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 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 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 Author Interviews.

It’s time to chat to another author about their writing space, and to see where their stories are made. This month, please say hello to Jodi Perry, author of Nineteen Letters, a beautiful love story that I inhaled in just a couple of days. As an added bonus, you can also win a copy of Jodi’s book; I’ll let you know how at the end of the post. For now, over to Jodi! 1. My stories are made … All my stories are usually written at home at my kitchen table, but when we are up the coast at our…

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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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filed under The French Photographer, Writing Historical Fiction.

I’m off to Europe in late September for another historical fiction research trip so I thought it might be fun to share what I’ll be getting up to. And it’s a nice excuse to talk about the fabulous trip I have planned! I’m finishing up the last bits of research for The French Photographer (2019 book) and starting the research for the germ of an idea I have for a 2020 book. Paris I’m starting in Paris, where I’ll be staying at the Hotel Scribe. This hotel was used by the US Army as their press headquarters in WWII and…

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filed under The French Photographer, Using Scrivener.

I recently posted a video on Facebook and a picture on Instagram showing the redraft I’m currently working on of my 2019 book, The French Photographer (working title). The video and pictures showed my Scrivener manuscript and it prompted a lot of questions from people about why I like using Scrivener to write a novel. I have blogged about using Scrivener to write a novel before, here and here, but that was a while ago. So I thought it was time to write an updated post, focusing on why Scrivener makes my redrafting process so much easier. First, the Binder…

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