Thursday, 4 June 2015


A fairly short post this time. What do you mean, "good"? I'll start with a picture of gorgeous early morning sunlight pouring down onto the sea at Scalby, which is near Scarborough, just because I find it so inspiring. This was at six in the morning, and it was worth getting up early for.

After the doom and gloom of previous posts, I'm sounding a bit more cheerful this time, mainly because I've made good progress with the novel over the last couple of weeks. We had a week's holiday in Scalby, where part of my new novel is set. It was a quiet cottage holiday, lots of eating and drinking, reading, writing and enjoying this gorgeous sea view. (above) I also spent a lot of time walking along the Scarborough seafront (below) and thinking about my novel.

You may remember I've been struggling with structure. I've gone through several stages of planning the structure, refining all the time, but while we were away, I think I finally bashed it into a properly workable shape. I typed out a chapter breakdown in three different colours to denote the different strands, and I've found that helpful. I came back feeling much more positive. Then, three days later I was off again to a writing retreat. I've blogged about these several times before and regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of the writing retreat.

The one I've been on this time (for the fourth time!) is particularly conducive to work because it's just me, in my little room, with my wonderful host bringing me meals and encouragement. And the meals - I'm surprised I haven't put on a stone! This was one day's lunch:

If you think you might benefit from this retreat, which is in the Forest of Dean, you can find details here It works very well for me because if there are lots of other writers around, I'm tempted to spend too much time chatting. But here, I really work! During my five-day stay, I moved the new draft forward from 48k words to 66k. Probably around 3000 words were imported from a previous draft, but even they were edited. I still have a lot of work to do, but it's all looking much healthier. Now I'm home, I'm trying to crack on, and resenting having to do admin, shopping, laundry etc. Ah well.

In other news, the Italian translation of The Secrets We Left Behind will be published soon, and I'm quite happy with the cover.

I can't say I ever saw it as a thriller, but hey, what do I know?

This evening (4th June) I'm off to the Derby Literary Festival with four other local writers. We'll be reading from our work and talking about books, writing and publication and taking questions. do come along if you can – it's £4 but it'll be worth it! Details here: Hallam writers on the road – to publication

I'll leave it there for now, because I need to sort out my reading and talk for tonight. but if you'd like to know more about me and my work, please visit my website, like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter


  1. Great do know things are progressing, after all your struggles. And I can see why the cottage was so wonderful!

    1. thank you, Jo – I'm definitely feeling more optimistic now. Cottage was great - lovely location!