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!
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 …