A Writer Reads

A Writer Reads for August

I only have a couple of books to talk about this month, mainly because I’ve been moving house and haven’t had as much time to read as I would like. But the two I have read have been amazing! The book club of which I am a member comprises a group of women with very different tastes in reading. Some prefer literary novels, some more commercial fiction and it does end up providing opportunities to read a wide variety of novels. This month, the selection was commercial fiction in the form of the wonderful Marian Keyes. I thought I had read all of her books, but this one seems to have passed me by. The second book that I thoroughly enjoyed was by Erin Kelly, who writes so well. This book has done well in the charts recently and has some amazing reviews. These are books that I’ve enjoyed – but

Laura Marshall

An Interview with Laura Marshall

This month I posed a few questions to Laura Marshall author of Friend Request. You may remember that she was featured in my May newsletter? I had just read Friend Request and loved it. It’s about a woman who receives a friend request on Facebook, but the person who it appears to be from has been dead for over twenty years. The intrigue and confusion ramps up throughout the book until you have no idea who to trust. Wonderful stuff! It was interesting to catch up with her again to hear what she relies on in terms of comfort and space and how she finds and sets aside the time to get her words on the page. Laura, what is the first book you remember as a child? The first books I remember really loving were the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House” books. My Mum read them to me first

A Writer Writes

Take time out to reflect on your writing

What a month it has been, and so exciting! I finished the first draft of a new book, and I enjoyed writing it so much it was hard to let it go. I’m now just waiting to get feedback which is bound to be full of heart-sinking moments when I realise that a paragraph that I thought was brilliant isn’t at all, and it needs to be rewritten. It’s all part of the process, though, and I wouldn’t change it. I learned a couple of new lessons with this book – ones that I’ve been subconsciously aware of, but have failed to really take note of in the past. I know that all writers have their own way of doing things so my quirks won’t apply to everybody, but maybe if you’re a writer too, they will give you pause for thought. And that’s the key. Pause for thought. When

Interview with Clare Mackintosh

In conversation with author Clare Mackintosh

This month I’m in conversation with Clare Mackintosh, author of I Let You Go and I See You, who I recently bumped into at The Crime Fair in Denmark and we agreed to have a chat about our publishing journeys. It was great to see you in Denmark, Clare. Was it a good event for you? It was my second time there, and it was really amazing. I’m still fairly new at this with only two books to my name and last time I was there only about two people – my editor and somebody sitting down because they had a bad back – were interested in listening to me speak! Coming back this year after I Let You Go, suddenly I had queues and a massive audience because the book did so well there. It’s a reminder of how much has happened in such a short time. I remember

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Interesting Links

Unpublished letters reveal from Sylvia Plath alleged Ted Hughes beat her two days before she miscarried their second child and that Hughes wanted her dead. The two accusations are among explosive claims in unseen correspondence written in the bitter aftermath of one of literature’s most famous and destructive marriages. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/apr/11/unseen-sylvia-plath-letters-claim-domestic-abuse-by-ted-hughes Lena Dunham on ‘Girls’, gender politics and growing up One of the world’s most famous — and outspoken — millennials talks about Trump’s America and life beyond the show that made her famous https://www.ft.com/content/aeef5ada-1eb6-11e7-b7d3-163f5a7f229c It’s that time of year again – time to plan a much-needed holiday – but why not try a holiday with literary benefits? http://www.cntraveller.com/recommended/itineraries/the-best-learning-holidays/page/writing-holidays

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Featured reader – Tracy Edley

This month’s featured reader is Tracy Edley from Dronfield in North East Derbyshire – thanks so much for submitting your thoughts on The Back Road. I have chosen The Back Road as it is the first book I read of Rachel Abbott’s and it’s still one of my favourites. It was my introduction to the very gorgeous DCI Tom Douglas. He’s such a fabulous character. It really kept me guessing right to the very end with its many twists and turns. I kept thinking I knew where this book was going then suddenly it went off in a totally different direction! Rachel is such a clever writer, and the end is always such a complete shock!

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A Writer Reads

I have read some wonderful books recently, but there are three which stand out for me. The Unseeing – Anna Mazzola I don’t often read historical fiction for no other reason than I usually have so many thrillers to read, but I recently met Anna Mazzola at The Alderney Literary Festival, and couldn’t resist picking up a copy of her book. What I love about this book is the sense of time and place. It’s set in the mid nineteenth century, and somehow the author manages to evoke a sense of how it was to live in London back then – the sights, smells and sounds. And it’s the story of a murder – a particularly gruesome one – so right up my street after all! Click here to learn more. Friend Request – Laura Marshall I was lucky enough to receive a pre-release copy of this book, and it’s everything

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A Writer Writes

In so many ways, being a writer gives me a sense of freedom. I can work when I want to, can write about whatever appeals to me (and, hopefully, my readers) and take a break whenever it suits me. That sounds so perfect, doesn’t it? The reality is a little different. Writing provides the income that I live on, so if I don’t write how do we eat? I don’t get holiday pay or sick pay, and if I’m not at my desk the emails and the wonderful feedback from readers will just stack up. This month, I had two major distractions. I had a cold – which was hardly life-threatening, but as we all know can make anything other than sitting in front of the fire with a hot drink seem too much like hard work – and we were in the process of buying a new home. The

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Dying to Write

Every month I look forward to the replies for my Dying to Write competition! From your feedback, I’m delighted to report that hundreds of you are putting pen to paper or rather fingers to keyboards to take part and I’d just like to say well done to all of you for having a go. The most difficult book starts with the first word so please don’t give up if you have any desire to get going down the publishing road. Every book starts with the first word and this month’s Opening Lines competition has been a real eye opener – there are some wonderfully dark minds out there and plenty of you who should be shut away… but only to finish the book that would flow from your killer opening lines! As always it was difficult to choose an outright winner so I have settled on a winner and a

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May Events

This month I’m on the road again! First stop is Guernsey Literary Festival on May 11th. I’m going to share a few tricks of the self-publishing trade so hope to see a lot of you there. I’m at the Festival hub at 4pm. It’s a great line-up this year which includes Clare Balding, Sebastian Faulks, Clare Mackintosh and Tom Holland to name just a few. Book your tickets here: http://www.guernseyliteraryfestival.com/index.php/festival-2017/rachel-abbot Then I’m off to New Writing North on May 20th to talk about the highs and lows of self-publishing and the truth is that it is almost exclusively highs with occasional bouts of annoyance that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things I need to do. I really hope to get a chance to talk to readers, so come along and say hello. Ticket information can be found here: http://newwritingnorth.com/