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Writing Life

Need help discovering the books you don’t know you need?

Ask an independent bookseller

Yesterday, visiting Barton’s Bookshop in Leatherhead, Surrey (a place I have begun to feel very much at home), I was given a delightful little book called, ‘The Unknown Unknown: Bookshops and the delight of not getting what you wanted’ by Mark Forsyth (Author of The Etymologicon. In it, Forsyth toys with the Donald Rumsfeld quote about…
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Close Encounters in Pelican Park

The working title for my novel, AN UNCHOREOGRAPHED LIFE, was Pelican Park (better known to some as St James’s Park) where many pivitol scenes take place.  Regular visitors will be aware that the pelicans often retreat to a rocky outcrop, where only the zoom lenses of those standing on the terrace of the Swiss Cottage can reach them. Today we…
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Blog Takeover: Triskele Books

On the ups and downs of being part of a writers' collective

As a writer, I spend much of my time alone, my main contact with other folk being via social media. Keen to explore whether there is an alternative, I’m delighted to welcome Triskele Books to my blog. Triskele Books is a writers’ collective of five, plus a hand-picked selection of associates, which was established in December 2011. They have published fourteen…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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….
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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…
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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…
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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…
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