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Preview: Just Keep Writing and Other Thoughts...

Just Keep Writing and Other Thoughts...





Last Build Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2017 03:10:34 +0000

 



All Change - New Website, New Blog

Wed, 09 Jul 2014 09:48:00 +0000

My shiny new website site at lizfenwick.com is live although we are still tweaking it. Please pop by and tell me what you think.

I won't be posting here anymore but here and I will try and be a better blogger again!!!


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A Cornish Stranger…countdown

Tue, 20 May 2014 11:04:00 +0000

So tomorrow is the first launch event for A Cornish Stranger and it's in Helford at Down by the Riverside Cafe (if you are in the area please join me for drinks & nibbles from 17:00-18:30…& the ferry from the north side will run until then!). And it's rather fun to do this in one of the settings in the book!

Of course at all of these events I have to read a snippet of the book…this is the part of releasing a new book that gives me sleepless nights. Being Dyslexic and reading aloud are not easy companions…

So in the past I have practiced in front of the cats…Snowy and Sooty but they are in Dubai and I am in Cornwall. So I practiced in front of my iPhone and recorded it. Then I decided to video one for those who can't make any of the events and 'want to hear the author's voice' *gulp*.

allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/Us6v1rUQFTg?feature=player_embedded' FRAMEBORDER='0' />


Hope it doesn't put you off! What do you think about authors reading their work?
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It's May…the month of yes…two books out

Thu, 08 May 2014 07:25:00 +0000

OK. You haven't seen me in a while because I've been everywhere…well, sort of. Does Perth, Australia - London, Cornwall and Dubai count?


Today is the paperback publication day of A Cornish Affair (this is the small paperback and it includes extra stuff - in this case the history of Pengarrock in ten items).

I've also been preparing for the various events to launch A Cornish Stranger which is out in two weeks! This is always scary time when a new book comes out…I kind of hold my breath and hope that the risks I've taken and story I've told will work. But thanks to the the encouraging words of a few early readers I can breathe again…well partially. Here's an early review if you are curious  Shaz Goodwin's review on Goodreads.

So if you are interested in catching me somewhere soon this is where I'll be!

21st May - 17:00 - 18:30 CORNWALL Down By The Riverside Cafe, Helford (This should be fun. It's actually on of the places in A Cornish Stranger!) Details here.

30th May -15:00 - 17:00 DUBAI Macgrudys on the Beach Road Dubai. This should be a really fun launch as I'll be sharing the venue with another Dubai based author Rachel Hamilton and her debut book The Case of the Exploding Loo (a brilliant middle grade read…my review here. ) Details from info@magrudy.com

31th May 16:00-17:00 DUBAI Book signing at Kinokuniya in The Dubai Mall

5th June 19:00 MANCHESTER Urmston Library with Urmston Bookshop Details here.

12th June 18:30 LONDON Opera & Ice Cream at Waterstones Kensington High Street…please RSVP to me or here as I want make sure there is enough wine and ice-cream!

Just writing that out and I'm exhausted!

PS I'll be in Amsterdam from the 16-19 of June…details to follow
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A Cornish Stranger - Advanced Reader Copies Giveaway

Wed, 26 Mar 2014 07:47:00 +0000

It's just under two months until A Cornish Stranger is released. The final proofread is finished and it's about to wing it's way to the printers….

However hot off the press are the advanced reader copies (aka bound proofs). These are the copies used to send to reviewers… (Note: For those who aren't used to ARCs - these copies have not been proofread = are full of errors!)

Orion have agreed to send out five of these ARCs…but how to choose??? I have decided to try Rafflecopter….

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The competition is open until noon GMT on Monday the 31st…Good luck and please spread the word!
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The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and Connections

Fri, 14 Mar 2014 11:00:00 +0000

You would be forgiven for thinking I had fallen off the edge of the earth…the last post was just before Christmas and it's now almost St Patrick's Day…and well I have sort of fallen off of the edge.
I had a book to finish and edit and a family to remind I hadn't forgotten them either…

So I have delivered A Cornish Stranger and am just waiting to review the final proofs…gulp…I can't believe that my third book will be out at the end of May.

Thankfully I finished the copy edits in time to enjoy the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature last week. It was fabulous but then I expect nothing less than fabulous from it. This year it was a bit like old home week in someways catching up with writers who had come before and connecting with people that I had links to even if they didn't know about them. For example Pru Leith was one of this year's authors…I introduced myself…'Hi Pru, you don't know me but you have slept in my bed and cooked in my kitchen.' It certainly got her attention. The full story is a mutual friend used to rent our house in Cornwall. There were other connections with Sir Tim Rice and Andrew Motion but one I hadn't expected at all…

Sitting in the back of a 4x4 on the way to the desert with Justin Cronin the world became very small indeed…we were the same age, both born in Boston and summered on the Cape. It became smaller still when he mentioned where he had a home on the Cape…the same place my parents had. And the it became even smaller the more we chatted..we knew some of the same people, queued for ice-cream at Four Seas…at a certain point we decided to let the past remain still foggy.
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Liz Fenwick and Justin Cronin with Philip Reeve in the background

So you can imagine the smile that crossed my face upon returning home from the Orion party on Wednesday evening and looking through the brochure that was in the goodie bag to find Justin's book and mine side by side. Had I not met him in the desert I wouldn't have had a clue how two kids from Massachusetts could end up writers and be published by the same publisher and -  diving into the foggy bits, maybe had danced together some place along the way….



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Christmas has come early...

Sun, 22 Dec 2013 08:18:00 +0000

As usual at this time of year I was focusing on the family and the house and on Friday I missed big news for A Cornish Affair

On Friday Novelicious (the fabulous blog about reading and writing) chose A Cornish Affair as one of its books of  the year!!! The link is here. It was a fabulous short list and I am over the moon! I was dancing around the kitchen making spiced Christmas cake (recipe here).

Christmas is almost ready to happen…. the tree is up.
And the Nativity is out…
There's just the dinning room to sort and then the real cooking begins…pheasant, venison, goose, hame, turkey….. (and working on the edits of A Cornish Stranger).

Wishing  you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

PS…just seen that the cover for A Cornish Stranger is up on Amazon here
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It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Sun, 15 Dec 2013 08:41:00 +0000

I'm in London and it's is fabulous for find that Christmas feeling...The windows in Selfridges were fabulousSothebys looked wonderful .Loved this goose.The jewelry wasn't bad but the books looked fab...Love the big cat above CartierBurlington ArchadeThe RitzAnd everywhere I looked Santa was on the loose...[...]



Edits…A Cornish Stranger

Wed, 04 Dec 2013 06:23:00 +0000

Well, I had a lovely month off in November. I worked on a new project during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), A Cornish Affair won the Festival of Romance's Reader Award for Best Romantic Read (still smiling) and I read lots….A Cornish Affair with it's awardNow comes December…A Cornish Stranger time. I haven't looked at the story since I pressed send at the end of October which is a good thing. I needed distance. My edits arrived and any hope I had that I had done better crashed to the floor. As I read through the pages, yes pages, my heart sank lower. Had I learned nothing? And as I wanted to scream NO a quiet little voice at the back of my brain said…she's right you know. My editor is brilliant and she really 'gets' my writing even when I don't. I know that sounds weird but I become lost in the story and can't see 'the whole' and she can, which means she sees the holes…holes big enough to drive a truck through.So I read the edits through and sort of cried…yup big wuss. I felt I had failed. Then I read them through again and tried to sleep…tossed and turned all night. Then woke and spent the day watching rugby and the Dubai 7s and let my mind do it's own thing and did that the next day too. On Sunday morning I had another sneaky read then continued to do other things.Woke Monday and took out my highlighters...And then began to go through the pages of notes and begin to jot down the things my mind had been working out while I enjoyed the rugby (and as you can see by the pics below I enjoyed the rugby!)….The 7s fans are brilliant!DS1 and Liz FenwickWhat i really enjoy about the rugby - shallow I know!And one of things I saw clearly was that I my heroine wasn't developed as she should be because so many of the things my editor pointed out…shouldn't have been queried. I hadn't done my job.So all through Monday I kept rereading the notes realising that there were only really three HUGE problems…so not sooooooo bad after all (still a lot of work ahead on me but somewhat manageable I hope)So Tuesday morning I emailed my editor with some of my thoughts and we bounced ideas back and forth (I love this bit because somehow she makes my brain spark and I get ideas left right and centre. I also love how she never tells me how to do or fix anything…just just tells when things don't work.) After those emails I made more notes and only then did I print off the first chapter and begin to revise/editAnd so it goes….each  morning I read read all the notes, especially the first pages which highlight the big issue that I need to keep at the forefront of my brain as I work through the problems big and small. And it gives me a huge thrilled to but a tick next to the items I've dealt with….And I have to say I am so grateful that I have an editor who puts this much thought and work into my books. So many people have asked me about the editorial process and does it change my books? Well, yes and  it's still my book but I hope and pray and much better book. PS…Tere a few days left to enter a Goodreads Giveaway for A Cornish Affair (even if you already have the book it might make a good Christmas present! Goodreads Giveaway[...]



A Cornish Affair Won!

Mon, 11 Nov 2013 10:54:00 +0000

A few days later and I am still in a state of delighted shock… A Cornish Affair won the Festival of Romance's Readers' Award for Best Romantic Read! The short list was superb and I still become teary when I think about it. This book took a long time in coming to publication. Those who follow the blog know that it began life as August Rock back in 2005.Since then if has been rewritten more time than I want to count. But I am so thrilled that Jude's story won.As with last year the Festival was held in Bedford and this year it was bigger and better. This is the only event in the UK for readers of romance to meet their favourite authors and connect with new writers. I think there were 60 romance authors this year.Me holding the lovely Miranda Dickinson's latest book Take A Look At Me KnowOn Saturday morning it was the coffee and cake event with 14 authors. I read an short extract from the award winning (need to keep saying so I can believe it!) A Cornish Affair. And the big highlight was meeting the wonderful John Jackson!Me reading…picture courtesy of John JacksonThe book fair was held in the Corn Exchange and it was great with share a table with Kat Black and William Coles.Then I had a book signing at Waterstones with the lovely Hazel Osmond (one of my fellow short listed authors)…Then complete collapse in my room. I was beat. I looked at my dress which glittered and sparkled at me and thought I can't wear it. But bullied on by friends on Twitter I donned the frock and set forth the ball. As with any time when you get a bunch of romantic novelist together the volume is high and the conversation can slip low…this was no exception….I was happily tweeting the award winners live and was all set to type in the winner of the Readers' Award for Best Romantic Read when…my name was called. I am grateful there are no pictures of my face! I fully expected any other the other wonderful authors on the list but not my name.Sue Morrcroft, Liz Fenwick, Jane Lovering, Rowan Coleman and Hazel OsmondSomehow I made it up to receive my award from the wonderful Christina Courtney (fellow Heroine Addict) and then sat down stunned. In fact I was shell shocked all evening and didn't know what to do with myself…still feeling this way but now I can at least work on the next book!Sorry about the pink lightening…Tracy Bloom (Tracey won the Best Author Published Book) and Liz FenwickKate Allen has done a wonderful job with the festival and I'm already looking forward to next year.Broo Doherty won the agent awardI wish I could thank the readers personally. I am so thrilled they loved Jude's and Tristan's journey…So off to Dubai in about a half hour…yes, back to normal life on a plane.PS…finishing this post at 35,000 feel somewhere over Europe![...]



Editing and Morning Light

Tue, 08 Oct 2013 07:15:00 +0000

I'm making reasonable progress on A Cornish Stranger but the morning light is so distracting (image)



Editing an Blissful Distraction

Sat, 05 Oct 2013 09:42:00 +0000

A working to the deadline of 31st October for A Cornish Stranger and am  staying where it's set...it's hard to work with that view!(image)



A Time of Change

Fri, 06 Sep 2013 07:32:00 +0000

I think the cover designers got the cover just right in  A Cornish AffairAgain I have been a terrible blogger but having a stunningly perfect summer kept me away from the computer and of course writing A Cornish Stranger took priority. I did post loads of photos on my Facebook Page here. It was the most glorious summer, in fact just like the summer I wrote about in A Cornish Affair. When I was editing A Cornish Affair last summer I had wondered if I had dreamt it all up (wrote the first draft of ACA in the fall of 2006 & winter of 2007 and the summer of 2006 was wonderful so it can happen!).So now it's September...DS2 is about to go to university (he did incredibly well in his exams). Tomorrow he and I take the train to Leuchars (nearest station to St Andrews). And I will then have two at university! How life changes...And I have begun to edit A Cornish Stranger (which is due to my editor on the 31st of October and due out in May 2014) and this is a big change too. I haven't quite finished the rough draft. I know the ending, it's all in my head but the book has changed so much that I need to 'live' it before I can make the ending as strong as it can be.This book has given me nightmares. It began from a saying I found in my research for A Cornish Affair...save a stranger from the sea, he'll turn your enemy. I began writing the story for NaNoWriMo in 2012 just to exercise my writing muscle and had 10,000 words. My editor like the idea so that was chosen as book three. So we brain stormed the idea and she saw potholes before they happened...and I had a rough outline. This was totally new. In the past I began with a vague idea, a title, and a character and wrote until the end - plot holes and all.This time has been very different and I'm of course doubting myself and the story (which my dear friend Biddy tells me is part of my process and I do it every time!). So fingers crossed the magic will happen in the editing and A Cornish Stranger will shine...Happy moment- A Cornish Affair at number 2 & The Cornish House at number 5Oh, I forgot to mention opera...yes, there's a huge opera thread in the story which has been a wonderful excuse to listen and learn more about opera and its world but terrifying as I have to put together a Cornish opera (not the music) but the score of one so that parts of it can be in the book! i certainly don't make things easy for myself!!!What's your favourite opera?PS there are a few days left to enter a Goodreads give-away ... 3 copies of A Cornish Affair to win here.[...]



South West Libraries Launch Their Cornish Reading Passport

Fri, 19 Jul 2013 11:35:00 +0000

The Helford RiverOn Monday I'll be in Torpoint Library at 14:00 to officially launch the Read South West's Cornish Reading Passport. I am so honoured to be a part of this.Last year, in honour of the Olympics they organised a regional challenge asking people to read books set in or connected to five different continents. This year they are focusing on the south west and they have chosen six authors to represent Cornwall...Charles Causley, Daphne du Maurier, Debbie Fowler, Patrick Gale, Richard Masson and Liz Fenwick. Yes, I had to read the email a few times to be sure!So on Monday I'll be in Torpoint Library to launch the scheme and to chat to anyone about my books or about writing in general. If you are in the area I'd love to see you.There has been so much going on lately that I haven't linked to many things...mea culpa.I wrote a travel article about my favourite parts of The Lizard for a travel agent based in Truro...(it's in German) here.There was a lovely article in The National here on how my memories help me write...Finally I can not believe this glorious weather...it makes it very hard to write (working on book 3 - A Cornish Stranger) but this weather is exactly like the summer in A Cornish Affair, which I wrote the first draft of in 2005...when I was rewriting the book last year I was beginning to think I had been imagining the glorious weather. But the current weather proves it can happen.What are you doing to keep cool in the heat?A very loyal DS1 keeping cool in the shade reading A Cornish Affair[...]



Happy Fourth of July...

Thu, 04 Jul 2013 12:24:00 +0000

A friend on Facebook called me wistful and I suppose I am. It's the Fourth of July and I'm sitting in out shoebox size flat in London longing to be on Cape Cod. The desire is so great it makes me tearful. I know it is the pull of nostalgia. There is nothing like hot dogs and hamburgers, watermelon, blueberries and the smell of Coppertone. I'm hankering after screen doors, three legged races, sunburns and mossy bites and youthful longing. It's all there sitting like a lump in my throat.

I haven't celebrated a 4th in the States in too many years. For me the 4th is synonymous with Cape Cod as all my childhood summers were spent there. I long for Four Seas Ice Cream and a sea temperature that is refreshing not icy. Craigville Beach looms large in my thoughts...

It stings. In the past when it was possible I would decorate the house, be it in Cornwall or England or Canada, with the stars and stripes. The day would begin with blueberry pancakes and maple syrup. A cookout would ensue and I'd try the three legged race thing just to give the kids a sense they were too American.

I've just finished an interview with a journalist in Dubai. He was asking about A Cornish Affair. I realise I didn't say that in many ways Jude, the heroine, is me. I gave her my Cape Cod, my university and much of my world. I fell for Cornwall as she does. And now I proclaim that Roskillys has the best ice-cream in the world replacing my beloved Four Seas (although I've never had peppermint stick ice-cream anywhere else). I rarely swim off of rocky beaches in Cornwall (the water is still too cold- I remain loyal to Craiville Beach and its temperate waters). Cornwall is now where my heart lies but on the Fourth of July it really wants to be on Cape Cod.

Happy Fourth of July.
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Independent Booksellers' Week and Mazey Day

Sat, 29 Jun 2013 17:44:00 +0000

Today was the start of Independent Booksellers' Week and to support one on my favourite booksellers, The Edge of the World Bookshop in Penzance I offered to man the tills...in reality stand outside the shop and chat to people.
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Liz Fenwick and friend in front of Edge of the World Books
It was also Mazey Day in Penzance which is part of Golowan. Golowan is the fest of mid-summer, the feast of St John, which was traditionally celebrated with bonfires and tar barrels all around Cornwall but died out in the late 1800s. You can read more about it here.
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The Mazey Midday Parade
I had such a good time talking about books and watching parades that I'm already looking forward to next year! The rest of my photos are on my Facebook page here.
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When Fanny Blake Ran Away...

Wed, 05 Jun 2013 07:11:00 +0000

Today I'm launching A Cornish Affair in Dubai and it seemed appropriate to save one last running away story to mark the Dubai launch. Here's Fanny's story... I’ve always been told running away from your problems is the wrong thing to do. But for me, it worked.Being made redundant from a much-loved job in publishing one Christmas was tough. The cheque was little consolation for being made to feel so humiliated and useless. I was driving everyone, including myself, mad as I moped around the house, with next to no motivation to find another job, convinced I would never work again. A friend suggested I escaped by going away. But my kids were at school and my husband was working. There was no possibility of their taking the time off. How miserable I would be lying on a beach on my own, going over what had gone wrong. She insisted it didn’t have to be like that.  A friend of hers had just come back from trekking in Bhutan. Why didn’t I do something similar? By the end of that afternoon, I was booked on a flight to Thailand.My husband manfully agreed to take on the brunt of looking after our three boys and off I ran to the Far East for three weeks to forget what had happened. It was the best thing I could have done.I met with a band of travelling companions in Bangkok, and together we caught an overnight train north before travelling down the Mekong river to Laos. Being with strangers who knew nothing about me, and had no expectations, was liberating. While I missed my family, I forgot the repercussions of the redundancy. Instead, I visited temples and palaces, wandered round markets, ate local delicacies, stayed in modest guesthouses, bicycled in the countryside and explored the towns of Luang Phabang, Vientianne and Savannakhet before driving on into Vietnam.However, my subconscious must have been working away. Eventually a lightbulb moment came when I was least expecting it, sitting alone in front of the cascading Kuang Si Falls. I realised I would never work for one employer again. I would try to put together some kind of portfolio career, to avoid the same thing repeating itself, and to allow me to spend more time with my family. I hadn’t expected it, but running away from what had gone wrong freed me from the constraints that had prevented me thinking clearly about my future. I returned home a changed person, with different priorities. I did work for another publisher, but I also began to write journalism, then non-fiction, and finally I wrote the first of my three novels. I’ve got running away to thank for that.Rose waits for her family to arrive at their villa in Tuscany when a casual glance at her husband’s phone tips her world upside down. The text reads simply: ‘Miss you. Love you. Come back soon’.  Fanny's latest book will be out on the 4th of July and you can pre-order it  here.As the family gathers for the summer break, Rose’s faith in Daniel is shaken. How well does she really know him? She fears that, after decades of marriage and children, the man who lies beside her at night is lying in other ways too. Then events take a tragic turn. Wise, wry and richly entertaining, The Secrets Women Keep celebrates the passionate, emotional lives women lead as wives, mothers and grandmothers. You can find out more about Fanny and her books here.[...]



Travelling Again

Thu, 30 May 2013 07:18:00 +0000

A Cornish AffairA Cornish Affair is well on its way in the UK so on Sunday night I fly back to Dubai to give the book a proper launch there. But before that I am off to visit friends who have limited connectivity...You can stand in the tower (serious) on one foot and lean 10 degrees to the east and get a phone signal. You won't be hearing from me much!I think a quiet weekend with friends will be just what the doctor ordered as I have been going full tilt and confess to going to bed last night at eight. It's been mad but fun. My batteries were and are probably still are low.And I think my husband might just be missing me...these are popup posters that have been made for my talks....The cats are not impressed!Pop Up Poster of Liz Fenwick!On Sunday night I fly over night to Dubai and I'll be on the radio at 1:30 on Monday on Dubai Eye. Then on Tuesday I'm doing a literary lunch.. this will consist of an excellent three course meal with house beverages at Trade Centre Club and me talking about books... Please join if you can.Lunch is at Dubai World Trade Club call 04 309 7979 or email wtc@dwtc.com to book a placeThen on Wednesday it's the official Dubai launch of A Cornish Affair at Kinokuniya (aka Book World) in The Dubai Mall at 19:00. I'm still planning on having pasties, but it may not work and I may resort to a Cornish Cream tea again or maybe just Cornish cheeses...I woke this morning to the wonderful news that A Cornish Affair is number one in Waterstones in Truro! Finally over on my Facebook Page I've posted photos from an early morning boat trip on the Helford River and a bluebell wood walk....[...]



A Cornish Affair is Launched...

Fri, 24 May 2013 07:42:00 +0000

Wow, what a day. First thank you for the amazing amount of support on Facebook and Twitter. It has been overwhelming. Thank you...So yesterday...first was a celebration lunch with my wonderful editor  (still gives me a thrill to say that!) and sitting in reception the only book on display was A Cornish Affair (to be fair it's under renovation and they probably had mine out because they knew I was coming in...but how to make an author feel special!)A Cornish Affair in Orion's reception area!Then back to flat to collect DS2 who was allowed to come out early to help and boy did he! So we walked down Kensington High Street and outside Waterstones we found this...Then inside the fabulous Michael the Waterstones Kensington High Street's events manager and my wonderful friend Georgia were already at work transforming the space for the party...DS2 pouring the all important bubbles...Georgia and DS2 mucking aroundThen back to proper 'work'....So wonderful to have two books on display...A Cornish Affair  & The Cornish HouseSome of the delicious scones made by Emma WalkerSo many friends came and this year I actually had a chance to chat to them! Also I was so touched by the the young Mt. Holyoke alums who came to the launch. They had only met me last saturday (MHC is brilliant!) And there were some fab shoes and well, I want that handbag!Total handbag lust...Michael introducing meAnd finally the part of the evening that scares me most...the talk and the reading...Liz FenwickIt was a fun evening and now off to book signings in Cornwall tomorrow and a talk at the St Ives Library on Tuesday evening...and of course working on book three, A Cornish Stranger.[...]



When Judy Astley Ran Away

Wed, 22 May 2013 06:05:00 +0000

Here's Judy's story... I ran away the day the headmistress laughed and told me I was “Flying a bit high” when I asked if it would be OK to apply to Oxford university.  Humiliated, I stormed out of school at midday, raced home to change out and went up to the corner where the road heads for the M4 to start hitching a lift to visit my friend David at Magdalen college, Oxford for tea and sympathy.We all hitch-hiked in the days before central locking meant no escape from the axe murderer.  Drivers were kind to a girl alone and I had a rule about lorries – not to get in. Today though, cars stopped but none were going more than a couple of miles.  So when the truck pulled up I thought, oh just this once - it’ll be fine.  The driver was cheerful and friendly.  He gave me a telling off and said that he wouldn’t want a daughter of his risking her life by hitching so he’d take me all the way to Magdalen bridge, just to be sure I was safe.Except – suddenly he was turning off the M4 at Slough This was NOT the way to Oxford. He drove into a bleak industrial estate, parked outside the massive Mars confectionary warehouse and climbed out. I considered making a run for it but I found he’d locked the doors. I was going to be found naked and strangled in a ditch.  My poor mum.Then he was back telling me to hop out and get in the car parked alongside. He’d finished his shift, was heading for home and he handed me a big box, saying, ‘Here, a souvenir.’ It was full of Mars bars, Milky Ways and Galaxy bars. I thanked him and the journey continued but I’d be lying if I said I relaxed. David and I munched our way through the box’s contents and he offered me his bed for the night.  I thought about it but… back then he risked being sent down for having a girl in his room. And it was freezing and the loo was down two flights of stairs and across a dark, wind-blown quadrangle. I started thinking a more modern university would have comfort-advantages…  So I said thanks but no.  And for once, I went home by train.My 18th novel,‘In The Summertime’ will to be published in hardback by Bantam in early July.  The paperback will follow in June 2014.  It’s a return to the characters from my first book, Just For the Summer and has Miranda, twenty years on from when she was a teenager at her family’s holiday home in Chapel Creek in Cornwall, revisiting the village with her mother Clare and children Silva and Bo, to scatter the ashes of her step-father Jack on the estuary he’d loved.  She doesn’t expect to find there are still so many connections from the past in the place and is particularly surprised to find one in particular – someone she’s thought about many times over the years.Coming July 4th Judy's nest book....and it's set in Cornwall!It's twenty years since Miranda, then sixteen, holidayed in Cornwall and her life changed forever. Now she's back again - with her mother Clare and the ashes of her stepfather Jack, whose wish was to be scattered on the sea overlooked by their one-time holiday home.The picturesque cove seems just the same as ever, but the people are different - more smart incomers,fewer locals, more luxury yachts in the harbour. But Miranda and Clare both find some strangely familiar faces, and revisit the emotions they both thought had disappeared.You can find more about Judy and her books here.[...]



When Lesley Lokko Ran Away...

Tue, 21 May 2013 06:38:00 +0000

Here's Lesley's story... Running away, when you live in West Africa, is a tricky business. If, like me, you read a lot of Enid Blyton as a child, it was made even trickier. The Famous Five only had to pack a sandwich or two and hop in a boat and they were invariably back by teatime, anyway. For us, it was an awful lot harder. To begin with, the heat made it impossible to run, so you had to walkaway. Not very dramatic or effective. ‘I’ve had enough! I’m walking away!’ Then there were the snakes. Back in the day, when Accra was a lot less crowded than it is now, there were huge swathes of ‘bush’ everywhere. Our house backed onto one such swathe and it was crawling with snakes. Dangerous ones, too. There are no grass snakes in West Africa, only mambas. Fifteen minutes is all you’ve got between bite and death which makes it pretty much instant. And if that weren’t enough, there were the grown-ups. In West Africa, all adults are in loco parentis – even complete strangers – and as such, are fully authorised to step in at any point and deliver a slap or a sermon if they feel you’re up to no good. The sight of three children determinedly marching away from the house with sticks (with which to beat a snake) and a bottle of water (to pour over your head in case of sunstroke) is a clear indication of ‘no good’. And so it came to pass . . . At the age of nine, after an argument with my father (not that you could actually argue with him. Ghanaian children do not, I repeat, do not talk back. You just listen.), I stomped (slunk) off to my room, determined to run away. I had no idea where I’d run to, just that I’d run away. George was always running away: why not me? I packed a bag: pair of knickers, a clean T-shirt, a book (Enid’s, of course) and, incongruously, a box of aspirin – I’ve no idea why. I begged the cook for a fried egg sandwich (at 5pm? Why?) and I left. But before I reached the gate, my two younger sisters begged to be allowed to come along too. I had to wait for half an hour for them to pack the same: three pairs of knickers, three T-shirts, three books and three boxes of aspirin. We’d run out of eggs so they had jam sarnies instead. However, the sun sets in the tropics at 6pm on the dot and by 5:45pm it was already getting dark. Suddenly running (or even walking) away didn’t seem like such a good idea. We made it as far as the first corner. A rustle in the undergrowth sent us shrieking back to the gate. We decided to eat our sandwiches in the garage (don’t ask me why). It was usually cool and dark in there and quite Famous Five-ish, in a petrol-smelling, secretive kind of way. We dragged open the doors, determined to make the most of our adventure and Make A Point . . . and then we froze. Curled up in the middle of the floor, seeking a warm spot of concrete where the heat of the tires had seeped, was a snake. I don’t actually remember what sort of snake – green, black, blue, orange? –  we fled, screaming, dropping the aspirins, knickers, T-shirts and sandwiches en route (but not the books). Jabbering like idiots, we burst into the living room where my father was having a nap. ‘What’s the matter?’ he roared, annoyed at having been woken from his precious pre-dinner snooze. ‘A snake! A snake!’ My two sisters shouted, pointing to the garage. ‘What were you doing in the garage?’‘Running away!’ they shouted in chorus. ‘Hmph.’ My father looked at me, frowning exasperatedly. ‘Is this another one of your silly ideas?’‘No. Yes. Sort o[...]



When Carole Matthews Ran Away...

Mon, 20 May 2013 05:55:00 +0000

Here's Carole's story...This is a story of achieving a dream and decorating aversion. Next week Lovely Kev is painting our hall and, at Matthews’ Towers, our hall takes in three floors. It’s a job not to be undertaken lightly. I’m not a big decorating fan, or any kind of DIY, come to that matter. I can wield a paintbrush well enough, but tend to leave mayhem and chaos in my wake. I have been known to drop, from the top of a ladder, the occasional five-litre tin of emulsion onto the dining room floor. I also have a weird reaction to fresh paint in that it gives me the most vivid nightmares. Really bad, being chased by an axe man nightmares. And gloss nightmares are much worse than emulsion ones.        So, in lieu of all this impending terror in my home, I’m running away. I’m leaving Lovely Kev with a list of instructions and several large cans of Dulux Almond White and am hightailing it out of the Costa del Keynes as fast as I can. As my decorating avoidance technique, I’ve booked on a canal boat for a week and that’s where the dream part comes in. For many more years than I care to recall, I’ve commuted up and down the line from the Keynes to London Euston. In fact, I went so far as to set a book on the line - Let’s Meet on Platform 8. As you travel into London, the Grand Union canal meanders gently from one side of the railway track to the other, offering tantalising glimpses of its many delights. I always wondered what it would be like to travel the entire stretch from London back to my home. And now I’m about to find out.        I’ve taken the precaution of going on a hotel boat where I’ll have two gentlemen to cook, drive and do complicated things with locks. On my part, I’m armed with lots of books, my walking boots, some knitting and a bottle of gin. That sounds like my kind of running away.Here's Carole's latest book...Grace has been best friends with Ella and Flick forever. The late-night chats, shared heartaches and good times have created a bond that has stood the test of time.When Ella invites them to stay for a week in her cottage in South Wales, Grace jumps at the chance to see her old friends. She also hopes that the change of scenery will help her reconnect with her distant husband.Then Flick arrives; loveable, bubbly, incorrigible Flick, accompanied by the handsome and charming Noah.This is going to be one week which will change all their lives forever... You can find out more about Carole and her books here.[...]



When CL Taylor Ran Away...

Fri, 17 May 2013 06:00:00 +0000

Here's CL's story... CL Taylor, slightly scared, at the top of the Eiffel Tower (aged 25)I was twenty-five when I ran away to Paris. I was living in Brighton and going out with a colleague - an alcoholic with a mean side. By dating him I’d ostracised myself not only from my other work colleagues who didn’t trust him but also from the friends who knew he was bad for me but couldn’t convince me to leave him (I foolishly believed that, if I spent enough time with him, I could help him overcome his demons).Confused and desperate to get away to clear my head I scraped together what little money I had and booked myself a cheap flight to Paris and a room in a flea pit of a hotel. The plan was to spend a couple of days there alone but when a friend (who was also an ex-boyfriend) said he’d fly from Holland (where he lived) to Paris so we could hang out together I thought, ‘why not?’ I hadn’t seen him for several years, our relationship had ended amicably and he was good fun to be around. The trip got off to an exciting start. I wanted to visit the graves of Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Oscar Wilde so we went to Père Lachaise cemetery in the afternoon of our first day. It’s an astonishing cemetery and I found myself utterly mesmerised. We found the first two graves relatively easily but, as the sky grew dark and night approached, we slowly realised we’d been walking round and round in circles trying to find Wilde’s. published under Creative Commons Licensing, Oliver Regelmann Flickr     Finally we found it. I took a photograph and laid a flower on the tomb and then said to my friend that we should probably leave as we hadn’t seen anyone else wandering about for some time.We headed for the exit.It was locked shut.We headed for the other exit, a good twenty minute walk around the circumference of the cemetery.Shut.We tried more exits.Shut. Shut. Shut.It was now so dark we could barely see three feet in front of us.We were locked in Père Lachaise for the night. Panic rose in my chest. It was February and bitterly cold. Even if we could find somewhere to curl up and go to asleep we’d be frozen by the morning. There was nothing for it but to go back to the main entrance and knock on the door of one of the houses we’d seen there.We knocked. And knocked. And knocked. No answer. With no mobile phone to call for help (they didn’t work abroad back then) we had no choice but to sit on the pavement, light cigarettes and stare desperately at the closed gates in front of us as we tried to decide what to do next. The perimeter fence was high and, even if my friend gave me a foot up, I knew I didn’t have enough upper body strength to make it over the top. I was just about to go back to the house to knock some more when the enormous double gates in front of us swung open and a car, headlights on full, drove towards. One of us might have said “Run!” or maybe we didn’t need words. Either way, thirty seconds later we were on the other side of the cemetery, grabbing each other and laughing with relief.Later that evening my friend told me he was still in love with me. But that’s another story.THE ACCIDENT By CL Taylor“Keeping this secret is killing me”To the outside world Susan Jackson has it all – a loving family, a successful politician husband and a beautiful home – but when Charlotte, her fifteen year old daughter,  deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up[...]



When Holly Hepburn ran Away...

Thu, 16 May 2013 06:00:00 +0000

Here's Holly's story....The first time I ran away, I was seven years old. The exact reason for packing my bags and leaving home forever is lost in the mists of time but I expect it involved my parents being grossly unfair over something that completely was not my fault. I mean, it always does when you're seven, right?Anyway, I gathered the essentials - a saucepan, some matches, the only tin opener, some Heinz cream of tomato soup, a bowl, a spoon and my bendy legged Sindy doll - and packed them into my Strawberry Shortcake tote bag. Then, having scrawled a suitably dramatic note, I left home.We lived at the time in a small village on the Scottish border, the kind of place where everyone knew everything you did, and the village policeman was called Andy Apple, which these days sounds like a character from a Fruit Shoot advert. The bus out of the village ran once an hour so I made my getaway on foot and holed up among some trees by the banks of the River Tweed. Then, having been living in the wild for a good thirty minutes, I got peckish and lit a fire (I blame a kids' TV show called Captain Caveman for the knowledge of how to do this, or possibly Why Don't You?), opened up my tin of soup and started to heat it. So far, so good - I was like Robinson Crusoe, at one with nature and convinced I could live on my own indefinitely. Then it all went a bit wrong; I heard someone coming and, in a panic, tried to douse the flames with some sand. Only in the rush, I doused the soup as well. Then I peered out to see who had come to hunt me down. It was a sheep.I stuck it out for another twenty minutes before hunger (and a complete disillusionment with the nomadic lifestyle) drove me home with my tail between my legs. And the worst of it was, no one had even noticed I'd gone. They noticed the missing tin opener all right, though; I'd buried all the evidence in my hiding place before I slunk home. It's probably still there, actually...You can but Holly's latest book here....CupidityWhat if Cupid fell out of love with love? Cupid is exhausted. Modern day matchmaking is tough – people are busy, their hearts are harder to hit and he’s had enough of wall-to-wall romance. And St Valentine has noticed… Annelise is a Lost Cause. She runs a dating agency but her heart is colder than a penguin’s feet. She thinks love is about compatibility and has no time for passion. Can Cupid prove to St Valentine that he hasn’t lost his touch by melting Annelise’s heart? Or is it curtains for Cupid?You and find out more about Holly here.[...]



When Emma Lee-Potter Ran Away

Wed, 15 May 2013 06:00:00 +0000

Here's Emma's story....My daughter was a year old when I became obsessed with the idea of running away to the country. We were living in south London at the time and although I loved our house, with its pocket-handkerchief garden and scruffy Georgian façade, I loathed the traffic and the noise and the scary crime levels. In the space of a few weeks a friend was mugged in the alleyway a few doors down and another had her bag snatched while her two young children looked on. One night I glanced out of the back window to see flames soaring 20 feet into the night sky. Joyriders had stolen a car and set it on fire behind our garden fence.This definitely wasn’t the life I’d dreamed of for my daughter. But how could we possibly escape? As a writer I could work anywhere but my husband couldn’t uproot at the drop of a hat. Then out of the blue he was asked to take over a company 250 miles from London. So that was it. We threw caution to the wind, let our house and ran away to the country. We rented an old stone farmhouse just outside the idyllic village of Downham, in the wilds of rural Lancashire. The next house was half a mile away, we had no heating and getting to the nearest road involved driving through two fields of sheep, opening and closing three gates along the way. Our friends thought we’d gone bonkers but it was one of the happiest times of my life. Downham looks like something out of a picture book – complete with a pub, church, village shop, stream with ducks and even a nursery school – and the whole village welcomed us with open arms. Every evening I gazed across the fields to majestic Pendle Hill soaring high above, and thanked my lucky stars that we ran away.PS. A few years later the experience inspired my novel, Taking Sides. It’s the story of a mother who uproots her family to a cottage in the country only to find that her DJ husband has landed a new radio job and refuses to come with her.Here's Emma's Novel Taking Sides and you can get it here.Juliette Ward is tired of trying to be superwoman. Her job's driving her crazy, her house has been burgled three times and she's scared to let her six-year-old son out to play. But just as she persuades her family to move to the country, her DJ husband Jon promptly lands the breakfast show on a new London radio station. Juliette knows he'd be mad to turn down his big break. But she hates the thought of swapping her stable marriage for a long-distance relationship. Big city versus country idyll? If only things were that simple...And the novella Lessons in Love is here. To find out more about Emma visit here.[...]



When Nicola Doherty ran away....

Tue, 14 May 2013 06:00:00 +0000

Here's Nicola's story...When I was twenty – a very immature twenty – I went to Paris for a year to work as a jeune fille au pair. After meeting a few different families, it seemed I could pick and choose: shallowly, I chose, not necessarily the nicest family but the one with the glitziest apartment and nicest accommodation for me.  They lived on the third floor of a hotel particulière on the Rue de Sèvres in the heart of Paris’s 7th arrondissement. The furniture was Louis Quinze; Yves Saint Laurent apparently lived in the building. Madame was a former model whose social life now seemed a full-time activity, and les petits were a boy of seven and a girl of nine. The kids were sweet, but overscheduled. The working day started at 7 am with breakfast, searches for hairbrushes and stickers and a hair-raising walk to school during which the little boy gave me frequent heart attacks by running off around corners, hiding behind cars or leaping into the road. Then I had the day free until 3pm, when it was time to pick the kids up from school and ferry them to their next activity. Judo, swimming, ballet, football, art: there was at least one extracurricular event every evening, plus making dinner and supervising an hour’s homework each when we got home. The little girl was sometimes so exhausted I had to help her with her homework while she lay in bed.  Weekends were family time, during which I hovered on the sidelines, listening to praise of the previous au pair, who was apparently much more organised than me – ‘impeccable’ in fact, was the word used.  Though I did get the inkling that turnover was high. ‘Ici, les jeune filles au pair, ça défile,’ I overheard my employer say with pride to a friend. Luckily my French was good enough to know she meant they had a ‘parade’ of au pair girls, in other words that they came and went, not that we defiled the place, though to be honest both seemed possible. A holiday in their chateau was looming; I couldn't face it. I made up some feeble excuse and left in the dawn light, shutting the massive door behind me with a feeling of euphoria. I hopped on a train to Strasbourg, to stay with some friends who were doing an Erasmus year abroad. The free evenings and weekends were a revelation: I decided that from now on I would only work during daytime hours. I went back to Paris and got a job with an art museum, which paid me enough to rent my very own little fire-trap on the sixth floor in the 6th arrondissement (sans ascenseur). Looking back, I still feel guilty for running away. The family was perfectly nice, they paid rather generously (by au pair standards) and the duties really weren’t that onerous. I just wasn’t cut out to be an au pair girl. It’s a weird position: living with a family, yet not a part of it, and looking after children when you’re barely more than a child yourself. I hope the next girl who paraded through their door was a little more impeccable than me. Here's Nicola's latest book... and you can get it here.From London to Italy with love...Alice Roberts is having a rubbish summer.She's terrified of her boss, her career is stalling, and she's just been dumped - by text message. But things are about to change... When her boss Olivia is taken ill, Alice is sent on the work trip of a lifetime: to a villa in Sicily, to edit the autobiography of Hollywood bad boy Luther [...]