copy of I Stopped Time they received in return for their email address.  They rated it 4.77 out of 5. 76% recommended it…
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Merry Christmas, One and All!

As well as celebration, Christmas is a time for reflection and looking forward to the year ahead, and so here is my (small fanfare) Not quite the 12 Days of Christmas.  1 Book Award (An Unknown Woman, Writing Magazine’s Self-Published Book of the Year.) 1 book shortlisted for Book of the Year (An Unknown Woman,…
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Haweswater: A Literary Pilgrimage

In search of a drowned village

Yesterday, en route to Penrith station for the journey home, our minicab driver asked what had brought us to Haweswater. I told her that it was Sarah Hall’s novel. In fact, I have been trying to get to Haweswater for the past three years. At Easter 2015, we made it up from Kentmere to the…
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Novel London: Where readers meet writers through words

Tackling the escalators in an underground station while carrying a laptop bag and a suitcase full of books in Friday evening rush hour is not recommended under ordinary circumstance. But ordinary circumstances these were not. On one of the hottest evenings of the year to date, I left my day-job behind and wove my way…
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Ditching the Glitter Bomb

Organising indieberlin's First Ever Book Fair, by Noel Maurice

We started out with big ideas. Well doesn’t everyone? There was nothing standing in our way. Apart from the fact that I for one can’t organise my way out of a paper bag. And I speak from experience. Polly would be gone, shuffling tourists around ancient Greece, for most of the months leading up to…
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Beautiful Cover Design

I’m very proud to have one of my titles included in author Jill Marsh’s top 10 examples of beautiful cover designs. These are the covers that make her want to look inside the book (and I’m in great company). “Elegant, intriguing and atmospheric. The image evokes thoughts of Shakespeare and the Penguin Café Orchestra. The shades…
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A Visit to Sissinghurst Castle: Book Conservation in Action

You may ask why I love physical books. What could be more absorbing than trawling the bookshelves of two of the most fascinating characters of the twentieth century, Vita Sackville-West and her husband, author, diplomat and politician, Harold Nicolson? At Sissinghurst Castle, a team of expert conservationists are doing just that. This painstaking project will last…
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Did I mention that there might be the occasional rant?

Let’s get this straight: I don’t have a lot of money, so I don’t like being ripped off. I don’t even like the feeling that someone might be ripping me off. So when I pay a builder  £7,000 for a job, I don’t expect to receive a bill for materials that he forgot to include in his…
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Love for Sale: Rupert Everett

Last week Dan Holloway asked me about the research I had carried out for my novel, An Unchoreographed Life, which tells the story of a ballerina who turns to prostitution when she becomes a single mother. In truth, it was very easy to find historical accounts of prostitution. There was no shortage of reference books for…
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