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 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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filed under The Paris Seamstress.

One of my most favourite parts of my job would definitely have to be travelling overseas for research. Who wouldn’t want to go to Paris and New York and places in between all in the name of work?! And the trip I organised for researching The Paris Seamstress was especially spectacular, full of discoveries that inspired scenes for the book. The Théâtre du Palais Royal For this trip, I organised a private tour guide to take me through the Sentier, Paris’s historic fashion district. I met my guide at the Palais Royal, which backs onto the Sentier. There, I made the…

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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 The Paris Seamstress.

I much prefer redrafting to starting a novel and The Paris Seamstress only served to confirm this preference; it is definitely the one book of mine that was the hardest to start. I sat down in November 2015 ready to write my 20,000 word pre-first draft only to discover that I didn’t really have a story idea. I had a character in my head and this character had a very distinctive voice but I didn’t know who she was or why she was there. I let the voice lead me and while I really liked a lot of what I wrote, I had no…

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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 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 Her Mother's Secret, How To Write A Book, The French Photographer, The Paris Seamstress.

I taught a Plotting Masterclass on the weekend and we talked about plotting versus pantsing, and how much of my first draft would incorporate the key plot points, or whether I would incorporate those points once the first draft was finished. I get asked similar questions at each course I teach—whether the similes in my books just come out in the first draft or whether they’re something I work on later, whether the plot twists in my books are known to me in advance or whether they unravel themselves in  the writing process. So I thought it might be useful…

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

Incubation is a greatly underrated but hugely important part of the writing process, of how an idea becomes a book. Everyone talks about the actual writing and the redrafting and the editing but few people talk about the thinking time. I guess that’s because it’s hard to talk about: blogging about time spent doing nothing other than thinking could quickly turn into a very dull post! But I’m going to give it a go because it’s been on my mind a lot lately as I incubate an idea that will hopefully become a book for 2020 (crazy far away I…

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

During the week, I posted a picture on my Facebook page of a chart I like to do at the end of my second draft. It helps me see where the gaps are and what I need to work on in the next redraft. Unexpectedly, the picture attracted a flood of comments and requests for me to blog about how I use the chart and what I do when I’m redrafting a novel. So, here goes! The Second Draft I’ve blogged before about how my first drafts are a bit of a mess; I don’t print out my first draft,…

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