Sunday, 27 November 2016


The queen sat back in her chair and pushed her spectacles onto the top of her head so that they seemed to be a rather unusual addition to the small tiara she wore for everyday.

“There!” she said to the king indicating the papers that lay strewn across the entirety of the banqueting table in front of her. “I’m pretty sure I’ve thought of everything. This is going to be the finest christening in history.”

Friday, 25 November 2016

Now for the hard work...

This week, after putting the finishing touches to Gingerbread & Cupcake (out December 1st!), I’ve returned to work on something that’s been set aside for several months.

It’s an idea that I’ve been playing around with for years. In fact, it’s been with me longer than almost any other project. The first notes I made for this book were written in 1995. Ironic actually, since it’s about the education of a witch and I would have been writing those notes right around the time that You-Know-Who was working on You-Know-What.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Too many ideas...

Many writers keep a handy notebook for jotting down random ideas that spring to mind or observations they make as they go about their lives have some resonance for them. When I decided that I was going to throw myself into fiction writing, I spent a year or so with such a notebook in my bag. But it stayed in my bag for the most part. I looked around, I listened to people’s conversations, I noticed the quirky, the fascinating, the poignant. But I didn’t feel drawn to record any of it.

I don’t write down ideas for new stories as they occur to me either. I have done this occasionally, but these half-formed ideas mock me with their incompleteness. What’s the point of this three sentence outline of a setting without a plot or characters? Why did I bother to record that I wanted to write something futuristic about refugees? The trouble is, I have so many ideas popping into my head and writing them down gives them a substance they don’t yet deserve. Those ideas, they’re the ones people tell you about when you tell them you’re a writer. “I’ve got this really good idea for a book,” they start and they know and you know that the idea is not enough.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Writer seeks plan

I am a person who needs a plan. The idea that you can sit down and write something worthwhile off the top of your head is something I find very hard to understand. Not that I need a completely rigid plan, you understand, just a direction.

So, for example, these past two months, I have been writing tiny pieces of fairy tale each day. If you want to know any more about this you can look back at earlier blogs. The good thing about this is that I have a place to start writing each day but I don’t have to spend time on planning because it’s not part of a plot. What I’ve done each day is, when I’ve woken but not yet got up, I’ve let my mind wander around in the canon of fairy tales until something snagged and then I’ve teased that until I could see a thread, then set it to one side until I was here, with the keyboard under my fingers. 
Occasionally over the two months if I’ve been lying awake, I’ve delved a bit further into my next day’s fairy tale – much better than letting my brain dwell on those dastardly circular middle-of-the-night thoughts. Then, of course, I’ve got hope I remember it all the next morning.