Tuesday, 19 January 2016


Now, don't faint. I know it's been  more than a year since I last blogged, but today I find myself wanting to pick the whole thing up again. Not because I'm going to subject you all to my random wanderings, but because I've decided I'd like to pick apart an aspect of my writing process - my plotboard.

I first used this cork board and a few cut-up index cards while writing my second book (see left). Back then, my plotting process was as sophisticated as "write down twenty things that happen in my book". 

Since then it's gone through various incarnations, but it intrigues me to discover I use it slightly differently with each project, and differently at different stages in the writing process.

Here's my plotboard after second revisions of my previous book The Summer We Danced:

And here it is all clean and new and ready for a new story (book number 25!). I'm hoping that by breaking down my process, I'll be able to understand just how my plotting process works and hopefully someone else out there might find it helpful too. Watch this space!

Monday, 19 January 2015

No Ginger Rogers

Okay, I'm resurrecting my blog for a while. It's been an age since I posted, so there's probably only three people reading, which is fine, because I want to keep a diary of my latest research project. Don't laugh, but I'm learning to tap dance.

Maybe I should be more accurate and say I'm trying to learn to tap dance. Yes. It's that bad.

I had my first lesson last week. Before that time, I hadn't even worn a pair of tap shoes. I had to rush out and buy some last Monday afternoon. The adult tap class that's local to me isn't a beginner's class though. I'll be okay, I thought. Even the head of the dancing school thought I'd be alright because I've done plenty of other kinds of dance (ballet, modern, contemporary). It did give me a slight heads-up. After all, I know what a ball change is, but other than that it was a bit like saying I'd be fine learning Chinese because I know how to order a glass of wine and a ham sandwich in French. That's what tap feels like at the moment - Chinese for my feet.

Having said that, it is great fun and the ladies at the class are lovely. I just think it would be more fun if I could do the steps instead of flailing around at the back with a vague look of panic on my face. My goal is to be able to actually complete a step combination before half term in February. Just one will do. And it doesn't even have to be a difficult one! Wish me luck. ;-)

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Behind the book: Kiss Me Under The Mistletoe

I've blogged before on how I used Agatha Christie's Devon home, Greenway, as inspiration for Whitehaven in Kiss Me Under The Mistletoe. If you're interested in seeing the place that inspired the book, then check out the latest episode of Poirot (Dead Man's Folly) on ITV Player.

The boathouse
Not only have they used Greenway as the setting, but they've also used the boathouse, which features heavily in Louise and Ben's story, and there are glimpses of Dittisham across the river, which I renamed as Lower Hadwell. It's such a beautiful location, I could watch this episode over and over!

Dittisham (Lower Hadwell)
Kiss Me Under The Mistletoe is going to be available again this Christmas in print in both W H Smiths and as a 2-in-1 offer with Sarah Morgan's Sleigh Bells In The Snow in Sainsburys!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Ooh, looky...

I have a neat little blog widget for my latest release The Guy To Be Seen With! If you want a sneak peak of my brand new release for Harlequin KISS, and it's on the sidebar. You can read the first three chapters by clicking the 'browse' button.

Meanwhile, I'm hard at work writing my next single title, so blogging has fallen by the wayside. But I'm sure that everyone would much rather that I got on with the books than waffled on my blog! You can catch me (sporadically) on Twitter or Facebook whenever I surface for air.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Good news and not so good news

Great news! Always the Best Man has been shortlisted for the RNA's RoNA Rose award!

People have been asking my where they can get hold of a copy. But the not so good news is that Always the Best Man hasn't had a full UK release yet.


The US copy, which has a different cover, but is exactly the same inside, is available on Amazon UK and The Book Depository. There's also the Aussie version .

And if you have an ereader that reads ePub files, you can get it from eHarlequin.com!

No kindle release in the UK, as yet. Sorry! But the more people that click "we'd like to see this Kindle" button here the better.

Friday, 7 December 2012

The Next Big Thing - Pam Hartshorne

I also tagged Pam Hartshorne (AKA M&B author Jessica Hart) in my Next Big Thing blog, and today I'm hosting her replies. Help me give a big welcome to Pam as she talks about her amazing timeslip novel, Time's Echo!

What is the title of your book?

Time’s Echo
How did you come by the idea?
I’m fascinated by the links between the past and the present, and have always admired Barbara Erskine’s books.  Time’s Echo falls firmly into that ‘time slip’ category, but I wanted to base my story on my research into the ordinary people of Elizabethan York.
What genre does your book fall under?

Tricky.  It’s part historical novel, part ghost story with a dash of psychological thriller and a seasoning of romance.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters if it were a movie?

Also tricky!  Maybe Cate Blanchett and Harrison Ford (in his prime!)
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Arriving in York to sort out her dead godmother’s affairs, tsunami survivor Grace Trewe finds herself increasingly drawn into the life of Hawise, whose unthinking smile in the market place over four hundred years earlier sets in train a story of obsession that ends in tragedy and a desperate search for a child that even death cannot stop.
Will your book be self-published or traditional?

Time’s Echo
is published by Pan Macmillan in the UK and available as a paperback or an e-book.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

This was the first time slip I’d written, so it took me a long time to get to grips with a dual narrative and a much more complicated plot than I’m used to.  I messed around for over a year, but when I finally settled to writing a proper draft, I’d say it took me about six months.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Barbara Erskine, Susanna Kearsley
Who or What inspired you to write this book?

The ordinary people of Elizabethan York.  I feel like I know them now after so many years spent researching their day-to-day lives.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Time’s Echo
is really two books in one: Hawise’s story in the past and Grace’s in the present.  Hawise has to deal with what we think of as a contemporary issue of stalking and obsession, while Grace struggles to come to terms with her experience of being swept up in the Boxing Day tsunami.  I was interested to learn about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and how something as apparently insignificant as a sound or a smell can trigger a reaction in sufferers that means they feel as if they are re-experiencing a past trauma. I wanted to play with the idea that if you can re-experience a moment in the past in that way, it might be possible to re-experience a more distant past.

This one is already on my To Be Read list! Thanks for dropping by, Pam!