filed under Writing Historical Fiction.

Something strange and alchemical happens when I have an idea for a book and I start writing; it’s as if the universe gets behind me and wants me to keep writing. It puts things in my path that I can’t help but discover, and which never fail to make my books better. It makes magical moments of serendipity happen. I have written about some of this before. Visiting a flower-work atelier in Paris and deciding that the main character in The Paris Seamstress, Estella, would not be an ordinary seamstress but would practice flower-work and then going to the Met…

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filed under Writing Historical Fiction.

One of the most common questions I get asked at author talks is about the research I do for my books. It always gives me quite a thrill when readers and reviewers praise the research in my books; it’s so important to me that the characters and the story and setting and the feel of the book all give the reader a sense of being in the right time and place. So, this week, I thought I’d talk about the less glamorous but equally important side of novel research, the desk-bound as opposed to the Parisian research trips! Making a…

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filed under The French Photographer.

This week, I’ve been working on the copyedit for The French Photographer. As well as that, there have been quite a few behind-the-scenes things happening with the book, so I thought it might be interesting to talk about the process of getting a book ready for publication. The Back Cover Blurb When you’re browsing in the bookshop, how often do you pick up a book and turn to the back cover and read the blurb? Most of us do this often. Therefore, the blurb has to be captivating and convince the reader that this book is worth their time and their…

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filed under The French Photographer.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that I’m currently working on the copyedit for The French Photographer, which will be out in late March 2019. Quite a few people have asked me for me details about the book, and while I can’t tell you too much right now, here’s a little bit about where and when the story is set, along with some of the pics I took on my research trip to France for the book last year. The French Photographer: Who, Where and When The French Photographer is a dual narrative like The Paris…

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filed under How To Write A Book.

This is a post about support, about the fact that no writer gets a book published because of what they alone did. There are always many other people standing behind that writer who have helped in ways they’re probably not even aware of, ways that made a huge difference to that writer. We often think of the writer alone in a room wth a computer and that’s how writing is some of the time but, in my experience, it’s really a group effort. A Writing Mentor My first experience of writing support came in the form of my university supervisor,…

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

Besides the structural edit, which is a process that adds new meaning to the word difficult, the hardest part of the writing process for me is writing the first draft of a novel. Other writers I know love the first draft and hate the redrafting. We’re all different. And everyone writes their first draft in a different way. As I’m about 90,000 words into a first draft of my 2020 book, which has a working title of The Dior Bequest, I thought I might talk a little bit about how I write first drafts and why I find them so…

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filed under Book Reviews.

I’ve read lots of great books this month! As usual, here’s the video of me chatting about each book; I’m discussing The Muse by Jessie Burton, Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer, The Lace Weaver by Lauren Chater, The Power by Naomi Alderman and The Riviera Set by Mary S Lovell.   If you’ve read any of these books, I’d love to know what you thought, especially about The Power as I wasn’t quite as in love with this as I thought I would be. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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

I wanted to talk a little about perseverance. About continuing on against the odds. About doing what you love despite the doubts. About not giving up and holding on to that beautiful shining dream you have even if it seems so far out of reach. My latest book, The Paris Seamstress, has been selling its little socks off. At times, it feels a bit like it’s happening to someone else and I’m watching the experience from a distance. At other times it feels so bloody exciting that all I want to do is laugh and dance and sing and shout.…

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filed under Author Interviews.

I’ve known Lauren Chater on social media for a few years and had the absolute pleasure of first hearing her work read aloud at the Historical Novels Society Conference a few years ago. It immediately struck me as unique, lyrical and the kind of writing I wanted to hear more of. So I was absolutely thrilled when her first book, The Lace Weaver, was picked up by Simon & Schuster and published recently.You can win a signed copy of this gorgeous book just by leaving a comment on the blog post below. Over to Lauren to take us through her…

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filed under The Paris Seamstress.

Last week I talked about my trip to Paris to research The Paris Seamstress; this week is all about my trip to New York. A lot of the research books that I read before I went talked about Paris, in terms of fashion, as being the city of art, whereas New York was the city of industry. So I went to New York prepared to find a slightly less romantic version of the fashion industry than what I had found in Paris. But did this turn out to be true? New York’s Garment District I once again organised a private…

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