Latest News and Blog Posts


It’s good to imagine your characters coming to life in far-away nooks and kindles.

I just saw the Public Lending Right Library loans for Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square last year: 1122 plus 94 for the earlier edition, The Worms of Euston Square. Lending numbers beyond the capabilities of my aunts, voracious readers though they are.

Who says people don’t

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Star and Crescent: think global, write local

Star and Crescent is an invigorating new website, sharing news, culture and commentary site with a Portsmouth focus. They aim to offer timely, daring, investigative writing: an antidote to the conformist and controlled angles dominating the mainstream media, online and off. I’m proud to have this piece included, explaining how I explore local inspiration through the medium of cake.

The Creme of

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Risk Wise

Risk Wise, Polly Morland

“This is altogether a delightful book. A dose of measured sanity in an often dotty world. It should be required reading for the next education secretary, and I shall give it to all the parents in my family.” Sally Vickers, The Observer

This glowing review of Polly Morland’s latest book, Risk Wise,

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Fairytale Collaborations

In praise of collaboration

Portsmouth Fairy Tales (for Grown Ups) has been a collaboration of continual pleasures.

When people ask me what I’ve been working on recently, I can tell of our two celebratory launch parties, fabulous tales told with relish to the right audience in the right venues, with all the talents of photography,

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Getting the Picture

You never get too old to cry over love.

‘The best novels seduce the reader, so allow the wonderful chorus of voices in Sarah Salway’s Getting The Picture to do just that. Let them whisper secrets, plans and mysteries; of the past, of the present. Let their possible futures come into focus for a celebratory final picture. This novel

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Interviewing your own characters

David Mitchell interviewed most entertaingly by @GuardianBooks podcast.

I’ve loved David Mitchell’s books (apart from one I couldn’t finish), but wasn’t expecting him to be so entertaining on all sujects from:

– his unlikely friendship with Kate Bush
– interviewing his own characters in the shower to see if they’re fit for the next job (this, I think, may

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Breaking news: Bic pen out of ink (the haiku)

Bic pen out of ink:
Neither lent, nor lost, nor leaked.
Improbable haiku.



Mists and Rains (Les Fleurs du Mal)


A number of you have been asking me about the new novel, Lawless and the Flowers of Sin, which signally didn’t come out on 1 August 2014, despite Amazon’s vaunting and indeed one bookseller offering it for £45.16 (a phenomenological bargain, seeing as it doesn’t yet exist). That disappointment was due to the untimely demise of Angry Robot’s

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“And your specialist subject?”

“And your specialist subject?”

My friend Dallas, on Celebrity Mastermind. Thrilling. Grilling. *proud*

I salute his chutzpah. Mastermind facts I’ve gleaned from Dallas:

– theme tune is called Approaching Menace by Neil Richardson: genius

– format devised to resemble Gestapo interrogations

– no interrupting as questions timed to be roughly equal length, thus making 12 pretty much a

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Unfriend [Wednesday Word] – older than you think

Unfriend: “I Hope, Sir, that we are not mutually Un-friended by this Difference which hath happened betwixt us.” OED citation, 1659.

Compare The Mysteries of Udolpho, by Ann Radcliffe, 1794: “But I believed, niece, you had a greater sense of propriety than to have received the visits of any young man in your present unfriended situation.”

As I write a piece on

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