fbpx

My latest blog posts

African recipe: Groundnut Soup

Food has always been a rich source of pleasure for me; I have wide-ranging tastes and enjoy the thrill of sampling a new cuisine. I subscribe to the school of thought that believes a direct connection exists between stomach and heart: an intimate meal between characters comprising succulent, delicious food

Read More »

It’s romance, but what kind? Deciding the genre for my novel

I’ve recently been involved in an interesting discussion with my publisher, Omnific, about what genre my upcoming novel Burning Embers fits into. My book is a love story, so categorising it as romance is no problem; but what sub-category within which to situate the book?   The list of sub-genres

Read More »

Inspired by nature

The bay at St Tropez on a wild and stormy day – little wonder that after seeing this tempestuous, magnificent power of nature I went home and added a storm to the chapter I was writing.

Read More »

The perfect man…

Last month the Guardian reported on an interesting survey undertaken by the Festival of Romance, an international convention on romantic fiction. They interviewed 58 romantic novelists to find out what qualities are important in a man. These were the results: The perfect man, according to romantic novelists (% agreeing), is:

Read More »

The poetry of Leconte De Lisle

The seeds of inspiration for the verdant setting of my novel Burning Embers were sown way back at school when I was introduced to the flamboyant poetry of Charles-Marie Leconte De Lisle, better known as simply Leconte De Lisle, who was the leader of the group of French poets called

Read More »

Through a child’s eyes

‘Write about what you know’ is the advice given to any fledgling writer, and it’s certainly wisdom I have tried to take on board in my development as a writer. The action in my novel Burning Embers begins on a cruise ship bound for Mombasa. Coral, the protagonist, is gazing

Read More »

Favourite places: Dover Castle

The nearest town to my home in Kent is Dover. I love spending afternoons wandering around the magnificent 12-century Dover Castle which stands majestically above the White Cliffs for which the town is famous.

Read More »

Favourite films: Out of Africa

Out of Africa is one of my favourite films – I’ve watched it at least fifteen times to date, and it never fails to move me. The film is set earlier in the twentieth century than Burning Embers, but the breathtaking settings (which include Mombasa, where Burning Embers is set)

Read More »

My latest blog posts

Favourite artist: Botticelli

No doubt you’ve heard of Sandro Botticelli, the Italian Renaissance painter whose works include The Birth of Venus. Certainly, his artistic style has long been admired and a point of reference in creative circles; in The Echoes of Love, for example, I write of a beautiful landscape: ‘Botticelli must have

Read More »

Book review: Risking It All by Lucy Oliver

From the blurb: Beneath bomb-filled skies, Head Radio Operator Lynne Cecil takes the safety of her RAF pilots seriously. They’re England’s last defense against the Luftwaffe. But too many pilots die on her watch. The top brass harass her for answers, but her team is giving their all. Devastated by

Read More »

Writing maps to guide you through the writing process

I confess, I have a real passion for book- and writing-related gifts. If I’m not giving the gift of a book itself, a gift that celebrates the love of the written book is the next best thing. So I quite often find myself on literary gift websites, looking for some

Read More »

Bookshops of the future: Exclusive boutiques?

Bookshops, sadly, are in decline. According to an article published in the Guardian in February: ‘The number of independent bookshops gracing British high streets has fallen below 1,000 – a third fewer than nine years ago’ and ‘more than 500 independent outlets have shut since 2005’.Beyond the UK, the story

Read More »

Venice Preserv’d

Ah, Venice: setting of my latest novel, The Echoes of Love. Going to Venice and experiencing its beautiful architecture and inspiring culture? Wonderful – but out of reach for many due to the constraints of distance and expense. Going to Venice and experiencing first-hand its history, its days as the

Read More »

In her own words: Venetia

Last week, I ran an ‘in his own words’ feature on Paolo, the hero of my novel The Echoes of Love, to see how he reveals aspects of his character in his speech. Today, I’m turning to the heroine, Venetia Aston-Montagu. ‘I am not someone to indulge in a casual

Read More »

Italian recipe: The ultimate authentic tagliatelle Bolognese

You’ll notice I don’t entitle this blog post ‘Italian recipe: The ultimate authentic spaghetti Bolognese’. Strange, you may think – surely the world-famous and popular dish is a meat-and-tomato sauce served with spaghetti? Indeed, that is how many Italian restaurants the world over serve the dish, and yet for Bolognese

Read More »

A passion for renovation

I’m commonly asked in interviews, ‘If you weren’t a writer, what would you do?’ The answer is: restoring old buildings. For many years, restoration was my passion. I ran a business buying, restoring and selling on cottages, and both of my homes were large-scale restoration projects; they are unrecognisable now

Read More »

My latest blog posts

Will you judge a book by its cover?

One of the many aspects of being an author is cover creation. I am fortunate to have a publisher that allows me to have input into my covers, and it is a part of the publishing process that I very much enjoy. That said, I do not always find it

Read More »

Pan de Cádiz: a recipe for your seasonal preparations

Are you thinking about Christmas yet? Are you getting in the mood for feasting and merriment? No doubt if you’ve been to a supermarket recently you’ve noticed a proliferation of Christmas fare on offer, from mince pies to gingerbread houses, stollen to macaroons. But have you spotted the traditional confectionary

Read More »

On writing of love that lasts

Have you seen the recent theatrical trailer for the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? In the trailer, author J.K. Rowling explains how while writing her Harry Potter series a very minor character (who is only mentioned, not featured) captured her interest. She explains that she knew so

Read More »

An algorithm that predicts bestsellers?

In the past few weeks a non-fiction book has taken the publishing world by storm: The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of the Blockbuster Novel. Written by a former literature lead researcher at Apple and an associate professor of English, the book has a compelling blurb: What if an algorithm could predict

Read More »

Paella: Preserving a national dish

If there is one thing I know about the Spanish – having visited their beautiful country many times and set my most recent fictional works, the Andalucían Nights trilogy, there – it is this: they are fiercely proud of their culture and heritage. That pride extends to cuisine, it has

Read More »

Thoughts on the exposure of Elena Ferrante 

In the past week, book news has been dominated by a single story: that of the unmasking of notoriously private Italian author Elena Ferrante. In case you have missed this story, here are the basics. Elena Ferrante is the pseudonym of an Italian novelist. In the past few years, her

Read More »

Cadiz cathedral: ‘the ship of souls’

‘A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind.’ So said one of my favourite French writers, Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I love architecture, and of course as a writer and a romantic I love places that are alive with symbolism

Read More »

Archive

Archive

Search the post archive by publishing date
Search the post archive by category