The Stationmaster’s Daughter

Tags

, ,

Delighted to announce that my new book, The Stationmaster’s Daughter, is now available for preorder! The cover and the blurb are below.  Preorder here from Amazon UK.

This one was inspired by my brother who works as a volunteer restoring the Lynton and Barnstaple railway in north Devon.

In other news – my last book, The Forgotten Secret, is currently on sale for just 99p till the end of the month!

Cover - small

As the last train leaves, will life ever be the same?

Dorset 1935
Stationmaster Ted has never cared much for romance. Occupied with ensuring England’s most beautiful railway runs on time, love has always felt like a comparatively trivial matter. Yet when he meets Annie Galbraith on the 8.42 train to Lynford, he can’t help but instantly fall for her.

But soon the railway is forced to close and a terrible accident occurs within the station grounds, Ted finds his job and any hope of a relationship with Annie hanging in the balance…

Present day
Recovering from heartbreak after a disastrous marriage, Tilly decides to escape from the bustling capital and move to Dorset to stay with her dad, Ken.

When Ken convinces Tilly to help with the restoration of the old railway, she discovers a diary hidden in the old ticket office. Tilly is soon swept up in Ted’s story, and the fateful accident that changed his life forever.

But an encounter with an enigmatic stranger takes Tilly by surprise, and she can’t help but feel a connection with Ted’s story in the past.

 

Advertisements

Update

Tags

, ,

The last time I had a long gap between blog entries was I think back in 2017, when I spend 6 months travelling in our motorhome…

…and the reason for THIS long gap is that I am once again on the move! Since giving up the day job back on Valentine’s Day I’ve been away from home far more than I’ve been there. Several short holidays (Ireland, Lake District, ski trip, visit to son in Liverpool) and now a two month trip in France in our beloved Gertie.

writing small

But don’t worry – I am still writing while travelling. I have blogged about it over on the Novel Points of View blog – go there for more photos of me writing in the van. We are touring the south-east corner of France, the Alpes-Maritimes. Not entirely coincidentally, it’s where my current work-in-progress is set. So inspiring to be travelling in the area I’m writing about!

In other news, the paperback edition of The Forgotten Secret is now available to buy from online retailers. And a foreign edition of Mr Cavell’s Diamond is on its way – more on that later!

And the June edition of Writing Magazine features me talking about my first week as a full time author in Lynne Hackles’ column – in the shops now! I haven’t seen it myself as we’ve been away, but my lovely son (need to keep him sweet) bought me a copy and sent me a photo of it.

60801413_2569162119761942_4195624036723589120_n

The Forgotten Secret paperback

Tags

, ,

A box of paperbacks of The Forgotten Secret arrived a couple of days ago! Always so exciting to see my book in paperback format for the first time.

paperbacks

To celebrate, I’m giving away a signed copy, and will post anywhere in the world. To be in with a chance of winning, either leave a comment here or on my Facebook author page by 6pm Sunday evening UK time. I’ll draw the winner’s name from a hat.

You might also be interested in my latest post over on Novel Points of View blog, in which I talk about theme, and the fine line I needed to tread when writing The Forgotten Secret, as it explores the idea that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”.

Finally in what is to me fantastic news, my next book The Stationmaster’s Daughter has gone through to copyedits stage. I love knowing the hard work is over for a book, and only tweaks are now needed! This one’s due out in September and of course I’ll be sharing its blurb and cover etc when they’re ready, right here on my blog.

 

Publication Day!

Tags

,

HQDigital_9780008236991_OutNow_39

Back in May 2017 I was on a six-month motorhoming trip around Europe with my husband. We’d reached Sicily and were sitting in a campsite restaurant one evening, when we began talking through ideas for my next novel. I’d just finished a round of edits for The Drowned Village and was ready to start work on something else. I had this vague idea I wanted to do something around the Irish war of independence, and that my contemporary character would uncover a cache of old guns under a barn – that would be the trigger to set her off researching the past.

We sat in that restaurant and began thrashing out ideas. My husband’s Irish so of course he knew a lot more than me about this period in history. I jotted down a load of notes, kept mulling it over for the next week or two and ended up with a plan for the novel that eventually (after several title changes!) became The Forgotten Secret.

This one turned out to be the most difficult to date to write. Partly because I didn’t do enough research before starting to write. Partly because for some reason I wrote most of the contemporary storyline before the historical (usually I do them the other way round, so at least I know what happened in the past, and know what my contemporary character needs to discover). And partly because hitting the right note for the historical story was tricky. I wanted the novel to illustrate the premise that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. But I didn’t want it to be overly political or partisan.

I think I got the balance right. Early reviews are positive. I hope everyone enjoys this novel, and do let me know what you think of it!

Publication looms and a lovely review

Tags

,

HQDigital_9780008236991_CountDown_35

Just a week – actually less! – till publication of The Forgotten Secret. It has been gathering some lovely early reviews on Netgalley and Goodreads, so I hope it’s going to do well and be enjoyed by many people. One thing early reviewers have said is that they learned some Irish history from it, and appreciated the brief historical notes at the start of the book. I had to do a lot of research for this one, to get the history right and yet not overwhelm the reader with it. So far it sounds like I found the right balance.

In other news, the Historical Novels Society have featured The Drowned Village in their latest batch of reviews. Really pleased with this one! I keep meaning to join the HNS. One day I will!

 

100th anniversary

Tags

, ,

Today, 21st January 2019, is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the first Dáil – Ireland’s parliament. The Dáil was not recognised by Britain, and thus the Irish war of independence began.

The war ended in 1921 with a signing of a treaty that split six counties of Ulster away from the rest of Ireland – creating what we now know as Northern Ireland (although those in the republic tend to refer to it simply as ‘the north’).

Many in Ireland were not happy about that treaty, and civil war ensued (1922-3) between the pro and anti-treaty forces.

And of course some anti-treaty forces (the IRA) continued fighting over the decades until the Good Friday Agreement finally brought peace in 1998. (Peace that Brexit may endanger, but this isn’t supposed to be a political post so let’s not go there!)

My new book, currently available for preorder, is partly set during the war of 1919-21, telling the story of Ellen, young and in love with an idealistic Republican fighter. In the present day, Clare inherits a farmhouse in county Meath, and discovers long-forgotten secrets that allow her to unearth Ellen and Jimmy’s story…

hqdigital_9780008236991_happypublication_38

Happy New Year!

Tags

,

I should first say a belated happy Christmas. Sorry for the lack of a Christmas post – we had a family bereavement in December, a funeral in Ireland, and then were away on a skiing trip for Christmas week. All of which gets in the way of blogging.

But here we are, in 2019, at the start of what I hope will be a great year for everyone.

new year 2019

It’s certainly going to be a year of change for me, as I give up the day job in mid February and concentrate on my career as a novelist. I’m currently getting a novel ready to submit to my editor and beta readers – hope to send it next week. I have a stack of new ideas waiting to be worked on – never any shortage of ideas!

At this time of year I always like to look back on what I’ve achieved in the previous year and make some goals for the coming year. Here are last year’s goals which were essentially to complete The Forgotten Secret (done! Coming out on 1st March!); complete a draft of another novel (done! The Stationmaster’s Daughter is the one I’m about to submit to my editor); lose a few kilos and get a bit fitter (done, but put them on again and lost the fitness, isn’t that always the way?); and begin reducing the amount of junk in the house (made a start but didn’t get far).

And my goals for this year:

  • Get The Stationmaster’s Daughter ready for publication
  • Write two further novels (with no day job I ought to be able to!)
  • Work on thinning down the amount of stuff in the house, so that in a year or so we can downsize
  • Go travelling in our motorhome Gertie for a couple of months
  • Make the most of my time, and basically enjoy life!

Finally – The Drowned Village is now on a Kindle promotion in the UK, selling at just 99p. Grab yourselves a bargain – the perfect antidote to a New Year hangover!

preorder promo

So, happy New Year to everyone, thanks for all the support in 2018 and may 2019 be a year of happiness and prosperity for you all. Cheers!

 

 

Taking the leap

Tags

,

I’ve worked for the retailer John Lewis for over 30 years, almost all of it in IT: designing, building and supporting the many computer systems needed to keep a retailer of this size functioning smoothly and profitably.

For the last four years, I’ve effectively had two jobs – the IT one and the writing one. It’s been hard to fit writing around the day job, and I’m fed up with the juggling act. Time to drop one job and focus on the other.

Three weeks ago I handed in my notice, and I am due to leave in mid-February. Valentine’s Day, to be precise, will be my last day. I’m not old enough (quite) to take my pension so will live off savings, writing income and then in a couple of year’s time, my SIPP.

door-3143264_1920

Today I told the team I work with about my decision. They’re pleased for me, some are shocked and sad I’m going, some are excited for my future, some are figuring out how to persuade me to stay (6 months paid holiday every year and a 100% pay rise might tempt me…)

It’s a big move. A big change. I’ve been a Partner, as JL employees are known, for well over half my life. I’ve been to an extent defined by my job. On applications for credit cards, mortgages etc under Occupation I’ve put ‘IT Professional’ or ‘IT Technical Analyst’ for so many years.

But next time, I’ll write ‘Novelist’, and I will so enjoy that moment.  (Yeah yeah I get that it means I might not qualify for the credit card or loan or whatever due to the unpredictable income but hey.)

I’m planning to spend the next 30 years writing novels, to balance the time I spent in IT.  Wish me luck!

The Forgotten Secret

Tags

,

Cover from Amazon

Here it is! My new book, The Forgotten Secret. Set in Ireland during the war of independence, and in the present day. Here’s the blurb:

Can she unlock the mysteries of the past?

A country at war

It’s the summer of 1919 and Ellen O’Brien has her whole life ahead of her. Young, in love and leaving home for her first job, the future seems full of shining possibility. But war is brewing and before long, Ellen and everyone around her are swept up by it. As Ireland is torn apart by the turmoil, Ellen finds herself facing the ultimate test of love and loyalty.

A long-buried secret

A hundred years later and Clare Farrell has inherited a dilapidated old farmhouse in County Meath. Seizing the chance to escape her unhappy marriage she strikes out on her own for the first time, hoping the old building might also provide clues to her family’s shadowy history. As she sets out to put the place – and herself – back to rights, she stumbles across a long-forgotten hiding place, with a clue to a secret that has lain buried for decades.

For fans of Kate Morton and Gill Paul comes an unforgettable novel about two women fighting for independence.

And here’s the Amazon links to preorder: UK   US  

This was the most difficult book I’ve ever written but probably the one I am most proud of. It will be released as an ebook on March 1st 2019, and in paperback later in May. I can’t wait to find out what readers think of it!