Tuesday, 8 March 2016


The title is often the first thing the author writes - it goes at the top of the page, just before 'Chapter One'. In my case, however, it's almost the last thing, coming somewhere between 'The End' and 'Aknowledgements'. I am so rubbish at titles, certainly where my own work is concerned, and I think that may be because I'm so focused on what happens in the story that I'm less able to look at it in terms of what's going to make the reader pick the book up.

Anyway, after many lists of suggestions and emails back and forth between myself, my editor, and my agent, we are all pretty much agreed that WHAT SHE LOST is snappy, easy to remember, and alludes to the various losses (not necessarily deaths) experienced by the two central characters, Eleanor and Marjorie. The book is about a mother and daughter and how their relationship is affected by the misunderstandings and miscommunications that occur between them over the years.

The title isn't absolutely, positively confirmed yet – my editor wants to run it by the rest of the team at Simon & Schuster, but I feel fairly confident that they'll all agree. There's now a blurb on all the bookselling sites, too, which is very exciting (although it needs a bit of a tweak).

So, that's where I'm up to with book 3, or, as I now think of it, WHAT SHE LOST.

Book 4 is coming along. I'm at 45,000 words now, and I'm very happy with what I've written (which makes a nice change for me!) However, as expected, I have now hit a bit of a wall. I'm on the last few scenes of the 1960s thread, and now I have to think of a way to come into that story from the present. The original idea I had simply didn't work once I started planning it out properly, so I'll have to think of something else. I have a few ideas, but as fellow authors will know, you can't really tell whether it will work or not until you actually start writing it. I'll keep you posted!

Since my last post, my Writing Life has included co-tutoring an all-day character workshop with fellow Sheffield writer Russell Thomas. We had some lovely comments from all 12 participants on the feedback forms, and Russ and I thoroughly enjoyed it, too. We're running a series of How to Write a Novel workshops, all of which can be taken separately. The next one is on 19 March, and at the time of writing, there are three places remaining. It's only £40 for the whole day – grab a bargain! Details of all the workshops can be found here

If you saw my last blog post, you'll know that a couple of health-related books I wrote a few years ago have recently been reissued in updated form. When Someone You Love Has Dementia and Overcoming Emotional Abuse are probably the ones I'm most proud of among my non-fiction work, and it was particularly lovely this week to receive an email from a reader of Overcoming Emotional Abuse telling me that the book had changed her life and helped her on the way to to recovery and healing following an abusive relationship. It's always lovely to hear from a reader when your book has meant something to them, but it's even more wonderful to know that it's actually helped them!

If you'd like to know more about me and my work, or if you'd like to book on one of our courses, please visit my website. It would also be great if you could like my Facebook page and follow me on


  1. Glad I'm not the only one who struggles with titles!

  2. I too struggle with titles and usually call my works 'Something' or 'Item2' until I finish them...

    1. Yes, mine are always something like 'book 2' or 'new story'. It's such an art!