…things people say

20.—Your Grandad lived by the phrase Moderation in all things. His garden contradicted this with its abundance of fruit and vegetables, but any excess found its way to the kitchens of friends and family. Mostly you remember the black grapes hanging like jewels from the ceiling of his greenhouse. They were full of pips andContinue reading “…things people say”

…a life in libraries

18.— From the age of 8 to 12 a mobile library stops outside your house. You remember the smell of dust and rubber and paper, and the ridges of wood that edge the shelves to stop the books from sliding out. You borrow a book about boys marooned in the jungle who survive by buildingContinue reading “…a life in libraries”

…insights on inner listening

9.‘The stress of attaching to the experiences of all our days since birth keeps the attention confused, entranced, bewildered.’ You read this in the small square book you brought home several weeks ago. The beauty and truth of this sentence prompts you to look up, to pause and sit for a while. You’ve always believedContinue reading “…insights on inner listening”

…a brief philosophy of lists

5.You have read Bluets and The Pillow Book. You know a list can make meaning and image and emotion. A list can be light with whimsy or heavy with cost. It can voice a plea, an observation, a question. It can push deep or brush lightly, respectfully. It can be one or all of theseContinue reading “…a brief philosophy of lists”

The Writer’s Retreat with Anna Freeman

The Writer’s Retreat is an irregular feature I started back in October 2013, sending writers off to an imaginary scenario of isolation and standing back to see how bonkers they go when cut off from the outside world. My very first resident was poet and novelist Anna Freeman, and with her debut novel The Fair Fight hittingContinue reading “The Writer’s Retreat with Anna Freeman”

Café Culture for Creatives

I was sitting in a well-known coffee chain this week (the one that sells red velvet cake), drinking an americano and trying to write, but the inevitable happened and I was distracted by the conversations going on around me.  This is an occupational hazard for anyone with a caffeine addiction and fascination for other people’sContinue reading “Café Culture for Creatives”

Small Book, Big Idea.

I was walking past Hunting Raven Books in Frome last weekend, with no intention of stopping to buy anything, when this book caught my eye, sitting up perkily in the window display. A bold title with a strap line interesting enough to drag me into the shop to have a look — 10 ways to shareContinue reading “Small Book, Big Idea.”

Writing with Stanislavski.

This week while planning my new novel and thinking about my main character, I stumbled across the Stanislavski Method.  This is actually a way for actors to inhabit their characters  and give a more authentic performance, but it applies to writing equally as well (not to be confused with ‘The Method slash De Niro’ wayContinue reading “Writing with Stanislavski.”

Google Histories and Survival Strategies

This week I had a whole day — yes, a whole day — to spend on research for the next book.  I did some walking around town, mooning around the garden, lounging on the sofa making notes on my main character, but what took up the bulk of my time was looking up information onContinue reading “Google Histories and Survival Strategies”

Imagining a Brave New World

I am currently at that very exciting but very daunting stage of planning a new novel.  I’m using the word ‘new’ in the loosest sense, because it’s actually going to be based on a novel I wrote about five years ago.  It was rejected by publishers at the time and of course with the benefitContinue reading “Imagining a Brave New World”