filed under How To Write A Book.

I’ve long been aware of the physical dangers of the writing lifestyle – long hours spent sitting behind a computer aren’t that good for anyone’s body. I’ve had a sit/stand desk for a couple of years, which I use to alternate, in half hour stints, between sitting and standing. I use a perching stool rather than a chair which promotes active sitting and no slouching and I walk or go to yoga each day to break up the periods of sitting in front of a computer. Alas, even with the best of intentions and a reasonably ergonomic setup, I have…

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filed under A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald, Her Mother's Secret, How To Write A Book.

What a difference a year makes! I remember vividly, during the school holidays last summer, sitting at my kitchen bench, furiously working away on something on my laptop, and being interrupted by one of my three lovely children for the millionth time. I remember shutting the lid of the laptop, (I can’t remember if I answered my child’s question or not though!) and putting my head in my hands and wondering what the hell I was doing. My Mini Crisis of Confidence Why was I working so damn hard during the holidays – when my kids wanted my undivided attention…

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filed under Author Interviews.

Where Stories Are Made is back for 2018 and my very first guest for the year is Louise Allan, whose debut novel, The Sisters’ Song, has just been released. Louise is an amazing photographer so her pictures of her writing spaces are to die for. Plus, you can also win a signed copy of her book just by commenting on the post below. Best of luck and I hope you enjoy meeting Louise! 1. My stories are made … At home in my attic is my favourite place to write, although, through necessity, I’ve learnt to write anywhere. I’ve written…

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filed under Her Mother's Secret, The Paris Seamstress.

2017 was a big year. A year of ups and downs. A year of a lot of work. A year of decisions and changes. And, of course, a year of writing lots of words. Here are the highlights, and the lowlights. A Huge Case of Nerves It’s safe to say that I have never in my life been more nervous about a book coming out than I was about Her Mother’s Secret. Why? Because, as some of you may have heard me say in my author talks, when A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald came out in 2016, I had almost…

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filed under Book Reviews.

It’s that time of year! When we look back over what we did and what we didn’t do and we make the odd list or two. Here’s one of my lists: the best books of 2017. (My list covers books I read in 2017, not necessarily books that were published in 2017). The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett I reviewed this one in Book Chat, which I know I haven’t done for over 6 months. (PS – would love to know who, if anyone, misses Book Chat). It’s a book that makes you think about the lives you didn’t…

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filed under How To Write A Book.

The most terrifying part of the writing process is, for me, starting a new book. Every single time I begin, I feel as if I won’t be able to do it, as if the story idea that I have is just too outlandish or difficult or impossible to pull off. As if there’s too much that I don’t know and I will never, ever know enough to write this particular book. Or, that I might spend weeks on the draft and discover, as I near the end, that I just can’t pull off the climax and the whole story collapses…

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filed under How To Write A Book, The Paris Seamstress.

Over the last week, I’ve been working on the proofread for The Paris Seamstress, which is out on 27 March, 2018. I know lots of people think that proofreading a novel is just about picking up typos and spelling mistakes but it’s so much more than that. Here are some pics from my proofread, and an explanation of some of the things I look out for when I’m proofreading a novel. Repetition I try to pick up all the repetition in the copyedit but some inevitably gets missed and sneaks into the typeset pages. So, as I’m proofreading, I have…

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filed under How To Write A Book, Writing Historical Fiction.

I was asked this question during the week. And I laughed. The other alternative was to cry. Because I am not yet the kind of writer who can turn in my first draft to my publisher. I know some writers do this. How I envy them, that they can produce a first draft that is readable, coherent, and not something to be ashamed of. I can, hand on heart, say that I can’t see myself becoming the one-draft writer for a very long time, if ever. So, why do I do so many drafts? Let me tell you. I Don’t…

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filed under Author Interviews.

When I read Those Pleasant Girls by Lia Weston, I experienced one of those moments that happens all too rarely when I’m reading – I was sobbing with laughter. My husband was staring at me as if I was a lunatic but I could not help myself – it is one very funny book. So I knew I had to have Lia Weston as my guest for Where Stories Are Made and what a guest she is! I know I shouldn’t play favourites but this might be my favourite interview so far; how many writers have a coffin in their…

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filed under How To Write A Book, Writing Historical Fiction.

Because I’ve been blathering on so much about my recent research trip, I’ve had quite a few people get in touch to ask how to go about their own research: where to start when researching a novel just seems so overwhelming. Here are my tips. Daily Life in Another Era – Newspapers, Catalogues and Magazines For those researching a historical novel, one of the big concerns is getting the detail of the era right. What underwear did people wear in the 1910s, how much did the average person earn in the 1920s, when were doorbells invented, what did people eat…

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