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My latest blog posts

My latest blog posts

Recipe: Kenyan chicken coconut curry

Curry calls to mind India; coconut curry calls to mind Thailand. The following recipe, however, is a traditional Kenyan one from the East Coast – the kind of meal that the characters in my novel Burning Embers may well have enjoyed, cooked by their local staff. I prefer a mild

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The mimosa tree

A mimosa tree in my grounds in France. They flower all over the French Riviera. Some towns celebrate La Fête des Mimosas, and chariots adorned with mimosa flowers and branches parade through town.

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Absence makes the heart fonder…

… Or so the popular saying goes. Heathcliff and Cathy. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy. Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester. Pip and Estella. Dexter and Emma (One Day)… Romantic stories throughout the history of literature are peppered with the prolonged separation of lovers, which serves

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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!)

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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

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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.

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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

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Snow!

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

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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

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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

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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

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My latest blog posts

Digital roundup April

I’ve been following publishing news ever since I began publishing my romance fiction, and in recent months it’s become apparent that digital is dominating the news. This week, three stories jumped out at me: Whichbook Here’s a new site that matches a book to your mood. According to the site,‘Whichbook

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Digital roundup

I’ve been following publishing news ever since I began publishing my romance fiction, and in recent months it’s become apparent that digital is dominating the news. This week, three stories jumped out at me: Whichbook Here’s a new site that matches a book to your mood. According to the site,‘Whichbook

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The importance of attribution

Regular readers of my blog and followers on Twitter will know that I love quotations – little nuggets of wisdom to make you smile, make you think, make you feel, make you connect. With the growth of the internet, there has developed a proliferation of websites and blogs that collate

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The era of Indiscretion: 1950s Spain

Readers of my new novel Indiscretion will find themselves transported not only to a beautiful location – the ancient cities and wild landscapes of Andalusia, Spain – but also to another time. What do you expect of a novel set at the beginning of the 1950s? This was a decade

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The secret language of the Spanish fan

A cultural symbol of Spain known around the world, the Spanish fan exudes romance and passion. So much so, it is an important symbol on the cover of my new novel, Indiscretion: While the fan may have begun its life in Spain back in the 14th century as a practical

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The most spectacular libraries in the world

Regular followers of my blog will know I am an ardent bibliophile, and that extends to an adoration of those places dedicated to connecting us with books: libraries. I wholeheartedly agree with Jorge Luis Borges: “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” The dust motes floating dreamily in

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JK Rowling’s Very Good Lives

Did you watch the video of JK Rowling’s 2008 speech at Harvard University? I found her words very poignant, especially such points on imagination and empathy as: “We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to

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The Clean Reader app

Have you heard about the Clean Reader app? Its release has caused quite a stir in the reading and writing communities. This free app, whose tagline is ‘Read books, not profanity’, allows you to blank out swear words in an ebook, so that they aren’t displayed on your ereader screen.

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