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 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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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 The French Photographer, Writing Historical Fiction.

For anyone interested, here’s a rundown of what I did on my recent research trip to Europe. I was finishing up a last bit of research for The French Photographer (2019 book) and researching the seed of an idea I had for a 2020 book, which has now grown into much more than a seed! I started in Paris, staying at the Hotel Scribe in the Opéra district. The hotel was built in the 1860s and was used by the Allies as their press headquarters after the fall of Paris in WWII, so it features in my book. I headed…

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filed under How To Write A Book.

I’ve published 4 books, but I’ve just handed in the structural edit on my 5th, and am up to the final draft on my 6th. This is not a position I ever really imagined I’d be in, back when I was writing book number one. If I had been able to glimpse the future, there are a few things I would have liked to have known—saving the good names being chief amongst them! Here are a few of the lessons learned from writing those books. Save the Good Names There is a finite supply of good names, especially male names!…

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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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