Monthly Archives: July 2015

Why another series of blog posts about writing?

I’ve come to a decision. Actually, it’s a reversal of a decision made when I first launched my blog – back in December 2013 – when I decided that the world didn’t need any more writers blogging about how to write. That situation probably hasn’t changed, granted, but I have. I’ve learned a lot more since then. I’ve written six novels now – admittedly, not all of them published – all providing a unique learning curve. In addition, I’ve survived several years in the industry and so possibly have some worthwhile things to say. once-upon-a-time-719174__180Besides, no two writers follow the same methods, or write the same books. We’re all unique, and over the years, in that limbo time where I languished unpublished, reading about how other people have found their way from Chapter One to The End helped me enormously. Perhaps I have something to add to that canon, and if my experience and know-how helps even one other writer, then it’s worth the effort.

Ever since I can remember, I wanted to write books, but for years I lacked the courage to even try. Back when I left university, the UK creative writing industry in the UK was still a fledgling, not the seasoned old bird it is now. Back then, information on how to write a novel was sparse, and part of the reason it took me so long to get started was I literally had no idea how to go about writing a novel.

Or rather I thought I did. I thought you literally wrote Chapter One at the top of a blank document and off you went. I tried it. The experiment didn’t go well. I floundered, horribly, and the experience was utterly demoralising. It added to my already crippling misconception that writers were born, not made, and my conviction that I hadn’t been blessed with the right genes.

This, thankfully, wasn’t true, though heaven knows it took me long enough to find out. I simply didn’t understand two things: one, you can learn how to write a novel – it is a craft, not a God-given gift. And two, discovering your own particular process – the things you need to do to get to The End – is half the battle. Probably more.

So, I’ve decided to share my process. I am a bit religious about it.  Possibly rather anal. But it works for me, and with some adaptation it might work for you too. Take what you like from it, and ignore the rest.

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with this link to this gif on Meg Rosoff’s website:


Amazing Book Awards

Big night for me last Friday. I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the Sussex School’s Amazing Book Awards, sponsored by the Sussex Police.
PosterHeld at Shoreham Academy near Brighton, it was hosted by the fantastic new children’s laureate, Chris Riddell. Here he is doing a live cartoon of yours truly, while I related my tale of winning a prize in a poetry competition at my Haywards Heath primary school, which was also sponsored by the Sussex Police. Me at ABAsAnd here’s his fabulous cartoon up close – no words for how much I love it! Riddell-cartoonHere I am sitting with the four other finalists, James Dawson, Sally Green, Jon Robinson, and Annabel Pitcher. On the panel at the ABAsTremendous excitement as they announced the winner – James Dawson – his second year of victory at the awards. Go, James! I went home with a head full of some great memories of meeting so many enthusiastic librarians, teachers and pupils, plus a few other things, notably this beautiful glass trophy:ABA-awardAnd this wonderful goody bag:Goody-bagSweeties!SweetiesAnd something that’s about to be framed and take pride of place on my office wall – this amazing picture of Danny from Now You See Me. A very generous present from the wonderful Chris Riddell.Danny - Chris Riddell



In the meantime…

Been keeping my head down for the last  month or so, putting the finishing touches to YA3. Proud to say I pressed Send yesterday, propelling my new book into the inboxes of my agent and editor. Now comes the nail-biting part where I wait for their feedback. CHomA7rWoAAco9d

In the meantime, Now You See Me has had a record-breaking month for ebook sales, after iBooks selected if for their ‘Psychological Thrillers for £2.99 or Less’ promotion, running from June 15th – 30th.

This week also saw me appearing on the ebooks by Sainsburys website writing about The Rise and Rise of Female Thriller Writers, while the lovely Ellie Colegate ran a review of Now You See Me and an author interview on her Miss Backwards blog.

And for Better Left Buried, a great review from the equally fabulous Vivienne Dacosta on Serendipity Reviews. Made me want to go and read my own book all over again, which after all the endless revisions, is quite an achievement. Thank you, Vivienne!
Foyles Waterstones Clapham june 2015






Finally, a couple of sightings out in the wild – Foyles and Clapham Watersones, thanks to my lovely Twitter friends.