fbpx
blog posts in languages:

My latest blog posts

Blending fact and fiction

This week journalist Jonathan Freedland, who writes thrillers under the pen name Sam Bourne, has published an article called ‘Why the Facts Really Count in Fiction’. In the article, he explains that he takes great care in his writing to ensure that his books are as factually correct as possible.

Read More »

When the hunter and the prey join together

In researching my book Burning Embers, which is set in Kenya in the 1970s, I read a lot of African materials – legends, fables, proverbs, poems, songs – so that the traditional tribal culture with which the protagonists’ modern, more westernised world overlaps was authentic. I was particularly interested in

Read More »

Favourite film: Charlie St. Cloud

Most of my favourite films are romantic classics from previous decades – like Gone with the Wind. But I do occasionally watch a more recent film, and a friend recommended I watched the 2010 film Charlie St. Cloud because she had seen it and thought it would strike a chord

Read More »

Inspiring music

Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m passionate about music across many different genres, and I often use music as an inspiration for my writing. So I was delighted, this week, to read an article in The Huffington Post on ‘lit-pop’ – songs inspired by literature. The fourteen

Read More »

St Maxime by night

My local town in the south of France. The reflections of the lights remind me of the phrase from the song ‘On My Own’ in Les Miserables: ‘All the lights are misty in the river.’ (Though of course it’s the ocean!)

Read More »

Love is . . .

Happy Valentine’s Day! The most wonderful day of the year for a romantic like me. Do you remember the comic strip ‘Love is . . .’ by cartoonist Kim Casali? Now, I’m not a regular reader of comics of course (not enough words for my liking), but this strip caught

Read More »

The journey towards maturity

In most novels, the central premise of the book is that the main character(s) goes on a journey. Usually, that journey is at least partly experienced within the character – so spiritual, emotional, intellectual. In Burning Embers, both of the main characters, Coral and Rafe, go on such a journey.

Read More »

A bird’s eye view

Oh, to be a bird – to soar high above the land, to glide on thermals – majestic, graceful. But best of all, to get that inspiring, awesome perspective over our world that’s afforded by a view from above. The colours, the textures and the sense of cohesion are just

Read More »

Snow!

This week the snow hit our home in Kent, blanketing the world with soft, silent whiteness. Here are some pictures I took.

Read More »

Favourite film: Immortal Beloved

As regular readers of my blog have no doubt gathered, I adore music and it often forms the basis of my inspiration for my writing. Classical music is a particular favourite – when a song has no lyrics, it frees my mind to imagine the accompanying words; and of course

Read More »

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered

A sinister undercurrent running through my book Burning Embers is fuelled by native African culture embodying voodoo magic, witchcraft and evil intent – all under the auspices of the witch doctor. The protagonist’s former yaha (nanny), Aluna, is a big believer in all that is supernatural, and she stirs in Coral seeds

Read More »

The cost of love?

When browsing through a newspaper, I’m always drawn by articles about love and romance, whether love stories or commentary on the current state of romance in the country. So this week I was intrigued to read reports in the national press of a survey commissioned by Match.com to investigate the

Read More »

Drawing upon the seven core stories

Every writer tries to be original in her writing – otherwise, what interest is there for the writer and the reader? But some writing experts believe that it is not possible to be original when it comes to the fundamentals of the story – the bare bones, if you like.

Read More »

Censorship and writing

Writing is about expression. A writer must be free to be herself. Without constraint. Placing rules on a writer simply hinders the creative process. To paraphrase Shakespeare, ‘at the length truth will out’. But through the years many regimes have censored books whose contents they deemed to be outrageous, sacrilegious,

Read More »

The importance of the sun

Light is essential to my life. Light, to me, is life itself – it’s what gives me energy and strength and creativity. The long winter months are hard, but I get through them by taking long walks in the countryside with my beloved dogs, and by keeping the house well

Read More »

Author photo shoot

In preparation for the launch of my new novel, Burning Embers, and my author website, a professional photographer came to my home in France to do a shoot. It was great fun, and I thought I’d share my favourite pictures from the day with you here.

Read More »

Breaking down Burning Embers

Any writer will tell you that good writing involves using a varied vocabulary, but of course in a novel certain themes are paramount and we bring these to the fore by touching on them often. A friend recommended that I try a word frequency checker as a fun exercise and

Read More »

Rechristening the romance genre

I call myself a romance novelist; I write romance books. The genre in which I write is entitled ‘romance’. But I wonder, sometimes, whether that’s quite accurate. Because while I do write about romance, I would say that the core of my writing is love. I write about love. Romance

Read More »

A novel giveaway

I was intrigued to read in the Independent recently that McDonald’s has teamed up with publisher HarperCollins and for the next couple of weeks will be giving away a children’s book, rather than a toy, with each Happy Meal. McDonald’s has bought a staggering 9 million copies of Michael Morpurgo’s

Read More »

The editing process

Writing a novel is the fun bit – you let your imagination roam, you live in a half-daydream state rich with colour and imagery. Your days are spent doing what you love best in the world – playing with words, expressing your inner self, conjuring up a world that makes

Read More »

Alternative plot directions

Do you remember those ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ books for children that were in vogue in the 1970s and ’80s? The idea was that the reader, rather than the author, had some measure of say over the direction of the plot. Such fun for a child; though tricky to write, I imagine!  

Read More »

Burning Embers-inspired fruit salad

It’s the start of January, and for many of us that means an end to the indulgences of the Christmas season and renewed resolutions to eat healthily – good, fresh foods, sensible portion sizes and the five-a-day of fruit and veg. What better recipe, then, than one for an African-style

Read More »

The artistic hero

What does a woman look for in a romantic hero – in the object of the protagonist’s affection in a romance novel? Of course, we like him to be handsome and mature and intelligent and brave and masculine. We’re likely attracted to sensitivity and a sense of humour and a

Read More »

From writing a single book in a lifetime to 4,000…

If writing your first novel is hard, writing your second is harder still! The Huffington Post recently ran an interesting article on ‘One-hit-wonder authors’ – famous authors who only ever wrote one book. The authors included in the article are: Anna Sewell – Black Beauty Boris Pasternak – Dr Zhivago Cyrill

Read More »

The perfect man?

What makes a perfect man? Does such a man exist? Perfection is surely subjective – so what’s your idea of a perfect man? These are the fundamental questions explored in a recent survey commissioned by Remington (the UK supplier of hair care and personal care appliances). Remington asked 2,000 women

Read More »

A Touch of Moonlight

Regular readers of this blog will recall that one of my favourite poets, and one whose verses inspired me while writing my novel Burning Embers, is the 19th-century poète Leconte De Lisle. As a reader, I enjoy rich imagery, words that create vivid pictures in my mind; and as a

Read More »

For Auld Lang Syne

Is there any more well-known but misunderstood refrain through the English-speaking word than that of ‘Auld Lang Syne’? It is, of course, the song that, traditionally, we sing at midnight on New Year’s Eve (Hogmanay  if you’re Scottish) to say farewell to the old year and celebrate the new –

Read More »

Burning Embers as a word cloud

I love words and I love art and creativity, so I think word clouds are a fabulously fun innovation. You copy a section of text into a program, and it generates word art based on a random selection of words (well, they say random, but I suspect the algorithm finds

Read More »

Christmas in Kenya

My novel Burning Embers is set in Kenya, and while the action does not span Christmas, I thought it would be interesting to consider what Christmas means to a Kenyan native. In the UK, Christmas is pretty much universal – even atheists may have trees and exchange gifts. In Kenya

Read More »

My latest blog posts

The Italian Girl by Lucinda Riley

From the blurb: Nothing sings as sweetly as love, or burns quite like betrayal Rosanna Menici is just a girl when she meets Roberto Rossini, the man who will change her life. In the years to come, their destinies are bound together by their extraordinary talents as opera singers and

Read More »

Venice: The ultimate wedding destination

How many women, since he first found fame on ER, have fantasised about marrying George Clooney? Well, it was British-Lebanese human rights lawyer AmalAlamuddin who finally had the honour last week. And the location for the most high-profile wedding since William and Kate? Venice. The wedding festivities, which spanned a weekend,

Read More »

Writing fast, reading fast

George R.R. Martin is without doubt an exceptional writer. He has just one flaw, according to fans: he doesn’t write quickly enough to keep up with their demands! That’s not to say that George is a plodding writer by any means. But the bestselling and world-renowned series he is currently

Read More »

Amazon versus publishing: print on demand

I could fill a blog post a day on how Amazon is changing the face of publishing – the repercussions of its actions are monumental and wide-reaching. Takethe seemingly simple decision by Amazon to supply copies of out-of-print books itself using its print-on-demand service. Then, theoretically, when the publisher’s print

Read More »

A new chapter in romance storytelling

Have you heard of new publishing innovation The Chatsfield? If you’re thinking That sounds like a cross between a Chesterfield, the swanky couch, and Chatsworth, the stately home, you’re not far off the mark.  In a nutshell, The Chatsfieldis a fictional online luxury hotel, a ‘world of style, spectacle and

Read More »

The Venetian Gondolier

I have written before of that quintessential symbol of Venice, setting for my novel The Echoes of Love: the gondola. But what of its pilot, the gondolier? In my novel, when the lovers take a gondola ride, I write simply that ‘the gondolier stood perched at the stern behind them,

Read More »

Indian Summer by Marcia Willett

From the blurb: Some memories can be forgotten . . . Others won’t ever go away. For renowned actor Sir Mungo, his quiet home village in Devon provides the perfect retreat. Close by are his brother and his wife, and the rural location makes his home the ideal getaway for

Read More »

Authorisms

This week I’ve been reading the brilliant Authorisms: Words Wrought by Writers by Paul Dickson. Regular readers of my blog will known that I am a logophile – a lover of words; so much so that on a summer’s afternoon I’m often to be found like this: Yes, I’m reading a

Read More »

Love in a dystopian setting

I take a great interest in trends in publishing, especially within the romance genre, and it has struck me how much popular fiction in the past two to three years is set in a futuristic dystopia. Books like The Hunger Games and Divergent are bestsellers, spawning films and TV series

Read More »

Muddying the path of true love: Love triangles

The course of true love never did run smooth’ – so wrote Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and I think that no single axiom is more explored in romantic fiction! A romance story that unfolds simply, without a hiccup, is delightful, but uninteresting in literary terms. So authors create

Read More »

Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop

          I’m delighted to be participating in this Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop. I’m giving away two paperback copies of my epic romance novel, The Echoes of Love, a passionate love story set in Italy. The Echoes of Love is a beautiful, poignant story

Read More »

Promoting literature with the Google doodle

Do you use Google as a browser? If so, you may have noticed, on 9 September, that Google marked 186 years since the birth of writer Leo Tolstoy with a slideshow of images: from Tolstoy writing by candlelight, to the first meeting of Anna and Vronsky in Anna Karenina, and

Read More »

A very Venetian bookstore

When I travel to a new city, I’m always interested to see the main sights. In Venice, for example – where I went recently to get a feel for the setting in my latest novel, The Echoes of Love – I followed the crowds to all the main attractions: St

Read More »

Welcome autumn

  It’s September, and while in England we’re enjoying a brief revival of summer’s warmth, the first yellowing leaves drifting on the breeze tell that autumn – fall – has tentatively arrived.I love the warmth of the spring and summer, but who can resist the kaleidoscope of colour that autumn

Read More »

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

From the blurb: And then came war . . . Today. Sera James spends most of her time arranging auctions for the art world’s elite clientele. When her search to uncover an original portrait of an unknown Holocaust victim leads her to William Hanover III, they learn that this painting

Read More »

My latest blog posts

Stepping back into the Roman Empire in Andalucía

There is so much that drew me to the Spanish region of Andalucía when it came time to choose a setting for my romantic trilogy. But given that core themes in the trilogy are roots and legacies, the rich history of the Andalucía was a big attraction. Andalucía is steeped

Read More »

Flamingos: striding into the imaginary

Here’s a little quiz question for you: Which bird features in my novel Burning Embers, set in Kenya, and my novel Indiscretion, set in Spain? No doubt the photograph has given away the answer! Yes, it is the flamingo. In Burning Embers, the heroine Coral takes a balloon ride over

Read More »

What am I reading? That’s private

‘Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.’ So wrote satirist P. J. O’Rourke. Of course, he was joking. We should read whatever we want to read! But I think this quotation touches on a very real discomfort in readers over being judged for reading choices.

Read More »

Castanets and Spanish folk dancing

Andalucían culture features prominently in my recent novels, Indiscretion, Masquerade and Legacy, especially in relation to music and dance, which is characterised by a single emotion: passion. As Salvador tells Alexandra in Indiscretion: ‘Spanish flamenco is the embodiment of passion. Some people say that music is at its best when

Read More »

The feel-good factor of giving books

I love books. I love to browse books, choose books, purchase books, collect books – and, of course, read books! If, like me, you are a bibliophile, you will know well the happiness a book can bring: finding a hidden treasure in a second-hand bookstore, eagerly buying your favourite author’s

Read More »

Thought piece: on DOING good

  How to Do Good: Essays on Building a Better World, published by my publisher, London Wall, is a collection of essays by thought leaders, celebrities, statesmen and women, Nobel prize winners, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and others who are driving and inspiring positive change. Each month, I’m focusing on one

Read More »

Archive

Archive

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