filed under The Dior Bequest, The French Photographer, The Paris Seamstress.

It’s not just one set of characters and one story that are occupying my mind this year, but three! Right now, I’m proofreading The French Photographer (2019), redrafting The Dior Bequest (2020) and I’m still very much in the throes of publicising The Paris Seamstres; in fact that’s picking up once again with the launch of the book in the US and the UK imminent. So how do I juggle three books? Good question! The French Photographer If you follow me on Facebook, you might have seen me lamenting over my proofread. One day, I reached the point where I’d…

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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…

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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…

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filed under Writing Historical Fiction.

Something strange and alchemical happens when I have an idea for a book and I start writing; it’s as if the universe gets behind me and wants me to keep writing. It puts things in my path that I can’t help but discover, and which never fail to make my books better. It makes magical moments of serendipity happen. I have written about some of this before. Visiting a flower-work atelier in Paris and deciding that the main character in The Paris Seamstress, Estella, would not be an ordinary seamstress but would practice flower-work and then going to the Met…

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filed under The French Photographer.

This week, I’ve been working on the copyedit for The French Photographer. As well as that, there have been quite a few behind-the-scenes things happening with the book, so I thought it might be interesting to talk about the process of getting a book ready for publication. The Back Cover Blurb When you’re browsing in the bookshop, how often do you pick up a book and turn to the back cover and read the blurb? Most of us do this often. Therefore, the blurb has to be captivating and convince the reader that this book is worth their time and their…

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filed under The French Photographer.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that I’m currently working on the copyedit for The French Photographer, which will be out in late March 2019. Quite a few people have asked me for me details about the book, and while I can’t tell you too much right now, here’s a little bit about where and when the story is set, along with some of the pics I took on my research trip to France for the book last year. The French Photographer: Who, Where and When The French Photographer is a dual narrative like The Paris…

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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,…

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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…

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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.…

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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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