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!
I’ve just discovered a lovely little showreel for actress, Maren Scheel. It features clips from the film adaptation of my book, Flights of Angels which was published in Germany as Unter deinem Stern and filmed as Himmlischer Besuch für Lisa. The angels look so cute! To see it, follow this link and click on Himmlischer Besuch für Lisa.
I have two really brilliant Writer Top Tens this week from the sensational sisters, Louise and Tilly Bagshawe. More exciting author secrets to follow soon…
Also new to the site is my Manuscript Appraisal service. So, if you’re a budding author who would like a helping hand, do take a look.
This was the question being asked last night at Mostly Books in Abingdon where I joined fellow author Kate Harrison. The event was sold out and there were lots of writers in the audience who kept us on our toes with plenty of questions. Thanks to Nicki for organising such a fabulous event and to Gabby from the Abingdon Writers’ Group for chairing the evening. And the verdict? Well, we think vampires are here to stay – for a while, at least, but I don’t think Kate or I will be giving our own heroes fangs!
And I’ve just seen I have a lovely new edition of one of my German novels. This is my romantic comedy set in Venice about a young woman who’s given a magical Venetian mask. I love it!
When four romantic novelists get together, there’s always lots to discuss especially when we’ve been booked to talk about our favourite subject: love! The venue was Waterstone’s in Uxbridge – the first outing for our Let’s Talk About Love group.
Here I am with fellow authors Juliet Archer, Janet Gover and Jean Fullerton. You can find out more about the group at our website. We’re booking lots of other events so watch out – we may be visiting a books shop or library near you soon!
Back to the novel now and I’m half way through – chronologically that is. It’s a nice settling feeling to be in the middle of a new story but I’m equally aware of all the work that is yet to be done.
I really will have to think about moving to Chawton one of these days as I’m there so often. My latest trip was to hear a lecture about Jane Austen’s manuscripts and it was fascinating stuff. Did you know that our beloved author didn’t know how to use apostrophes properly? She would send her hand-written manuscripts to the publisher with all sorts of crossings out and errors and they turned everything into the perfect prose that we know and love today. But I think the highlight of the talk for me was actually being within touching distance of six first-edition copies of her books!
Monday brought a trip to the Isle of Wight to deliver more of hubby’s paintings to Island Fine Arts. We were anxious about the crossing as there was some heavy rain around but it was fairly smooth, thank goodness, and the sun even came out for us in the afternoon and we drove up to Culver Down where Roy painted and Molly and I went walking.
Back at home now and my first website competition has come to a close. Katie Fforde chose the winner out of over three hundred entries and the signed copy of Molly’s Millions and the goody bag are winging their way to Chaitali in Illinois, USA.
If you’d like to know more about Katie Fforde, have a look at the Writer Top Tens page where you can also read all about Carole Matthews too! More top tens coming soon …
This week’s been pretty packed so far and it’s not over yet! Monday brought a trip delivering my husband’s paintings to the Hampshire Art Fair and, as I found myself in Jane Austen country again, I couldn’t miss visiting her resting place in Winchester Cathedral. It’s the most amazing building and you could easily lose yourself there for hours but I had a very specific job to do – making notes for the final scene of my novel.
It was really moving seeing Jane Austen’s grave and remembering how young she was when she died – just 42. And we visited number 8 College Street – the house in which she spent her last days. Here it is below – the bay window was her bedroom.
Here’s Jane’s grave in the north aisle of the cathedral.
And, in the spirit of my heroine, I lit a candle in her memory.
Wednesday morning brought a telephone interview on BBC Radio Oxford. Click here to listen to the show – it should be up for a few days. Once again, I was asked – as a romantic novelist – for my opinion on pre-nuptial agreements and you can hear exactly what I think at about nineteen minutes into the show!
The rest of the week has been spent on the novel and it’s going at a cracking pace at the moment which is is just as well as the next few days will be spent away from my desk but more about that later …
Writers are generally very nosy people – I mean we’re professionally curious. I love finding out about people and this inspired me to ask some of my good writer friends some probing questions like ‘What’s your favourite dessert?” The result is a new page of Writer Top Tens and the first two writers to submit their answers are the wonderful Kate Harrison and Lisa Jewell.
More Top Tens to come over the following weeks!
On a day stolen from summer, we visited the pretty Hampshire village of Chawton – home of Jane Austen. I’d visited her cottage before but, now that I’m writing my book about Jane Austen addicts, I wanted to see it again. It’s such a lovely place and I adored seeing the pretty topaz crosses worn by Jane and her sister, Cassandra. And the gift shop is an Austen addicts’ dream with books galore and the brooding image of Darcy everywhere!
I’d also booked for a tour of Chawton House Library – the place referred to as the ‘Great House’ in the letters of Jane Austen, and owned by her brother, Edward. There are some fabulous portraits and wooden pannelling, and the library is a delight featuring many rare books by women writers published between 1600 to 1830.
Whilst walking in the grounds, I managed to take a tumble – Marianne Dashwood style – and badly twisted my ankle. But, despite the fact that I was in Austen-land, there were no handsome men on horseback to rescue me and I had to do my best to hobble my way back to where my husband was painting .
If you’d like to see his lovely paintings of Chawton, visit his blog here:
I’m delighted to announce that the trade paperback of Loves Me, Loves Me Not is out now. This collection of romantic short stories is published in celebration of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s 50th anniversary and includes stories by Joanna Trollope, Carole Matthews, Adele Parks, Judy Astley and many more wonderful writers.
And I’m delighted that one of my own stories features in it too. It’s called Mummies and Daddies and is about a children’s writer who gets a second chance at love in the mummy rooms of the British Museum. If you’ve read Molly’s Millions, you’ll realise that the British Museum is a favourite setting of mine!
Click the book cover (just gorgeous, isn’t it?) to buy your copy of the anthology at an amazing price!
I had some lovely news this week – Molly’s Millions is to be published in Turkey. This is really exciting as I used to teach English at a small school in west London for Turkish students. I wonder if they’ll remember their teacher and notice her book in the shops!
It was lovely to see Molly’s Millions in the Jarrold bestseller list. How wonderful to be up there with Maeve Binchy, Stephanie Meyer and John Le Carré!