Monday, May 16, 2022

And Another book is almost ready

It's been an exciting time author-wise since my last post, as My Sister's Child achieved a bestseller banner on Amazon, something of a holy grail for authors, giving sales a further boost due to whatever algorithms are triggered (or something else technical I don't really understand!) The book has had some lovely reviews too, and feedback like that, knowing readers have been entertained and taken away from reality - in a good way - means the world and inspires me to keep writing.

On that note, I've now seen the cover of my next book My Husband's Secret, which will be out in ebook on June 30th (audio and paperback a couple of months later) and I think it's my favourite to date. The cover designer has done a great job in making it stand out, something that's vital for potential readers skimming through books online, looking for their next read, when there's so much great competition out there.

I'm now working on my next book and getting to know the characters and am excited about the story unfolding, which often ends up being just as much of a surprise to me as I hope it does to the readers.

Meanwhile co-writer Amanda Brittany and I are waiting to hear from an editor who may be interested in publishing our next book, so we're keeping everything crossed for that.

Spring is pushing towards summer now and everything in the garden is blooming. I'm trying to resist dashing out there too often and be more disciplined with my writing - not easy when my writing corner is in the lean-to conservatory overlooking the garden, but I love it here, away from the main house, where I can hear birdsong, and, occasionally a lawnmower - or, more annoyingly, a chainsaw - and I don't have far to go to put the kettle on.

We're still hoping to take a couple of days away by the sea at the beginning of June, but I tend not to make too many plans these days, never quite knowing what's around the corner, though maybe it should be the other way round - I should be making lots of plans, because you never quite know what's around the corner!

Whatever your plans are, I hope they work out for you ☺

Monday, March 7, 2022

Nearly spring

                                                              Bench at Gaynes Park Mansions Wedding Venue

March is well underway, which means spring is on its way (bit of unintentional (bad) poetry, there.) Not that the weather has realised yet, it's very cold at the moment. I went to a wedding over the weekend, my first for 30 years (apart from my own!) and how the bride coped with the outdoor photo session without turning into a block of ice is testament to the power of love (or maybe she was wearing thermal underwear.)

I've finally had the okay to write 2 more books for my publisher, which is both a relief and a thrill, and has given me a big burst of motivation. Knowing my writing efforts will be rewarded with publication and - most importantly - be read by actual people fills me with inspiration. I can't wait to get going. I have the plot worked out, but will probably deviate slightly, as usually happens - though the ending rarely changes once I have it fixed in my mind.

I've worked out another two stories as well, but am unsure yet which of those will be next. I'll need to break off soon to complete edits for my already-written book, out later this year, but that's always how it works - one being written, one being edited, and a later one swimming about in the recesses of my mind.

Meanwhile, Amanda Brittany and I are in the process of submitting our next novel to publishers, which is exciting and a bit daunting as there are no guarantees, but we're confident it will find a home, and soon we'll be embarking on our next book as we have the outline ready. 

Marking out these things brings home the passing of time and how quickly it flies, but there will hopefully be other nice things happening apart from writing - maybe even a tiny holiday at some point.

One thing I'm looking forward to is getting back in the garden, which I barely look at during the winter months. The grass desperately needs cutting, and the pots need replanting. My inner teenager is telling me I must be getting old - gardening is what my granddad used to do - but I've  reached the age where the attractions are obvious: being in nature; exercise that doesn't feel like exercise; the reward (that word again) of seeing the seeds that were planted last year grow into something beautiful - just like a book ☺

                                                                                     Spring is springing...         

Here's hoping your spring is mild and fruitful!

Monday, January 17, 2022

New Year

So, it's 2022, a year that looks and sounds futuristic - the sort featured in an old episode of Star Trek, when it was imagined we'd all have flying cars and be dressed in silver jumpsuits.

I like the promise of a new year, a blank page waiting to be filled. I don't make resolutions as such when it comes to writing, but picture myself being more productive/disciplined and focused though - in truth - it'll no doubt be more of the same: lots of procrastinating, interspersed with deadline-panic-motivated writing followed by a sigh of relief and a burst of housework.

I'm currently finishing a thriller with co-writer Amanda Brittany and we've outlined a new idea which is being submitted to our publisher in the hope we'll be offered a new contract. So, that's exciting.

In the meantime, I'm waiting on edits for my latest book, and for the paperback and audiobook publication of My Sister's Child on February 3rd. The Works is taking 5,000 copies which is a thrill as all writers love to see their books on shelves. I'll be darting into various branches taking 'shelfies' and grinning inanely - and perhaps strong-arming customers into buying copies. (I won't be doing that.)

The weather's typically cold and frosty for January, but it doesn't stop me walking every day, working off the Christmas Quality Street and mince pie excesses, fixing plot holes as I go and enjoying the scenery when I look out from the imaginary world in my head.When the sun's shining as it has been today, it doesn't seem too long now until Spring, which these birds - pictured in a tree in our garden - also seem to be looking forward to.

Whatever you're doing this January, stay warm and safe.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Publication Day


It's eBook publication day for my third psychological thriller My Sister's Child, and I'm thrilled to see it finally out in the world. It's my twistiest story yet, but packed with emotion too, and I can't wait for readers to ... well, read Jess and Rachel's story.

Early reviews have been great, which is always a huge relief, and my editor emailed today to say that The Works will be taking copies when the paperback comes out in February, which is another thrill as there's nothing more amazing to a writer than seeing their printed books on a shelf in a shop. It's also a great way to get more copies into readers' hands, which is the aim after all!

In the meantime, I'm racing towards the deadline for my next book, provisionally titled The Lies You Told. It's the first time I've written a solo book from alternate viewpoints, told in alternate chapters, but I'm enjoying getting to grips with two very different female characters.

Hard to believe we're now in December, with Christmas around the corner. I took some time off writing to put up the tree this week, which involved the inevitable battle with the fairy lights, which still got tangled despite me being sensible and wrapping them up carefully last year! I got there in the end ....

I also took a day off writing (always happens close to deadline, I do anything but write) to meet my lovely friend and co-author Amanda Brittany for a hot chocolate and lots of chat about writing and life in general, and came away feeling motivated to Get On With It, as always.  

                                                    (The polar bear had a lovely time too!)

Whatever you're doing for Christmas this year, I hope it's happy, healthy and stress-free and that 2022 is the year we finally get back to Normal! 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Still writing

September has appeared without warning. Hard to believe we're this far along in the year. It doesn't seem long since I was jamming the Christmas tree out of sight and wrangling the fairy-lights back into their box. 

The weather already feels autumnal, the July heatwave a distant memory. The leaves are starting to turn, and there's a chill in the air. It's hasn't been the best summer weather-wise, but other countries have had it worse - flooding in Germany, wildfires in Greece - so in a way, we're lucky. (I'm still craving sunshine though.) 

I haven't yet received my edits for my latest book - my editor is overworked after a busy summer - but in the meantime have continued writing with Amanda Brittany, enjoying the process of getting words down and seeing them grow at twice the usual rate; a benefit of having a co-author! 

One of the pleasures has been researching prop hire companies as our main character runs one, and we're hoping to pay a visit sometime to see how it all works. 

My next solo book - which I've started well ahead of deadline for once - is set in Robin Hood's Bay in North Yorkshire, so I've been wandering around there virtually thanks to the wonders of Google Maps. I had hoped to visit the area on a recent trip to see my family in Scarborough, but didn't have quite enough time. Luckily, I have vivid memories of visiting the bay growing up, and took my children there when they were small, so at least have something to draw on. 

Robin Hood's Bay
As usual, when working out plots, I seem to spend a lot of time doing things unrelated to writing - baking and gardening in particular - but my mind is ticking over all the time and when I eventually sit down to write, I find the words are there. At least, that's what I tell my husband and children when they see me hacking at the ivy on the garage roof, or making yet another batch of scones. I think I've perfected the recipe now! In the interests of... well, no one really, I think I ought to sample one (or two.) 

Whatever you're doing, stay well, and have a happy autumn.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Writing during a heatwave

Chiltern Brew Cafe Garden
It's thirty-one degrees today and while we've been waiting - it seems - forever for summer to arrive, the humidity makes it hard to do anything but gently perspire. As some Covid restrictions have now been lifted, I've found myself veering back to air-conditioned cafes and coffee shops to write for the first time in nearly two years. A cool blast of air and a pot of tea - maybe a slice of cake - does wonders for my creativity.

Since my second psychological thriller And Then She Ran came out in April, I've signed a contract to write two more with HQ/HarperCollins and have started plotting my third. It's different to the one I initially outlined for my lovely editor Belinda Toor and I'm currently waiting to hear whether I can go ahead with it. It's one of those ideas I don't want to let go of and have presumptuously written the first two chapters.

Alongside that, Amanda Brittany and I are writing our third thriller, spurred on by the success of The Perfect Nanny. As with our last two books, we're thoroughly enjoying the experience, bouncing ideas off each other and writing a chapter a day, motivating each other to keep going. Motivation (or maybe it's discipline) is something I struggle with when writing solo - until two weeks before the draft is due when I write about 10,000 words a day. (Not recommended.)

Lovely Husband and I managed a weekend away last month - the first in nineteen months - to Whitstable, Kent. The weather wasn't great but it was good to have a change of scenery, and I had a wander around and made notes as I'd like to feature the area in a book at some point. Author Julie Wassmer has already written a whole mystery series based there - Whitstable Pearl - which has been made into a TV series and we're currently enjoying watching that, yelling 'We went there!' and 'That's where we ate oysters!' (Newsflash: I didn't eat oysters, but my husband did - I couldn't face them.)


Whatever you're up to this summer, I hope it's a good one in every way.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Cat and Mouse

It's publication day for And Then She Ran my second psychological thriller, described as a cat-and-mouse story as the main character Grace flees America with her baby, but suspects she's being followed.

I've always enjoyed the cat-and-mouse plot element in fiction, the pursuit, near capture and flight, the near misses and showdown, the psychological dance between characters that keeps me on the edge of my seat. I've read and watched many stories on this theme over the years and have picked out a few of my favourites.

1.  Madam Will You Talk by Mary Stewart

A classic cat-and-mouse tale set in the south of France where a war widow becomes involved with a gang of murderers and a plot to kidnap a young boy and has to figure out who the villains are. Plenty of twists and turns in a story that stands the test of time.

2. The Split by Sharon Bolton

One of the best books I read last year, described as 'a chilling, pulse-racing, emotionally charged thriller about a woman on the run, a deadly cat-and-mouse game at the edge of the world' which I agree wholeheartedly with. Gripping stuff.

3. The Serpent BBC

The true story of the so-called 'hippie-trail killer' Charles Sobhraj, accused of murdering Western tourists in the seventies who plays a long cat-and-mouse game with the police over many years. Great performances - and outfits.

4. YOU Netflix

A stalker/serial-killer series adapted from Caroline Kepnes' novel of the same name, with an oddly charming and likeable protagonist in bookshop owner, Joe (despite him being a stalker/serial killer.)

5. Strangers on a Train 1951

The Alfred Hitchcock film, based on the book by Patricia Highsmith, is a classic cat-and-mouse tale and one of my favourites - a chance meeting between two men on a train, speculating what it would be like to commit the perfect murder, with a private investigator on their case. A brilliantly constructed story.

6. Unsane 2018

A film starring Claire Foy as a woman who tries to join a support group after being pursued by a stalker and finds herself trapped in a psychiatric hospital. It's shot on iPhone, adding to the unsettling atmosphere of being stuck in your worst nightmare fighting to be believed. It veered a little too close to horror at times - I'm a coward - but well worth a watch if you're braver than me.

Published at HQ Stories 28/4/21

And Another book is almost ready

It's been an exciting time author-wise since my last post, as My Sister's Child achieved a bestseller banner on Amazon, something of...