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All Downhill From Now on…!

That’s how it always feels for me once the clocks go forward. Or when we reach the Easter weekend. And this year, the fact that the two events coincide is consolingly neat and tidy, as if the arrival of Spring has decided to package itself as a convenient double deal. An early Easter, in fact, suits my desperation to shrug off the shackles of winter to arrive at a point where everything has the potential to be lighter. Warmer. Freer. That extra hour of daylight seems to me like offering an additional 60 minutes of time to 24 hours. And...

woman standing alone in crowd

Impostor Syndrome and Alter Egos – and the like!

This week has been draining on social batteries and anyone who knows me well is aware that mine run flat frequently and fast. Anyone who delights in the solitary room, the blank computer screen with only imagination, a few scattered notes and a cup of coffee for company will appreciate this viewpoint! That’s not to say that the London Book Fair which took place this week was an indifferent occasion. On the contrary, it was a fantastically exciting and dynamic event and one that I would not have missed for anything. But as soon as I arrived at the mammoth...

SPRING/SUMMER EVENTS:

Thursday 21st. March – Online talk about my four novels for Brendon Care Community Saturday April 27th – Bournemouth Writers’ Festival – Speaking with Steve Couch and the publishing team from Troubador/The Book Guild about choices and roads into publishing Saturday May 11th – Swindon Festival of Literature – running an afternoon Writing Workshop about the techniques of short story and novel writing, casting an eye over the current publishing world – and much in between! Monday June 11th – Talk to Farnham Friendship Group about my writing career Monday July 1st. Talk to U3A in Epsom – talk entitled:...

rain drops

For the Rain, it Raineth Every Day …

Shakespeare, when writing this line in the song at the end of Twelfth Night, was being prophetic. Very prophetic. Clearly, he was projecting ahead to the late winter days of a year in the 21st century when rain had become such a common occurrence that any span of 24 hours when it did not happen was noteworthy. Remarkable. Shakespeare knew a thing or two. He makes this line a chorus and also adds, for good measure: With hey, ho, the wind and the rain. Yes, we know what you are talking about, Mr Shakespeare. In fact, his plays are full...

person standing near lake

No People Are Uninteresting ….

The phrase in the title is not of my invention. It’s the first line of a poem by the 20th century Russian poet, Yevtushenko whose poetry I discovered round about the age of 16 and have continued to love the handful that I know since then. People – or rather characters as clearly they are creations and products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner as every published story is obliged to state – are the concern of novelists who have the task of inventing, developing and shaping characters who will convince. A reader, after all, needs...

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Famous and Infamous …

Celebrities seem to be ubiquitous these days. So much so, that I haven’t even heard of most of the names that people mention or know the reason for their apparent celebrity status. And it’s not just the pop and sports worlds that produce them either. Social media, the era of influencers and reality tv are no doubt responsible for many who appear to have acquired the label and now feature regularly on the pages of certain celebrity-focused magazines. There, we are invited to view their splendid homes and marriages and life styles and envy at their conspicuous affluence and material...

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Those Were the Days, My Friend …

Historic fiction is self-explanatory. Surely. It refers to novels about the ‘Old Days,’ as we used to call the past when I was a child. By which, of course, we meant the times when our grandparents were alive. When life was in black and white rather than colour. When people were ‘Old Fashioned.’ I think our childhood vision of their past was of lives lived in slow motion or, as L.P Hartley so famously says in the opening of The Go-Between: The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there. Yet when you think about it, everything that...

Glaedelig Jul ca 1906

CHRISTMAS Cliches – and all that!

Christmas literary references are a bit like Christmas itself. The sources of Bah! Humbug! and Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents come swiftly to mind – but trying to be more original is hard. There’s C.S.Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, with the sad cry from poor Mr. Tumnus that: It is winter in Narnia and has been for ever so long …always winter, but never Christmas.’ but again that’s hardly an original thought. Then there are the carol singers – the field mice – in The Wind in the Willows who entertain Mole at Mole End....

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The Perversity of Authors

There has to be a psychological term for what authors suffer from. All those months that trail into years of writing a novel, re-writing, editing, altering, changing – and finally the finished article, the published bound edition is to hand. And, unpacking that first box of books, sifting the copies from their layers of protective wrapping paper, should be an ecstatic experience. But it’s not. Instead, it’s terrifying. The next anxiety-inducing moment is when people start to ask for copies. Say they can’t wait to read it. Inform you that our book group is choosing it for their next read....

The Odyssey of Lily Page book cover 352x500

New Novel Announcement – The Odyssey of Lily Page!

Lily Page, 50 years of age, has lived her entire life in the family home in North London’s Islington, brought up by her classicist father and indomitable aunt following her mother’s early death with an implied sense of obligation. But it is 1983 and change is in the air. When her elderly father dies, Lily is conflicted by a sense of freedom that she feel ill-equipped to embrace after a lifetime of compliance and welcomes chance meetings with a mercurial young woman, Stella Fox, and a middle-aged actor, Hugh Murray to fill the void she fears. Their friendships, however, prove...