Category: Writing journey

  • It’s all about family

    It’s all about family

    A Handkerchief for Maria – a family saga In this engaging family saga, Maria sits by the bed of her comatose daughter, Alice, in 1945.When the doctor tells Maria the young woman has only a short time to live, she begins to tell Alice family stories, some true, some not, to make sense of the…

  • Donkeys in the Desert

    Donkeys in the Desert

    In 1858 my great-great-grandfather, a soldier in the 91st Regiment of Foot, embarked on what must have been one of the strangest events of his life. Alongside the rest of his comrades, bound for India, he was transported across seventeen miles of desert between Alexandria and Suez in a column of around 1,000 donkeys, in…

  • The Road to a Novel

    The Road to a Novel

    The paths to writing a novel are many, this was mine to my first one.

  • Planning a new novel

    Planning a new novel

    Many authors spend time planning their novels to some degree, many don’t plan at all. It’s whatever floats your boat. I’m a planner. When I was half-way through A Patient Man, the third in the Inspector James Given series, I decided I’d kill him off. I’d had enough of him and wanted to move on…

  • Editing – Now the real work begins

    Editing – Now the real work begins

    Writing a novel is one thing. Editing it to be fit to be published is quite another. A workshop I attended with the excellent Brian Langan of Storyline Editing compared the various stages of redrafting to making a bed. The first draft looks like the covers have just been thrown over, some trailing on the…

  • Number Three

    Number Three

    Finally. The writing of James Given number three has started. I’ve been plotting for a few weeks, and planning to start for much longer, but the actual words on the page have eluded me. True, there have been a few changes in my life over the past few months (selling the house, moving country, etc,…

  • It wasn’t that bad after all

    It wasn’t that bad after all

    A month ago I was mired in writer’s block, or to put it another way, feeling so despondent about my current novel that my mind went blank every time I opened Scrivener. I’d been like that for months. At first I thought it was the usual ‘half-way-through blues’, my demons telling me it wasn’t good…

  • Another time, another place – The importance of research on the ground

    Another time, another place – The importance of research on the ground

    Last weekend I took a trip to County Wicklow, partly to carry out some family history research, and partly to check locations for my current novel. I’ve already written around two-thirds of the first draft, imagining the street scenes and roadways, backed up by miles and miles travelled on Google StreetView. On the ground, however,…

  • Great review

    Great review

    Great review of A Shadowed Livery today at – so nice to hear.

  • What’s the secret?

    What’s the secret?

    As a writer I struggle, like many others, with maintaining momentum. In fact, for weeks, I’ve written very little except when I’ve been in coffee shops, as I mentioned in my previous post. There are, of course, the usual distractions – Facebook, emails, cutting the lawn, etc – but there’s also something which, for me,…