Do you care who an author is? 

There has been a fierce debate about  whether authors should be as well known as their work after an American journalist claimed to have discovered the true identity of the author using the penname Elena Ferrante. 

The author has always guarded their real name and has spoken about wanting the books to speak for themselves. I don’t agree with the article that claims to unmask her. If she wants to remain private, this should be respected. 

Why is there a need to know the author behind the books?

Nowadays authors are expected to be public. Authors are key to the promotion of their books we are told. We should have Twitter accounts and be open to book signings, readings, attending festivals etc. Because it’s so difficult in a crowded market for a book to stand out, authors are encouraged to shout about it themselves. But does knowing an author’s face, background and favourite books make you enjoy their novels even more?

I think books do speak for themselves. Obviously as a writer myself, I am interested in hearing other writers talk about their craft but knowing more about them wouldn’t make me enjoy their book more or less. It can be a bonus sure to converse with a writer you love, and fun to get your book signed by them, but still it’s their book that brought you to them in the first place.

And you can be successful without self-promotion. Look at Elena Ferrante or Suzanne Collins whose Hunger Games series is huge but I know almost nothing about her and she has no social media presence. 

Is it a myth that a more accessible author can make a book more successful? 

I think it comes back to the book itself and whether it connects with readers. Awareness of a book is key, adverts can make it more visible but I don’t think interviews or appearances by an author can make a huge difference. I think if an author enjoys doing them, that’s great, and I personally have loved meeting readers but if you don’t want to do that then you should be allowed to remain private.

We all want readers to connect to our books. Whether you use your real name or a penname, that should be all that matters.

Do you think she should have been unmasked? Should authors be public figures?




A Writer’s Life 

Possibly one of the most famous quotes on writing and fairly typical. Whenever I search for quotes on writing it seems that we are supposed to find writing painful, torturous and impossible. We are meant to consume copious amounts of coffee and alcohol. We are meant to shut out the world and sit in darkened rooms writing all night. 

But how do we actually do this when we have jobs and families to juggle alongside our writing. I think the question I’ve been asked the most about writing is: How do you balance the rest of your life with it? How do you fit writing in? How can you have a good work / life balance when you’re a writer? 

I do think our worries come from all the quotes we’re fed about writing. We’re told we must suffer for our art. Writing tips consist of ‘you must write everyday to consider yourself a writer’ but is this actually possible with you have a day job / a family to look after / both these things?

I would love to write full time but at the moment that’s impossible so like most writers I try to fit in writing when I can. I haven’t been feeling well lately and I’ve felt stressed and had difficulty sleeping. I’ve told myself off for not wanting to write, for not being focused enough on it, for having days off from writing anything.

But the thing is – we do need to look after ourselves. Sitting in a dark room writing all night with coffee and alcohol isn’t good for us. I think we should be trying to achieve that work / life balance and not tell ourselves if it isn’t hurting us, if it’s not a constant struggle, then it isn’t ‘real’ writing. 

I want to love writing. Sometimes I want to write all day everyday and sometimes I need to have a break. And I think that’s okay. I think we all need that sometimes. 

Why can’t we give ourselves permission to enjoy being writers alongside everything else we have going on in our lives? 

What do you think? 




My Favourite Book

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is my all-time favourite book. I have lost count how many times I’ve re-read it and watched the BBC adaptation! I love it so much I just can’t help but buy new editions of it when I spot them.

I just saw this new edition from Macmillan, and nabbed it. I love the gold edges to the paper and its miniature size:

It joins my large and rather fancy White’s edition:
 And then my Penguin paperback for when I actually want to read it and not just admire on the shelf:

I picked up this one this year from Waterstones and it’s a lovely black leather hardback:

This caught my eye and had to be added to the collection! There are some lovely pictures to colour alongside quotes from the book:

I love how there are so many ways to package one book! I think I’ll always be drawn to new editions of this book and it will need a whole shelf to itself soon. 

Do you buy new editions of your favourite book? Is there another edition of Pride and Prejuduce I should have?




Meeting Readers Is My New Favourite Thing

This week, I took part in my first ever author event! I joined authors Sheila O’Flanagan and Jo Thomas at Foyles in Birmingham. Here we are waiting to go on …


We started the evening with each of us saying a few words about our books and then we did a short reading. It was my first experience of standing up in front of readers and talking about The Second Love Of My Life. I was quite nervous but the room was full of friendly faces and I actually enjoyed doing my first live reading from the book reading some of chapter one.

After we all spoke, there was time for the people who came to ask us questions and then we were able to have a chat and mingle with everyone. It was so wonderful to meet some readers who had read and loved my book and ones that were excited to read it. 

As you all know, I get very excited about books myself so I loved meeting fellow book fans and getting to chat with them. Plus there was wine and cheese, which is always a bonus. 


It definitely was a night where I felt like a “proper” author, and because most of the time I feel like a massive fraud, it was such good fun. I also got to stay over in Birmingham with my fellow authors and publicist and I’m hoping I will get to do more events like this in the future! 

Thanks so much to Foyles for having us and everyone who came along too. Book people really are the best. 




Summer Sale

I just wanted to share with you all The Second Love Of My Life eBook price has been slashed to a bargainous 99p hurrah!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/21KBvJp

iBooks: https://itun.es/gb/j_Ex7.l

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-second-love-of-my-life?sp_AC=1

I would love to hit 100 reviews on Amazon, and am planning a giveaway to celebrate when we do, so if you have read the book and get a chance to pop one up there, that would be fab! 

And if you haven’t read it yet, it’s just 99p so do itttttt! 💕




Books read January – June 2016

Last year I listed all the books I read each month and picked my favourite but this year I’ve failed miserably to keep track on here what I’ve read! So, instead I’m going to look back at the books I’ve read in the first half of the year and will do the same in December so I’ll still have a list of my favourite twelve books by the end of the year.

Here are the books I’ve read from January to June …


 And here are the six that stood out to me the most: 

I loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic last year so thought it was about time I read this one! I really enjoyed it, her style is accessible and the story is inspiring and she is definitely one of my favourite non-fiction writers.

This is a short and unusual novel told from Lucy’s point of view as she ends up in hospital and attempts to heal her relationship with her mother. It drew me in and I think it’s one I’d revisit as there’s so much to think about.

This is a gorgeous hardback and an absorbing Victorian novel that is rich in detail and brilliantly written. 

I really loved The Muse – set across two timelines London in the 1960’s and Spain during The Civil War it follows two women and is really compelling with wonderfully drawn characters and lots of twists and turns.

I have been meaning to read this for a long time – it’s a modern classic about three women in the works of celebrity. It’s almost like reading a long gossip column, a delicious guilty pleasure. 

I had to pick a YA book as well. I love Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series and this first book on her new series is an interesting mix of Elizabethian and frontier worlds and as the author wheats does, the world is flipped on its head by the leading lady. Lots of fun.

What books have you loved so far this year? Hit us with your recommendations in the comments!!




“The End”

I finished writing my new book this week. I took a photo of the words “the end” to celebrate this fact but, of course, this was a complete lie. 

Until a book appears on the shelves, there will be constant editing, tweaking and proof-reading to try to make it the best it can be. But finishing the story in full for the first time is cause to celebrate. You have a beginning, middle and an end! Yes, it needs work but the story is there. As they say – you can’t edit a blank page.

It took me five weeks to write this book. I feel exhausted now to be honest! I was addicted to writing it, it poured out quickly, and I felt that buzz of excitement that I felt writing my debut novel The Second Love Of My Life (just 99p now on Amazon UK!! http://amzn.to/1QTaUzv)

Reaching “The End” is a massive achievement and I think as writers we should always mark and celebrate it. Getting a book published will always be hard work and we will always struggle with self doubt so giving ourselves a moment to stand back and say “hey, I wrote a book” is important. Especially because we become so goal-motivated in this business – “when I get an agent”, “when I get a book deal”, “when I have a bestseller” etc. It shouldn’t always be about the BIG goals but rewarding ourselves for the smaller ones too. After all, we can’t ever have that bestseller if we don’t keep on writing our stories.

I am definitely guilty of focusing on the big goals and beating myself up if I don’t get there or worrying I never will so I’m really pleased I posted about finishing this book. It will always be something special to have written a book no matter how many we have written in the past and I hope none of us ever forget that! 

Do you celebrate when you reach “The End”?