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My latest blog posts

My latest blog posts

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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Burning Embers, the song

‘Egosurfing’, they call it – Googling yourself. It’s not something I had ever done before this week, but with my upcoming book I decided, one particularly gloomy afternoon, to browse the internet for mentions of myself and the book. And it was whilst looking at results for ‘Burning Embers’ that

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Favourite films: Legend of 1900 and August Rush

I love music, and I love films in which music plays an integral role.   Have you seen Legend of 1900? If not, I wholeheartedly recommend you do so (I understand it’s available in DVD format for a very reasonable price online). This is a life-affirming, heart-warming, touching tale told

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Le Jaguar

In earlier blog entries I have written of the poetry of Leconte De Lisle.  De Lisle writes with such passion of exotic locations and the beasts that stalk them, and as I wrote of the setting and the animals in Burning Embers, set in Kenya, I found myself often drawn

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Love at first sight?

I am, of course, a romantic at heart – what romance novelist isn’t? But in today’s fast-paced era of busy people hurtling around in their busy lives; of connecting to people via the internet and mobile phone more than face to face (even arranging dating online); of rising divorce rates

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A slice of summer

It’s a gloomy autumnal day here in Kent, so I’ve been cheering myself up by looking through pictures of this summer. Here’s a shot of our pool in Kent, where I do a lot of dreaming and writing.

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Kenyan recipe: Mango ice cream with pineapple rum sauce

Earlier this month I posted a recipe for delicious groundnut soup – a traditional dish eaten in Africa. But what meal is complete without a little something sweet to finish? In Burning Embers, the protagonist, Coral, savours the ripe, succulent mangos that are grown in the area surrounding her homestead

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Chasing rainbows

Yesterday, as I was sitting at my desk typing, I took a break to gaze out at the dark grey sky lit by a beautiful golden sun, and was rewarded by a stunning full-arch, vivid rainbow in the sky. Nature at its most beautiful. I gazed into the sky until

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The hunter and his prey

Africa, the setting for Burning Embers, is of course a country famous for hunting. Natives have hunted to survive since the earliest days of the continent’s inhabitation, and the vast array of large, dangerous wildlife there created a real pull for white hunters, keen to demonstrate their prowess by gunning

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Coral’s doppelganger: Twiggy

When I was growing up, one of my favourite pastimes was visiting the cinema.  My governess, Zula, bless her, was just as romantic as I, and would accompany me to see the latest love story on the big screen. When I was twelve, South Pacific was released, and I must

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My latest blog posts

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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Welcome to El Pavón

In my first novel, Burning Embers, the heroine Coral has inherited a plantation in Kenya. I so loved making her a mistress of a beautiful expanse of land, and describing the setting: an exotic and stunning backdrop for the love story that plays out. In my new novel, Indiscretion, the

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