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My latest blog posts

My latest blog posts

Five Christmas ice cream recipes

‘Ice cream? In December?’ I hear you cry. Surely that’s a summer-time treat? Well, not if you follow my easy and quick recipes and combine your favourite festive desserts with creamy ice cream. This is a great way to use up puddings that are going stale, or to serve up

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I wonder as I wander

Every writer has good days and bad days: times when the words just flow onto the page, as if by magic; and times when you seem to spend much of the day gazing out of the window, tidying your desk, looking up words in the dictionary – anything but write.

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‘We chase dreams and embrace shadows’: Anatole France

Eagle-eyed readers will have spotted the quote that runs along the bottom of this blog: ‘We chase dreams and embrace shadows.’ Anatole France’s quote echoes through my novel Burning Embers. ‘But who was Anatole France?’ you may well be wondering – he’s not a writer perhaps familiar to readers outside

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Favourite film: Gone with the Wind

I defy any romantic to watch this film and not love it! In my list of favourite films, it’s right near the top. I love the colours (of course, released in 1939, it was one of the first films shot in colour), the music, the characters, the vivid settings –

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Breaking Dawn

You’d have to be a hermit in a cave to have missed the excitement and passion generated among girls and women across the UK by the latest Twilight movie. Stephenie Meyer’s books have tapped into the deep river of romanticism that lies within the modern woman – though we’re strong

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The English rose

In my novel, Burning Embers, the male protagonist, Rafe, uses a number of terms of endearment when speaking to his lover Coral – my darling, my sweet, my love. But the most prevalent, and the most fitting in terms of her character, is ‘rosebud’. To the non-British reader, this may

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Kenya from the air

In Burning Embers, Rafe and Coral take to the skies in a hot air balloon from which they see have a commanding view over Kenya, laid out beneath them in all her glory. They see blue waters and verdant vegetation, and amid them the most wonderful array of animals: elephants,

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Challenging romance with love rivals

As Lysander wisely points out in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, ‘The course of true love never did run smooth.’ And what would a romance novel be without some obstacles along the path to test the lovers? Of course, one of the most common threats introduced by the author is

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A rose by any other name…

Choosing names for the male and female protagonists in a novel is, I always think, an important element of the writing process. The right name conveys the character’s personality, wishes and dreams; the wrong name could hinder character development. When I write a novel, deciding names is one of the

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A sweet aphrodisiac recipe

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so goes the popular saying. Well, I think there’s a little more to attraction and love than that, but I do believe that certain foods and drinks act as aphrodisiacs for both men and women. (The word aphrodisiac, in case

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Writing: creator versus editor

I think all writers have two parts within: an editor and a creator. Often, the two work in synergy to produce writing you’re happy with. Sometimes, though, the two seem mutually incompatible. The creator, as I call it, is the part of me that’s inspired (by the muse, you could

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African beliefs: The afterlife

In my Burning Embers, Coral’s father, ‘The White Pirate’, has died leaving her the legacy of his plantation, Mpingo. Coral’s old yaha (nanny), Aluna, is a native African lady who subscribes to the legends and traditional beliefs of her home, Kenya. And we see in the book that she is

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The kindness of strangers

A stolen glance across a crowded train; a shy smile as you pass each other by on a windswept cliff path; a brush of hands as you reach for the same apple outside the grocer’s – you see a stranger, and you feel something. A connection forms as naturally as

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My latest blog posts

Respect for romance: signs of change

I have written before on my blog about the poor reputation of romance as a fiction genre. It’s simply not as respected as many other genres, and neverhas been. But there are signs of a change in the wind. According to an article in the Smithsonian magazine: ‘[A] new breed

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Favourite writer: Miguel de Cervantes– an addendum

Recently, I blogged about one of my favourite Spanish writers, Miguel de Cervantes, who penned the wonderful novel Don Quixote. In my post, I noted that he was buried in an unmarked grave and an initiative was launched to trace his remains. Just a few days later, I read in

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The growing popularity of audiobooks

A recent report by children’s publisher Scholastic found that while parents often stop reading aloud to children once they can read independently, many children up to the age of eleven wish their parents would continue. Reading with a parent is, of course, quality time, but I think the reason also

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The Moors of Spain

Moorish culture and legacy echoes through my new novel, Indiscretion, which is set in Andalusia, Spain, 1950, from the architecture of places that Alexandra visits to the princess costume she wears to a masked ball. Today, I take a look at the Moors of Spain, and why their influence has

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Does age matter when it comes to writing?

The media has been all aflutter this week over comments made by the best-selling author Joanna Trollope at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai. In her speech she gave the opinion that writers create their best works after the age of thirty-five, when life has ‘knocked them about

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Literary hotels of London

In my new novel, Indiscretion, the heroine is a writer. So what better place for an intimate lunch between Alexandra and her estranged father than Hazlitt’s, I thought: the eighteenth-century hotel just off Piccadilly that has been a favourite haunt for writers over the years since it was home to

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Research, research and more research

In an interview with Judith Spelman for Writing Magazine this month, author Emma Donoghue spoke on the subject of research for fiction-writing, an element of the writing process that she takes very seriously. She said: If you hope to find any interesting details about the time and place, you have

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