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 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 How To Write A Book, The Paris Seamstress.

As The Paris Seamstress will be published next week, I thought it was a good time to take you behind the scenes and describe how I went about writing and researching the novel. Last week, I published a post about how I got the idea for the book, which you can read here. This week, I’m going to talk about why it’s so important for me to have a clear and vivid opening scene in my mind when I’m writing, and also how The Paris Seamstress evolved from a straight historical novel to a dual narrative that combines both contemporary…

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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 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 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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