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My latest blog posts

My latest blog posts

Transcending the pages: fiction as visual art

Once upon a time, books were books, only books. Then along came the motion picture, and books – for so long the foundation of culture – were the obvious source of inspiration for films. Frankenstein, A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, Rip van Winkle, The Assommoir, Uncle Tom’s

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Shopping the Venetian way

Last time I visited Venice, it was a research trip for my novel The Echoes of Love. I wanted to firm up descriptions of the setting, and so I walked in my characters’ footsteps, seeing the city through their eyes. But of course, I could not resist just a little

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Navigating the ‘spaghetti streets’ of Venice

One of the many charms of the city of Venice, setting for my romantic novel The Echoes of Love, is its unique map: this is a city of waterways cutting among myriad winding streets that form something of a daunting labyrinth for the tourist. Not in Venice will you find

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Maya Angelou in quotations

I was sad to read this week of the passing of the great American writer and activist Maya Angelou. Readers of my novels and followers of my Twitter feed will know that I am something of a collector of quotations, and over the years several of Maya’s quotes have been

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Ode to the notebook

If there’s one shop, other than a bookshop, in which I can lose all track of time (and spend a near fortune!) it’s a stationer’s. Notebooks in all shapes and colours and sizes and designs, lined up on shelves, just waiting to be filled, to paraphrase William Wordsworth, with the

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To sleep, perchance to dream…

Recently, I’ve been thinking about dreams. To be a romantic is to be a dreamer. And so to write romance is to write of dreams. The dream is integral to the romance novel. No wonder, then, that a search for the word dream’ in my latest novel, The Echoes of

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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My latest blog posts

Making time to read the books you want to read

If you’re reading this blog post, it’s a safe assumption that you’re a reader: you enjoy reading books (perhaps even my own novels; I do hope so). Consider these questions: How much time do you devote to reading? In your reading time, which books do you choose to read? Whatever

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Authors who handwrite manuscripts

As a child, I wrote and wrote – stories inspired by fairy tales, when I was young, and then, in my teens, romantic tales. Of course, these stories were handwritten on paper. I can recall even now the rustle of the paper, the scratching of the pen nib, the scent

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A light exists in spring

Persephone has returned from the underworld, heralding the return of spring: daffodils and snowdrops, blue skies and warming sunshine, longer days and milder nights – spring has sprung! There is such a feeling of hope in the air, of the promise of rebirth and growth and discovery. As Emily Dickinson

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Reading: an escape into your own past

We all know that reading fiction is a means of escape: from wherever you are reading, you are transported to the fictional world, to another place and time, and that can be as inspiring, relaxing and enjoyable as travelling for real. Have you ever considered, though, that reading is not

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Win a reading journal in the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop

Welcome, and thank you for visiting my website as part of this hop. I’m giving away a lovely reading journal made by the British Library and inspired by the Olga Hirsch collection of decorative papers. ‘The main section of the book is organized alphabetically with flexible writing space to note

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Categorising romance novels

Many years ago, when I set pen to paper and wrote the first draft of what would become my debut novel, Burning Embers, I thought a lot about the setting and the story and the characters and the mood – and I thought very little about specific categorisation for the

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The romance – and sensuality – of sailing

My home in the South of France – a French mas (Provençal farmhouse) in Ste Maxime – affords beautiful views over the Mediterranean. I often write in the garden, in the shade on the terrace, or in my writing room if the heat is too much; and as I write

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Supporting independent bookstores

For me, there are few pleasures that can compete with a half hour spent browsing in a bookstore. Canterbury and Dover, the main cities near my English home, offer a wealth of options, but for a special treat I venture to one of the quaint seaside towns on the Kentish

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