General Ramblings, Writing tricks

5 ways to clear your path to publication

Recently I wrote a piece for an online writer’s group about how I finally achieved a publishing contract for my novel, The Night Village (out in August). It is easy to see the path to publication in retrospect, and to polish over the missteps and times when it was barely visible, or so cluttered with… Continue reading 5 ways to clear your path to publication

Book Reviews

The History of Mischief by Rebecca Higgie

The word ‘mischief’ has always summoned up for me an unpleasant memory of being in the stuffy, bureaucratic waiting room of the local teacher’s union with my little sister as my mother went to another room for a meeting. Looking back, I can imagine her reservations about leaving us alone in the waiting room, and… Continue reading The History of Mischief by Rebecca Higgie

Book Reviews

Red Comet – The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark

Sylvia Plath lived her short life at break-neck, ravenous speed – she was a star student who went from Smith College to a nervous breakdown to Cambridge University as a Fulbright Scholar, where she met her future husband, the poet Ted Hughes, then back to the USA and then to Devon and London where she… Continue reading Red Comet – The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark

Writing tricks

What’s the cost of writing a novel?

Have you heard of This Jungian Life? It’s a brilliant podcast made by three Jungian psychotherapists, covering archetypes and dreams and creativity and life’s big and small questions. Last week’s episode was on goals, and one point that stood out for me was the cost of achieving your goals. Everything has a cost. Losing weight,… Continue reading What’s the cost of writing a novel?

Book News

My debut novel ‘The Night Village’ is to be published by Fremantle Press in 2021

My debut novel, The Night Village, will be published by Fremantle Press in Australia in 2021, with audiobook & large print versions by Ulverscroft. Here's the blurb: Simone has just delivered her first baby in an East London hospital with her new English boyfriend, Paul, by her side. With a precarious job, her family and… Continue reading My debut novel ‘The Night Village’ is to be published by Fremantle Press in 2021

Writing tricks

Australia Council grants for the unseasoned professional

It came as quite a shock to me that there are writers who dedicate a set amount of time every single week to writing applications for grants, residencies and funding. And I can see why – who doesn't want time and space and money to write? – so I was really happy to find out… Continue reading Australia Council grants for the unseasoned professional

Writing tricks

Writing workshop: using place names in your writing

When writing prose, it's easy to get stuck on the mechanics of the story – who is speaking? Was the baby asleep in the last scene? Could it really be dusk already? .... and the writing itself can sometimes feel secondary, just a means of getting your characters from A to B. So turning up… Continue reading Writing workshop: using place names in your writing

Writing tricks

Why leaving a place is good for your writing

‘My dad says that being a Londoner has nothing to do with where you’re born. He says that there are people who get off a jumbo jet at Heathrow, go through Immigration waving any kind of passport, hop on the tube and by the time the train’s pulled into Piccadilly Circus they’ve become a Londoner.’… Continue reading Why leaving a place is good for your writing

Book News

The One Thing

The One Thing is a New York Times bestselling self-help book, written by Gary Keller. It came out in 2013 and the central idea – that you find and prioritise the One Thing you’re good at – is worth thinking about in 2020, when it’s so easy to despair at so much loss, yet crucial… Continue reading The One Thing

Published work

Your teenage reading will haunt you forever

Writers are always told to read as widely as they can. As a teenager, I devoured books, but thinking back to my endless free time and zippy neurons, I sometimes wish I’d drawn a line. At Flowers in the Attic, perhaps. Anyone who has conversed with a four-year-old will know that a child’s brain is like… Continue reading Your teenage reading will haunt you forever

Published work

Two of my short stories find a home

Some good news from a while ago – two of my short stories, The Ibis Bedroom Tree and More River, were shortlisted for the 2020 Newcastle Short Story Award 2020, and are now published in their annual anthology. I recorded an excerpt from one of my stories, The Ibis Bedroom Tree, and you can listen… Continue reading Two of my short stories find a home