Why editors are important

When I finished the very first draft of my first novel Cuckoo at the end of NaNoWriMo 2008, even I knew that I needed to do a lot of work to get it into a shape where I could show it to anyone else. After all, it had only taken me thirty days to produce. The pants to pearls ratio was pretty high.

So I worked on it for another ten months, until it was the best it could possibly be.… read more

Been a long time…

And this is a bit how I feel after emerging from two months of heavy-duty editing/major surgery on novel #3, which I can now happily announce is to be called TARNISHED.

I’ve been working on Editor Leah’s brilliant and comprehensive notes on my first draft, as well as a bundle of rather more haphazard and gut-based queries of my own.

I had fully intended to post weekly with lessons learned while editing, but I found it quite difficult to lift my head from what I was doing.… read more

Strangeness on a Train

I’m writing this the night before I appear on the Radio 4 Today Programme to talk about my writer-in-residence-on-a-train gig. I’m scheduling the post to publish just after I have finished. You will know, dear reader, if I have made a tit of myself, talked garbage, or forgotten what I was saying mid-spout. I have that yet to discover.

Strangeness on a Train is the short story that resulted from my East Coast London-Harrogate-London writer-in-residence tenure.… read more

Writer on a Train

This article first appeared on Behind the Headlines on May 16, 2012.

As a full time writer working from the home I share with three men, I can find plenty to distract me from my daily 2000 words. Before you get excited about this in a 50 Shades sort of way, the three men I live with are one husband and two sons (the daughter is largely away at Uni), and the distractions are of the domestic kind – exciting things like washing crispy sheets, scraping crud off floors and searching for all the forks which have mysteriously disappeared.… read more

If the writing goes tits up…

I’ve just had the most enormous fun making a trailer for Every Vow You Break. For me, writing is like running a movie in my head. So, it seems, is making a movie.

Last week, on a bitingly cold but brightly sunny day, I wrapped up so warm that I could barely move and set off into the wilds of Stanmer Park with YoungSon’s fancy schmancy camera. After half an hour of fiddling, I worked out how to switch it on, and I set off into the woods.… read more

A gamble

Some of the bare bones of novel #3

After a busy Christmas and New Year, I knew I had to buckle down to the second draft of novel #3, which I had spent most of December planning out on my Scrivener virtual cork board. A stretch of quiet, concentrated time was what was needed. I also had a bit of location research to do in Tankerton and Whitstable.

OldMan has had a few weeks of working from home – a rarity in his line of business – and he has been saying for a long time that, as he’s around to hold the fort, why don’t I just take myself off for a week and just write.… read more

Just a few tiny amendments…

Well, the WONDERFUL bound proofs of Every Vow You Break came through, and, as you can see, like me, AgentSimon thinks they’re fab.

But, really, publishers. Let a writer loose on her book before it’s published? When it looks like a real book? ‘Dear Lovely Editor. I’ve got just a few teeny weeny amendments to that bound proof.’

Is there a florist on the Euston Road that does deliveries, I wonder?

Still, it’s worth it if the final result is a DLP (Dead Letter Perfect) published hardback version on 29 March.… read more

Every Vow You Break – the photographs

Visuals are so important to me when I’m working. Here are some photographs that I had up on my wall throughout the writing of Every Vow You Break. I took them while we were staying in upstate New York as part of the wonderful Franklin Stage Company a few years back. We have had the best of times as a family in Franklin. Unlike the poor Wayland Family in the the fictional Trout Island in Every Vow You Break

Click on a photo to see it in full.… read more

Best Laid Plans

CUCKOO paperback – in a bookshop near you, at a nice price

So, I didn’t keep up my resolution to post here three times a week during NaNovember. Man, it’s hard, writing 50,000 words in a month. Even when it’s the day job. Nearly there, though. Just 1500 to do tomorrow before midnight. Might just about do it.

Hats off to everyone who has managed to get their novel written this month. Especially if you’ve had to fit it around work, children, aged parents, ill pets, whatever.… read more

All Over the Place like a Bloody Great Rash

Me on the sofa at BBC breakfast talking about NaNoWriMo

So it’s National Novel Writing Month again, and I seem to be all over the place talking about it. Sorry about that. It’s all totally heartfelt though. For lots of people, it’s is a great way to get a novel out into the world. But I am aware that it’s not for everyone. Some people like to take their time on their first drafts, planning and thinking as they go.… read more