Reasons to be Cheerful (Part1)

I feel the need to find, Worzel Gummidge like, my Pollyanna head and list some reasons to be cheerful. 1. As an author you can lie in bed with your eyes shut claiming (sometimes legitimately) that you are not dozing but plotting… 2. Cafe Coffee and croissants post JK Rowling are a morally justifiable, if not a […]

Getting to the point

So where do you get your ideas from? I know we all dread the question and, even though I know I’m going to be asked it, I still haven’t come up with a sensible answer. Philip Pullman (note name dropping ) told me and two hundred other people that he bought them at ‘Ideas R Us.’ I want […]

Flaming Stories

I love this and it seems to me that it exposes the essential fearfulness of some of us writers. Don’t get me wrong I am right up there with the biggest cowards. It is my fear that fuels my fiction: fear of the dark and the weird things in it, fear of sharp objects, fire and flood, […]

Sailing through and Ploughing On

There are several things I like about lecturing : I earn a little extra cash ( and I mean a little), I get away from my desk, my dog and my laundry basket and it makes me think. Last week a student confessed to being a farmer not a sailor. I must have looked particularly blank as […]

In Memory

Today would have been my father’s birthday – a once forgettable date, lost between Christmas and New Year which led to rather a meagre birthday present haul. I never forget it now. He died twenty years ago, a few months before his 58th birthday and I still miss him desperately. He was a painter who gave up […]

Living Narrative

Do you live in narrative? Are you someone who always has a little voice in her head interpreting, describing, novelising your daily life? If you have such a voice are you a) mad? b) possessed? or c) a novelist. I now think the most usual answer is c) but as a child I did worry that it […]

Write up and write downs

I wouldn’t say being a writer is an emotional roller coaster because 1) it’s a cliche and 2) neither flying pigs, wild horses nor any other improbable kind of animal incentive would get me to ride on one. I don’t like what roller coasters do to my guts and my inner ear, but I do like being […]

Five ways to do it

There are many ways of writing a novel . A brief poll established that of writers I know the top five locations for novel writing are 1. in an office or shed, (everybody’s doing it ) The great thing being that simply going there convinces everyone that you are working even though you might just be internet […]


I like myths: I depend on them. They are the source of much of what I write and the foundation of my writing. My personal myth is as necessary to me as the air that I breathe or the coffee that launches my writing day. My personal myth is that writing is easy, fun and unimportant. ‘You […]