I knew I was in the right place yesterday when I saw the pink heart-shaped balloons! Yes, it was time to talk about all things romantic again with my three lovely friends from the Let’s Talk About Love group. This time, the setting was Castelnau Library in the borough of Richmond and a lovely crowd was there to meet us. It’s so nice to get away from the desk once in a while and talk to people who are as passionate about books as I am. Many thanks to the wonderful library staff who made us feel so welcome and to Adam who looked after the book stall.
And I reached a marvellous milestone in the new novel this week – my first 100 pages! Always a good sign when you can see things moving along at a fair old pace. Only another 250 or so pages to go …
Life as a romantic novelist can sometimes be incredibly busy especially around Valentine’s Day. Yesterday, I was talking about romance on Radio Oxford and then I spent a lovely evening with my Let’s Talk About Love friends at Waterstones in Windsor where we were greeted by an enthusiastic crowd and made very welcome by the staff. There were plates of heart-shaped chocolates courtesy of Hotel Chocolat and a fabulous display of our books including the glorious golden paperback of Loves Me, Loves Me Not in which Janet Gover and I have short stories.
The anthology has been getting lots of wonderful press coverage – it’s Heat magazine’s top read this week with a five-star review, and it’s People’s Friend ‘Book for February’, saying that my story “set in the Egyptian rooms of the British Museum, will restore your faith that romance can blossom in the most unlikely places”.
And there’s been more press with articles in The Worcester News and the Eastern Daily Press about the recent film interest in Molly’s Millions.
I’ve also been singing the praises of my favourite novel again – HE Bates’s The Darling Buds of May. It really is the most gorgeous novel!
I LOVE Valentine’s Day. Well, there aren’t many romantic novelists who don’t. And this one’s going to be really special because I’ll be celebrating it in style with three of my author friends in two fabulous Let’s Talk About Love events. On Friday 12th at 7pm, we’ll be discussing all things romantic at Waterstone’s in Windsor and it promises to be a delicious evening with chocolate treats provided by Hotel Chocolat! Tickets are £3 but that’s redeemable against purchases on the night.
Then between 3 – 4.30pm on Saturday 20th, we’ll be talking at Castelnau Library. So if you’re an avid reader or a budding novelist or simply love an excuse to talk about gorgeous heroes, do come along and say hello. We’d love to see you!
Two more Writer Top Tens this week, from bestselling authors, Deborah Wright and Christina Jones who both have brand new novels out. I can’t wait to read them!
On Sunday, I had the very great pleasure of being the guest speaker at a lunch held by The Arthur Ransome Society to celebrate the great man’s birthday. It was held at the Norfolk Arms in Arundel – a fabulous coaching inn – and there were over forty members all of whom made me very welcome. I gave a talk about ‘Writing Rules’, looking at those which Arthur Ransome sticks to and a few he breaks as well, and then read a passage from Winter Holiday – that magical scene where Dorothea wakes up to the first snow of the year.
The afternoon rushed by but there was just enough time to pop into Kim’s Bookshop – a fabulous place with wall to wall books on three floors! I could happily lose a few hours there.
When the first snow fell on Jane Austen’s birthday on 16th December, I didn’t think it would still be snowing a whole month later! Our recent trip to the Pembrokeshire coast turned into a bit of an expedition as we battled the elements.
Here’s our local beach covered in snow. I’ve never walked on frozen sand before and the icicles on the cliffs were simply stunning.
The Preseli Hills looked especially beautiful in the snow and we headed up their on my birthday and had a little car picnic, watching everyone sledging down the hills. But I’m a bit worried about the inhabitants at the end of this farm track and hope they’ve got plenty of food and are managing to keep warm!
And here’s me wearing as many woolly items as possible (and a pair of sparkly birthday earrings too!) It was a truly memorable trip and I even managed to do some work – clocking up 9,000 words of the new novel.
I can’t believe we’re coming to the end of 2009. It’s been an amazing year. My first UK novel, Molly’s Millions, was published, I had two short stories in anthologies, my third German novel was published and I wrote two more romantic comedies. Not bad for a year!
I’ve also read some amazing books. If you’d like to see my personal favourites, click here.
Wishing you all an amazing 2010!
The 16th December marks the birthday of Jane Austen and we took a trip to her cottage in Chawton which was serving mince pies and drinks in celebration. An extra delight was that we had our first snow and it fell thick and fast, covering the garden and the cottages in the village. It was a scene straight from a Christmas card.
We also had the pleasure of chatting to the Jane Austen museum’s writer in residence, Rebecca Smith. Rebecca is the great, great, great, great, great niece of Jane and it’s lovely to think of a direct descendent writing in the cottage today. Read her lovely blog here.
Chawton House looked especially beautiful and the churchyard at St Nicholas – where Jane’s mother and sister are buried – was silent and snowy.
Then it was on to Winchester where the final chapter of my novel is set. The cathedral was wonderfully quiet and I sat by Jane Austen’s grave in the north aisle, making some notes for my book.
Happy Birthday, Jane! You’re one of the best Christmas presents ever given to the world!
Cause for a bit of celebrating this week as my third magical romance hit the shelves in Germany. This is a story about a naughty eighteenth century ghost who makes life very interesting for my heroine. It was a lot of fun to write. Here’s the gorgeous cover which is one of my favourite ever!
And there are two more wonderful Writer Top Tens for you: this time it’s the boys’ turn to reveal all – Mike Gayle and Matt Dunn. I’m sure anyone would be happy to find either one of them in their Christmas stocking!
Much excitement this week! I was contacted by a US film company about my romantic comedy, Molly’s Millions. My first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in Germany last year and it would be so exciting to see another of my books adapted. We’re keeping all fingers crossed here!
On Wednesday night, we had the pleasure of celebrating the launch of the RNA’s fabulous anthology, Loves Me, Loves Me Not. This wonderful golden tome contains over forty fabulous short stories and is published to celebrate the RNA’s 50th anniversary. Most of the contributors were there and we were all happy to pose in our finery on the amazing staircase at the Cavalry and Guards Club in Piccadilly.
Here I am with the RNA’s marvellous chair and writer extraordinaire, Katie Fforde – both of us wearing celebratory gold.
And chatting to the gorgeous and gracious Joanna Trollope.
I also met the lovely Adele Parks…
and Carole Matthews whose heels were snapped for Janet Gover’s shoe blog!
And here I am posing on that fabulous staircase.
It was such a great evening and I hope we don’t have to wait another 50 years until the next one!
Just home from a week in windswept Wales to find I’ve been nominated for the ‘Lovely Blog Award’ – thanks to fellow writer, Rosemary Gemmell, for the nomination. In the spirit of the award, I’m delighted to pass it on to writer, Debs Carr who has a gorgeous blog full of fun for book lovers.
Also discovered a lovely review of Molly’s Millions at Chick Lit Reviews. Isn’t it super?
Well, Wales may have been gale-torn but we had a fabulous time. We met up with artist Naomi Tydeman and walked our dogs on a stunning beach at sunset.
We also had lunch with thriller writer Scott Mariani at his wonderful rambling home set deep in the Welsh countryside. I love Scott’s Ben Hope series and there’s great excitement as its now been optioned by Amber Entertainment!
I got lots written whilst away and I’m rapidly racing towards the end of my novel about Jane Austen addicts. This has been such a fun book to write and has meant many wonderful research trips. I even managed to sneak a quick visit to the Jane Austen Centre in Bath en route to Wales and had an absolute ball in the gift shop!