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So Where Were You When …

As a Capricorn, I embrace the idea of the goat’s slow, steady progress up the mountain and although the zodiac sign insists on a sea goat, a mythological creature, I prefer to identify with the mountain goat – the kri-kri – only found these days on the island of Crete. I am never the leader...

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The Contents of Writers’ Handbags …

How much can you tell about a person from the way she writes? (and I am limiting myself to the feminine gender for the sake of this blog – however biased and partial that might seem!) The other day I was re-reading one of Penelope Lively’s wonderful novels. I love them all and have read...

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WELCOME TO MY NEW LOOK WEBSITE!

It’s been a while – I am sure your lives have been rolling along absolutely fine – lockdowns permitting – without my weekly or fortnightly musings on matters vaguely writerly or readerly – but a lot has been happening behind the scenes and now I am able to blog again on my newly designed website...

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OUT OF THE STORM – a piece of flash fiction

A piece of flash fiction I wrote a while ago, experimenting with 500 word length – it seems appropriate for recent weather conditions! Somewhere, not too distant, a door bangs.  Stable, barn or shed, the dull and comfortable thud of wood against wood. Rose moves to the window, stares into the darkness, presses her face...

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THE PERILS OF THESE DASTARDLY FACE MASKS …

Who would have thought? Of all the subjects I imagined I could write about when I first embarked on writing a blog, face masks were not exactly at the forefront of my mind. But like those various other words and phrases that have entered our  common  day to day usage this year – think furlough,...

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MAKING THEM REAL …

Characters – the essential ingredients in any novelist’s store cupboard. In fact, for novels that are character rather than plot driven, these people form the foundation and structure of the whole business. For me, it’s where it all starts. Not with a high speed, complex and action driven scenario that will propel the thing from...

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A CELEBRATION OF LIBRARIES

This week, as most book lovers and avid readers will know, is LIBRARIES WEEK, and a chance to celebrate our wonderful, much-loved and treasured libraries that for many of us have been an essential part of our entire lives. In fact, it often feels as if libraries have been more formative and vital to me...

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MOTHERS AND SONS in LITERATURE

A child needs your love when he deserves it least – Lionel Shriver’s line from We Need to Talk about Kevin which sums things up so succinctly and entirely that it seems any other words written about mothers and their relationships with their children are redundant. But of course some of our most famous works...

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WHAT’S IN A NAME …?

Quite a lot, it seems. In a name, that is. Juliet might have thought, in the throes of youthful passionate love at first sight, that it didn’t matter what Romeo’s name was, but readers of novels often respond differently. And writers too, of course. In the recent live Facebook interview I did with Hillingdon libraries,...