After a fabulously frenzied summer of talks and book signings, I’ve now returned to my desk and have been making slow but steady progress on the first three chapters of my new novel. I always spend an age setting up these early chapters as I’m getting to know the characters and I’m not sure which direction they might take me in. It’s always a fun and rewarding process and the beginning of a new novel is a very exciting time.
I’ve also been catching up on some films. Really enjoyed Twilight, Inkheart and The Duchess, and adored Miss Austen Regrets. One of the wonderful things about being a writer is that you can claim that sitting on the sofa watching films is actually work!
I’ve just returned from a trip to my home town of Norwich where I had a fabulous evening at Jarrold’s, talking and signing. So many of my old school friends from Hethersett High came along to support me and it was amazing to see them all again and catch up on all the gossip. I can’t believe it’s been such a long time since we were all together!
Here I am signing a few books.
I adored all the posters around the store and felt very honoured to share window space with Lauren Child’s Charlie and Lola and Francesca Simon’s Horrid Henry! It really was a very special evening and many thanks to the fabulous Mike Butler who arranged it.
I stayed at a fabulous bed and breakfast whilst in Norwich where everything was vegetarian and environmentally friendly, and I had the best breakfasts ever! And there was time to see the beautiful Norfolk Broads and revisit some places from my childhood. Here’s Buxton Mill – one of the many places we used to cycle to.
Now it’s back to the desk and there’s a whole heap of work to get stuck into which I’m actually looking forward to it. It’ll be nice to see my characters again and find out what they’ve been up to!
Last week, whilst chicken-sitting in Kent, I gave a talk and did a book signing at Waterstone’s in Tunbridge Wells. It was lovely to meet so many aspiring authors there and they all had plenty of interesting questions for me.
And I absolutely loved the yellow gerbera that lined my signing table (the heroine of Molly’s Millions is a florist and this is her calling card!) Thank you, Sarah! A really lovely touch.
The chickens were – once again – a wonderful distraction and I didn’t get quite as much written as I should have. Here’s me with the gorgeous Bubbles.
No rest for me at the moment as I’m off to Norwich for a signing at Jarrolds. Norwich is my home town so this is going to be a very special trip for me.
Saturday brought another day’s promotion – this time at Waterstones in Uxbridge where they had a lovely display of Molly’s Millions. I was delighted to be joined by my two lovely nieces, Lucy and Charlotte. Here they are with me and my mother-in-law.
And today I spent a wonderful afternoon with children’s author, Mary Hoffman. I met her three beautiful cats and we talked about – well – books! Get two authors together and it’s usually the same!
Whilst driving around the beautiful Oxfordshire lanes, I saw this sign which reminded me that I’ll be chicken-sitting again this week!
Last night, I had the very great pleasure of being part of the Summer Fiction Panel with Judy Astley and Jane Wenham-Jones at Notting Hill’s Waterstones. We had a lovely crowd of people: friends, family and “wannabes” who all risked torrential rain to join us and make the evening a success. Thanks to the fabulous Mark Farley who organises the very best author events in London. And thanks to everyone who bought copies of Molly’s Millions. I’m delighted to say that it sold out! We even had to grab the ones from the window display!
This weekend, I had the very great pleasure of attending the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s annual confernce in Penrith. It was brilliant and it was so lovely to see so many of my writer friends with their copies of Molly’s Millions, all of which I was delighted to sign!
A highlight for me was taking part in the ‘Love in the Library’ talk in Penrith where a group of us – including Katie Fforde, Freda Lightfoot and Veronica Henry – told eager readers all our writing secrets. Many thanks to the wonderful staff who arranged the day and gave us a fabulous lunch.
Penrith and the Eden Valley is where I open Molly’s Millions and it was lovely to wander around the town and visit the amazing giant’s grave which my hero Tom and his daughter visit in the book. Here’s a pic of me with some of my very good writer friends.
Back to work now which has also been a pleasure as I’ve discovered beautiful Ardington House and it’s proving a very inspirational place. My new novel is going to be about a group of Jane Austen addicts who attend a specialized weekend at a Georgian country house. Here I am working hard – honestly, I really am! – on the island in the middle of the lake in the beautiful grounds.
And breaking news – I’m part of an exciting new group of writers who are all celebrating their first UK novels. We’re called Let’s Talk About Love so visit our website and find out all about us.
I was sitting at my desk on Thursday, looking up gorgeous Georgian houses for my new novel about a group of Jane Austen addicts when I received an invitation to appear on Radio Five Live! The Richard Bacon show wanted a romantic novelist to talk about pre-nuptial agreements and how they take the romance out of marriage. I’ve never been on live radio before and thought it would be an amazing experience. I was cabbed in to the BBC at White City where I met the lawyer who would be arguing the case for pre-nups on the show, and we were introduced to Richard Bacon and userhered into the studio where enormous headphones were donned.
I’m pleased to say that it all seemed to go well and that I only embarrassed my husband a little by telling the nation about our old-fashioned courtship which included many a love letter!
Whilst at the BBC, I heard that Jonathan Ross was filming his show and I couldn’t resist leaving a copy of Molly’s Millions for him at reception. He has a reading group on Twitter and I’ve heard he likes romantic comedies!
Now, it’s back to the desk. I’ve discovered two amazing Georgian houses in nearby Oxfordshire and will be visiting them tomorrow. Another hard day at the office …
This has been an amazing couple of weeks. I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing my first UK novel, Molly’s Millions, in the bookshops. Here I am in a branch of Smith’s next to Cherie Blair!
I also did a spot of signing with fellow author, Lola Jaye. We ventured into central London on the hottest day of the year and signed as many of our books as we could find. If you can find an unsigned one, it’s worth an absolute fortune!
Here we are at Smith’s in Victoria. Thanks to the lovely Ines who was so sweet and helpful.
I also attended a wonderful garden party at Oxford’s St John’s College with my Great Uncle Peter who was a student there in 1949. The sun shone for us and there were cucumber sandwiches, heaps of cake and strawberries and cream. It was perfect!
Whilst in Oxford, we visited The Eagle and Child (also known as The Bird and Baby) where the ‘Inklings’ used to meet. It was amazing to step into the pub where early readings of The Lord of the Rings and the Narnia stories would have taken place, and my uncle told me he was in Oxford at the same time as Tolkien and CS Lewis!
My first UK paperback, Molly’s Millions, has just been published and, to celebrate, there’s a competition where you can win a signed copy and a Molly-inspired goody-bag.
The book is a fast-paced love chase about a lottery winner who gives it all away and is sure to help you beat those credit crunch blues this summer! It was enormous fun to write and I really hope you enjoy reading it.
Enter the competition here.
Out and about a lot again this month. My hubby was very busy delivering paintings to exhibitions and Molly and I accompanied him to Salisbury and to the Kent and Sussex Art Fair. Check out his beautiful website to see some of his paintings: and his blog can be found: here
Had the most wonderful week in Kent this month – house, dog and chicken-sitting for friends. I was meant to be proof-reading my latest novel but the weather was glorious and I spent rather a lot of time sitting in the garden watching the beautiful bantams. Here are some pics of my gorgeous friends.
And, at long last, my first UK paperback, Molly’s Millions, is available to buy online. I’ve been sent my author copies and they look so pretty with their shiny covers and embossed flowers. I love them! Some good news for the book too – WH Smith Travel will be stocking them in a buy-one-get-one-half-price deal so be sure to grab a copy if you’re off on your summer hols!
I got my author copies of Molly’s Millions this weekend and it looks very cute indeed! A lovely cheery pink cover for the summer, embossed with pretty flowers (my heroine is a florist).
The official publication date is not until 15th June but you can buy it now on line.
Find out more here.
It was the Oxford Literary Festival this month and I got to meet children’s writer and one-time laureate, Michael Morpurgo. His books Private Peaceful and The White Horse of Zennor are amongst my favourite. Whilst in Oxford, I met up with one of my other favourite writers, Julia Golding, and talked about fantasy, festivals and the horrors of getting the right title for your books. I also managed a quick chat with Joanna Kenrick between events.
At Waterstones with Lisa Jewell
Then there was a fabulous fiction panel at Notting Hill’s Waterstones which I attended with Helen Salter. It was great fun and lovely to chat with Carole Matthews, Isabel Wolff and Lisa Jewell who has given me a lovely quote for my novel Molly’s MillionApril also meant a trip to the London Book Fair where I met up with my lovely German agent for lunch. There was also time to meet up with Juliet Archer for a writerly gossip on the steps of Earl’s Court.
Then, a surprise trip to Pembrokeshire where I managed to finish the first draft of my new novel, Connie Gordon’s Clan, and completely killed my right shoulder doing so. Ouch! The coast and countryside glowed with yellow flowers: primroses, celandines, cowslips, dandelions, buttercups and the ever-present gorse.
Flowers on the Pembrokeshire coast