We plunder our own lives

Val McDermid spoke these words when interviewing a fellow author on BBC 4 Front Row recently; ‘That’s what we authors do,’ she said, ‘plunder our own lives.’ And I was thrilled to hear her say this. For that is exactly what I do. Initially I was surprised as her novels are psychological thrillers, always featuring […]

Marketing – the task to be avoided?

Publishers employ whole departments to market their writers’ books – though I hear they are not as proactive as in the ‘olden days’. As an indie author none of this is available; we are on our own to promote our work Marketing is a skill learnt on degree courses. A science of psychology, knowing to […]

Awarding stars

We all know that blissful moment of receiving a good review. Written on Amazon or Goodreads, or in some other publication, it is what writers crave. Or that pleasure might come from someone coming saying; ‘I really enjoyed that last book you wrote’. And even better, though not financially so; ‘I’ve lent it to … […]

Killing off characters

I recently saw a stage version of ‘Goodnight Mr Tom’ by Michelle Magorian with my grandson, aged eight. A favourite novel which I read when it was published in 1981 so I had remembered that some of the story is bleak, including unpleasant revelations for a child his age. However I knew that the problems were […]

What does a tick represent?

The tick of approval? And, of course, that is what the sign represents. ‘I like this; I approve; well done; pat on the back’. Those are the meanings which I used to understand the tick to say. Essays marked with ticks here and there were a boost to whatever writing had been completed. A quick […]

Incident on the Line

Remembering how my novels began their life is always a problem. With Incident on the Line I wrote a paragraph, without knowing where it was going, likening life to a concertina, each event as the pleat of the bellows. Those particular events that are marked in your memory. At the same time I wanted to explore opening […]

I should have written a diary

I recently saw a production of ‘Angels in America‘ at the National Theatre. An excellent play, subject matter, script, performances, which I remembered seeing many years ago. I could visualise the image of the angel, a huge white feathered creature spotlit at, I think, the end of the play. And that was the problem. Was […]

An end to ‘grip-lit’?

How interesting to read that an agent, not wishing to be named, expressed the view at the London book fair last week that; ‘we really need to move on … We want something more positive, something more life affirming.’ I am so relieved that this view has been expressed. I found ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘The […]

The ‘hunger’ to write

I have been intrigued by The Guardian’s series of articles in which well-known writers explore where and when they write. Some have been reassuring – the prevarication, the sidelining, the excuse of what else needs to be done. I particularly enjoyed Sebastian Barry thinking that ‘having something else to do other than writing … creates […]

Should you read a book before seeing the film?

An article in The Guardian recently, ‘Should I read the book first?’, prompted me to respond, more accurately to shout back; ‘Yes!’. However that’s a fruitless way to give my opinion and I didn’t feel that I needed to write a letter. Said article was a discussion about future adaptations to a film format.  But I fear […]