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My latest blog posts

My latest blog posts

Respect your elders?

In Burning Embers, Coral is reunited with her former ‘yaha’ (nanny) Aluna when she comes back to the childhood home she left in her youth. There is, at once, an interesting dynamic between the two women – one white, naive, young and wealthy who has grown up chiefly in England;

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Music to write books by: Fausto Pappeti

I love music: it has such power to move, to affect, to inspire. When I write at my desk, I often have music on in the background – carefully selected to reflect the mood of the particular chapter I’m writing. In Burning Embers, as well as running a prosperous plantation,

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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

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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

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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.

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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:

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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

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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

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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.

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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)

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My latest blog posts

For the love of colour

We read in black and white: black text on a white page, be it a paper one or a virtual ‘e-page’ on a screen. But the stories themselves are not black and white, not metaphorically and not – please, never! – descriptively. Any student of literature knows that description is

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An introduction to the Roman gods

My latest book, The Echoes of Love, is set in Italy: Venice, Tuscany and Sicily. I love Italy for its passion, its beauty, its long and fascinating history, its rich and inspiring cultural heritage… and that which symbolises all: Roman mythology. The Echoes of Love is a modern novel, set

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A brief history of the book bloggers

I love book bloggers! I love book bloggers because of their passion, their hard work, their integrity, their sensibility and their support for authors; and I love book bloggers because I am part of that community as a book reviewer myself. But how did that community come about? Today, I’m

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Book review: Flawless by Jan Moran

Astute, intelligent, gripping romance for the modern woman. From the first page I was entirely hooked. I love, love the world in which the story is situated. The author so expertly transports you to Beverly Hills and, for a period, Paris, and offers a glimpse of glamour while showing those

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The Ferragosto

Were I to write now a scene for the characters of my latest novel, The Echoes of Love, set in Italy, it would include them relaxing and enjoying today’s public holiday, the Ferragosto. Celebrated each 15th August, the Ferragosto is a favourite holiday in Italy – so much so that

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The return of serialised literature

We’re all familiar with serial dramas on the television, but books? Once, reading a story one instalment at a time was wildly popular. Back in Victorian England, for example, books themselves were premium items – expensive and requiring risky investment from publishers. Thus it was easier to break down a

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The language of romance

I grew up speaking French, predominantly – it was the language used at my school, for example. But because I lived in Egypt, it was essential I could speak Arabic. My parents insisted on my being fluent in English. And my half-French, half-Italian governess was careful to perfect my French

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Walking for walking’s sake

Is the modern Western world of technology and ever-faster transport making us forget the joy of walking – just walking, for the joy of it? Should we all walk more, not just for our physical health, but to inspire and soothe mind and soul? It’s an idea increasingly explored. Take

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