filed under For Writers: Writing Tips, The Paris Seamstress.

A writer’s notebook (or mine at least!) is a messy, scrappy thing that contains a strange mix of the practical and the magical. People often ask me about whether I write by hand, and how I keep track of ideas for my books. Enter the writer’s notebook. While I type most of my books, there are many passages and sentences in my books that come about from a scribbled, handwritten note which has been jotted down after a moment of inspiration while washing the dishes or going for a walk. Here are some examples of my notebooks from The Paris…

keep reading

filed under For Writers: Writing Tips, The Dior Bequest.

A few weeks ago, I started on the second draft of The Dior Bequest, the book I’m working on for 2020. I’ve mentioned before that my first drafts are a bit of a mess, which means I need to do quite a lot of work in my second draft. I think of this work as really burrowing into the story, layer by layer, starting with the surface of the scene and digging my way right into its core. Here’s what I mean. My Aims With the Second Draft My main is is to ensure the story makes sense! Because the…

keep reading

filed under For Writers: Writing Tips.

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,…

keep reading

filed under For Writers: Writing Tips, 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…

keep reading

filed under For Writers: Writing Tips, 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.…

keep reading

filed under For Writers: Writing Tips, 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…

keep reading

filed under For Writers: Writing Tips.

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…

keep reading

filed under A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald, For Writers: Writing Tips, Her Mother's Secret.

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…

keep reading

filed under For Writers: Writing Tips.

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…

keep reading

filed under For Writers: Writing Tips, 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…

keep reading