Writing Process

Gemini Soul

June 24, 2011

One thing writing gives me – and perhaps what I love about it most – is a sense of spaciousness.  In a story, there are no limitations; I’m free to zoom across time and place, in and out of characters’ heads.  But there’s more to it than that.  For me, the writing process permits a […]

Read the full article →

The Long Path to a Novel

May 4, 2011

This is how it starts.  You have an idea, something you feel an itch to write about.  It’s rooted in the past, in real people who really existed but when you think about it, the project is decidedly novel shaped.  You do some research, visit some museums and galleries.  Your interest grows further.  One day, […]

Read the full article →

Dreaming stories into being

April 6, 2011

I’ve always been prone to dreaming.  I’m the kind of person who wanders down the street staring into windows, fantasising about the lives of the inhabitants.  During a spell as a hotel chambermaid I used to wonder about the person whose room I was cleaning, inventing for them a career path or relationship struggles.  It […]

Read the full article →

Editing: where the dialogue begins

March 16, 2011

Yesterday I sent off the finished proof of Sisterwives.  I really loved this bit of the process: homing in on the detail, checking words for spelling accuracy (bodhrán, for example), rewording sentences or paragraphs that needed refining.  Prompted by my editor, I added a couple of last minute extra scenes, too.  I’d been avoiding them, […]

Read the full article →

Holding the breath and fisty feet

February 20, 2011

When I write, I hold my breath. What’s disconcerting is that I noticed this for the first time just the other day (cue the jokes: ‘you wrote a whole novel without breathing?  How are you still alive?’).  It prompted a number of fun conversations on Twitter about other strange writerly habits.  Chrissie Manby used to hold her […]

Read the full article →

How many people does it take to publish a novel?

February 9, 2011

After years of being closeted away in my writing space (or, I’ll admit it, sometimes writing on the laptop in bed), it’s wonderful to be featured as a ‘news story’ on the website of The Literary Consultancy, announcing the forthcoming publication of Sisterwives. Reading TLC’s press release brought it home that though the graft of writing […]

Read the full article →

Being imaginative with the truth

January 20, 2011

Isn’t it the job of a writer, partly, to lie? I’m particularly drawn to writing about things with a basis in the real, whether they’re true-life stories, or situations or places.  Maybe it’s because they provide a framework on which to hang a story; or maybe because I can visualise them clearly the storytelling can […]

Read the full article →

In the Beginning…

January 20, 2011

Every story has its genesis. Sisterwives began when I was listening to a radio interview with an escapee wife from a Mormon compound in Utah. She’d been practically imprisoned by fundamentalist faith, a repressive system and a dictatorial husband. And yet: there was something about the way she spoke of community and female friendship which […]

Read the full article →


January 31, 2010

For a long time I promised myself that, some day, I’d bake my own bread.  It made so much sense: it would be tastier, healthier, there’d be no packaging.  The issue was finding the time.  Then, through a friend, I discovered an adapted recipe for the Grant loaf.  It took me a while to get round to trying, but […]

Read the full article →


November 14, 2009

A friend of mine has a finely tuned sense of intuition.  It shapes the way she lives.  Whether it’s the solution to a maths problem, the conclusion of an essay, a decision or a process to be implemented, my friend has a glimmer, an inspired glimpse of how things should be.  She works out the […]

Read the full article →