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 How To Write A Book, Writing Historical Fiction.

Because I’ve been blathering on so much about my recent research trip, I’ve had quite a few people get in touch to ask how to go about their own research: where to start when researching a novel just seems so overwhelming. Here are my tips. Daily Life in Another Era – Newspapers, Catalogues and Magazines For those researching a historical novel, one of the big concerns is getting the detail of the era right. What underwear did people wear in the 1910s, how much did the average person earn in the 1920s, when were doorbells invented, what did people eat…

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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 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 one question I’ve been asked by readers at every event over the last two months has been about my writing routine. I know I’ve blogged about it before, but probably not for a couple of years, and I’ve just realised I have lots of new readers who haven’t read my previous posts on the subject. So, given the number of questions I’ve been asked about it lately, I’m going to shed some light on my writing routine. The 4 Parts of My Day My day basically falls into 4 parts. Part 1: 6am-8am, which is before the kids go…

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filed under Her Mother's Secret, How To Write A Book.

Last year I wrote a post about deleted scenes in A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald. I got so much feedback about it that I’ve decided to write a post about the deleted scenes in Her Mother’s Secret. Apparently writers don’t often share their deleted scenes but I think it’s really important to understand that nobody begins with the perfect novel; a first draft is an exploration of what the story is and, to truly explore, you have to be prepared to try some things that don’t work. Which is why I’ve decided to open up my Trash in Scrivener and pull…

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filed under Her Mother's Secret, How To Write A Book.

Last week, in Part 3 of my blog series about Her Mother’s Secret , I talked about the process of actually writing the book. I finished at the point at which I was about to send it to my editor, thinking it was amazing and wouldn’t need much work in the way of structural editing. Ha! I was very deluded. 19 Pages of Notes I received back from my publisher 19 pages of single-spaced notes for the structural edit. 19 pages! Can I tell you how daunting it is, when you think your book is fabulous, to receive an email…

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filed under Her Mother's Secret.

I can’t believe it but it’s only 2 weeks until Her Mother’s Secret will be in stores! So I thought it might be a good time to start sharing something more about the book. Over the next 4 weeks, I’ll be running a series of posts which take you behind the book covers, and tell you a little about where the idea for Her Mother’s Secret came from, the research process, the writing process and much more. This week is all about the inspiration behind the book. For me, it’s never one thing that inspires a book. It’s always a few things,…

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

I’ve talked before about the fact that I don’t really love writing the first draft of a novel. I prefer the redrafting process because then I know what the story is and I’m not struggling every day to work that out. But I don’t think I’ve been one hundred percent honest in saying I don’t like first drafts. What I find torturous and terrifying and very hard work is the first 20,000 words, the pre-first draft, which I’ve written about here. Once that’s done, writing the first draft of a novel is actually fun! Recap: The Pre-First Draft Every year from…

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