Welcome to my blog. I am not a very regular blogger, but I try to keep this site updated with news and information. If there's none of the above I may just share my random ruminations.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Talking About Myself (again) But This Time There's a Vibrator in the Story

On  Claire Sheldon's Site A STORY ABOUT A GIRL


(Read on to see how this is image is relevant in my life - other than as neck massager which, after falling off our patio a few days ago,  dong a back flip and landing on my head, I currently need!)

Q What inspired you to write the book?
A  Unfortunately I don’t experience ‘inspiration’ in the way many writers do. Mine is a more pragmatic approach. If I’ve witnessed, experienced or even heard about an incident, it can find its way into a plot in the most unexpected places. But the way a story pans out, is totally unpredictable, and only reveals itself to me AFTER I’ve started writing.  This is how it was with BURIED TREASURE. The scenario and building blocks of the story were derived from my own experience and elements I had ‘easy’ research access to - treasure, archaeology, a Cambridge College and conference planning.

* My great uncle unearthed a hoard of silver Roman table-ware on his Suffolk farm, known as the Mildenhall Treasure.

















* My son - pictured here in the British Museum beside his great great uncle's discovery, is now an Early Medieval historian and desk-archaeologist. (He worked in the British Museum as project curator of the Viking Life and Legend exhibition in 2014, and since as curator of early medieval coins.)

* And I have been involved for more than a decade in the organisation of biannual conferences held at Queens’ College, Cambridge.


I reasoned that if I made my hero an academic archaeologist, and my heroine an events & conference planner, and the back drop for a proportion of the story a university college, it would be easy to flesh out the detail,  trusting that once set loose in the world I’d created, my imagination would do the rest.  What could go wrong?  In fact, it was probably the hardest book I’ve ever written.

Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know?
A There are loads of facts readers won’t know about me, but are they interesting enough to recount here?  The fact I used to be a commercial artist is something many people know.  It was the kind of job where I had to be able to turn my hand to drawing anything, from a motor bike to a baby. But I’ve not told many people that I once drew a woman holding a vibrator against her face. The product was ostensibly being marketed as if its purpose was to massage the cheek muscles! I no longer have the artwork nor ever knew if the idea (which would ultimately have been conveyed photographically)  ever made it into print. But I've found an image which gives an idea of the kind of ad it would have beae.



Q  If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece of advice would you give yourself ?
A   Not to take anything for granted and not to have unrealistic expectations. The world of publishing has changed a great deal since the digital revolution.  I started writing seriously back in the days when the only way to make your book available was to find a mainstream publisher.  Within about 4 months of finishing my first book, Just Before Dawn, I was lucky enough to interest a publisher, and the book hit the bookshelves the following year. But my visions of being a best-seller, of fame, of going on chat shows, and the money pouring in, were soon dashed.  Making a name for yourself is still as difficult. These days, although it is relatively easy to self-publish and put your book out in the marketplace, it is another matter entirely to raise its profile above the myriad others and to sell it.


Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

A  To play Jane Smith I wouldn’t want a drop-dead gorgeous actor. This could be taken to mean that my ‘either/or’ choices are plain. They are not, of course, but both are more quirky than classically beautiful, and both have character and are very good actors, which is often more important than looks.  Carey Mulligan or Anna Maxwell Martin.


To play Theo Tyler, who is nearing forty, I need an actor who will look good with white hair.  I have found one actor who has played a white-haired character in Game of Thrones – Harry Lloyd.
My other suggestion, in case Harry is unavailable, is Tom Riley.

Q  If you weren't writing what would you be doing?
A  I would be doing art.  I went to art school and, as I’ve already said, my first career was as an  illustrator on advertising. I still do art, in the sense that I’ve produced an annual family Christmas card, since I was seventeen and have attended life drawing classes forever.  In recent years I have also been involved in book illustration.

Q  Why did you decide to self-publish?
A  I was mainstream published at the beginning of my writing career.  But after bringing out two of my books, my small independent publisher ceased trading, having found it difficult to compete with the big boys in the industry.  I banged my head against brick walls for some years until the invention of the ebook, when I self-published my books TORN, LIFE CLASS and FLY OR FALL.  Accent Press became interested and took me on, republishing them under their own brand. Having been a little disappointed with my sales figures, when I finished BURIED TREASURE I decided to try my hand at self-publishing again.  So I am currently a hybrid!!!!

Q  What writing tools do use, and which one could you not live without?
A   I use the desk top computer in my study.  I can’t write seriously on anything else.


Q  What would you say to someone who wants to write?
 Don’t postpone starting to write until you “have the time” or because you think there’s some magic formula, and if you read all the ‘How To’ books, or go to enough writing courses and workshops, then you’ll discover the trick. In my view the only way to get better at writing is to do it … NOW!
You may only be able to grab a few moments here or there, and I’d never tell anyone not to read books on the craft of writing, or deny that you can be inspired or pick up tips from courses and workshops, just don’t let these activities replace doing it

Which authors inspired you to write?
A  Many books captured my imagination when I was a young reader. But if I am really honest, the first book that inspired me to try to write romantic fiction was not Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre, or even one of Georgette Heyer’s sparkling Regency Romances, all of which I read and enjoyed at a ridiculously young age.

I must have been around 12 - a critical moment for girls, when hormones are on the rise – and I was actively looking for someone or something to feed the romantic impulse which was blossoming inside me.  I found a dusty old hard back on the book shelves at home - the book - The Knave of Diamonds - by Ethel M Dell, was dated 1913. It had probably originally belonged to my great grandmother.

Although she didn’t try to stop me, my mother did try to dissuade me from reading this book. Looking back, I don’t think it was the subject matter or the sexist attitudes that worried her so much as the critical disdain then prevalent about the quality of Ethel's writing.
Prolific, and a huge bestseller, Ethel was, arguably, the first writer of romance, as we understand the term. Shy and reclusive she had begun writing young and had many short stories published in magazines.  Her writing is characterised by its focus on love and longing, repressed passion, a lot of heavy breathing, unutterable emotions and racing hearts. For the times, they were considered very racy. The Knave of Hearts ticked all the boxes for me.

Q    What are your writing routines?
A     I don’t really have a writing routine.  This can be a problem because it’s too easy to do something else.  Once a book has caught fire, however, the routine I need to impose is on the rest of my life.  Writing is all I want to do.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

INTERVIEW with AUTHOR GILLI ALLAN

I am reposting my recent interview with Sylvdotnet-Authors Services  


Q  When and where were you born?
  I’ll tell you the where but not the when.  Orpington, in Kent.



Q   Where do you live now?
A   In Gloucestershire, in the Cotswold Hills. Not the posh and sedate part, beloved of Tory grandees, but in a village near the far more counter-culture and alternative town of  Stroud.


Q  What is your favourite colour?
A   It’s got be yellow, the colour of sunshine, daffodils and baby chicks. When PVC was all the rage, I had a yellow oilskin (a proper sea-going garment).

Aged seventeen on the ferry going to
Southern Ireland on our family holiday 

Q  You didn’t go to university.  Why not?
A   My performance at school was indifferent. The only subject I was good at was art. (I have belatedly come to the conclusion that I’m dyslexic.  I can tick nearly all the markers.) I left to go to art school at sixteen but dropped out after 2 years.

Croydon College of Art and Design 

Q  When did you first start writing?
A   Influenced by my older sister, I first decided to write a book when I was around ten, but the difficulty of dreaming-up a coherent story soon blighted the creative bud.  I resurrected the hobby in my young teenage years and carried on writing – beginning but never finishing – a number of ‘books’. I did it to please myself, never considering it a serious ambition.

Q  What were you doing when the idea ‘to take writing seriously’ occurred to you?
A   I was doing the ironing, while listening to the radio. I had a three-year-old son, and was unenthusiastic about the idea of trying to resume work as an illustrator in advertising.  What else could I do that would enable me to stay at home?  What else was I good at? A radio programme came on about Mills and Boon, and the light bulb went on.




Q  You say you are unable to write a category romance, what do you mean?
A   I fully intended to try to write this kind of book but found I couldn’t do it. Once started the plot instantly took a very non-M&B direction. I am not dissing the genre, but in giving myself permission, as it were, to try writing seriously, I was instantly gripped by the magic and potential.  I knew I HAD to complete the story that was unfolding before my eyes, whether or not it proved a commercial prospect.

The fact that I can only embark on writing a book if my heart is in it, is strange in a way; I had no problem whatsoever turning out whatever was asked of me when I worked in advertising, however risible or tacky the brief.  I was a commercial artist. It was what I did.  Perhaps the lesson I can draw from this is that I’m not, and never have been a REAL artist.

Q  Do you have strongly held beliefs
A   I am fairly fatalistic about life, but I am more political than religious. I have a code I live by which could broadly be described as Christian; summed up by ‘Do as you would be done by’ and ‘He’s not heavy he’s my brother’. But I don’t take my scepticism about the super-natural as far as Richard Dawkins.  His certainty about the materiality of life annoys me, as his position discounts many people’s mystical and paranormal experiences. My own experience and that of members of my family, leads me to the sense (I wouldn’t put it as strongly as belief) that there is more to life than meets the eye.


The astrologoical chart drawn up for me by my
 uncle at the time of a serious road accident
Q  Have you achieved what you wanted to achieve in life?
A   How long have you got? As a child my ambition was simply to be rich and famous.  As art was the career I seemed to be heading for, a famous artist was the goal. I then decided I wanted to go out with and ultimately marry a pop star.  Every girl at school would envy me. The riches were a given, the fame would come vicariously.



Around the same time, I rather liked the idea of being a famous fashion model.  I was forever pulling ‘the face’ in mirrors, and wishing other people would see what I could see. The fact I was short, stumpy and not a beauty, could all be overcome by dieting, a growth spurt and good lighting.


Eventually I got to a point in my life when I was content, but….
I’d decided to try my hand at writing seriously.  If only I could be published, life would be complete.  That happened so quickly that my ambition instantly changed to becoming a bestseller and going on chat shows.

The trouble with ambitions is that they are either completely unattainable (the cover of Vogue has been unsullied by a photograph of me), or if they are you don’t notice getting there and fix your sights on something further off in the distance.  I have reached a stage in my life when to become famous would be a huge and unwelcome disruption.  I certainly don’t crave riches or ‘things’; I am proud of re-using, up-cycling, and making-do and mending.  I have garments in my wardrobe that go back to my twenties!
Now, I just want people to read my books.  Sales (and even more importantly, good reviews) are the only proof I've not been wasting my time all these years.

Oh, I’ve just had a thought. A major movie deal would be nice!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

REFRESHED COVER

When I bring BURIED TREASURE out in paperback later this year I have every intention of designing a brand new cover.  In the meantime I have given my current cover a face lift and added some sparkle.


I hope you approve.


Monday, July 15, 2019

COMING SOON _ THE 'BURIED TREASURE' BLOGBLITZ!!!!

Yesterday I received the publicity banner for my up and coming BlogBlitz, for BURIED TREASURE now only a fortnight away.  I am very excited. 

Many thanks to Rachel Gilbey and her 'Rachel's Random Resources' book promotion service for authors.





Thursday, June 20, 2019

Author of a Cornish Affair - Jo Lambert - Drops in for a Chat.




Gilli, thank you so much for asking me to come along today to chat on your blog.

A pleasure, Jo, we’ve been writing friends for a long time. Tell me, and the readers, a little about yourself?




I live with my husband and one small grey cat called Mollie, in a village on the eastern side of Bath, which is set in an area of outstanding natural beauty.  It gives me the best of both worlds. I’m within a five minute walk of open countryside if I want fresh air and space but I’m also within easy reach of the city with its excellent shopping and restaurants.

I grew up in rural Wiltshire where I went to grammar school – a year in Marlborough and, after a family move, four years in Bradford on Avon.  After school I attended college where I took a secretarial course which combined shorthand, typing and audio with an OND in Business Studies. Later I completed my Higher National in Business and Finance.  My working life has been a mix of NHS and commercial companies.  My NHS posts included typing pool supervisor, PA and PA/Office Manager. Outside the NHS I’ve worked for two different car companies, a truck and bus dealer, a tyre manufacturer, a couple of international building companies and three architect’s practices - a bit of a mixed bunch.

After managing to reduce my working hours by moving to a job share at the local hospital for a couple of years I eventually  closed the door on my nine to five in 2013 to concentrate on full time writing.

Well done! When did you start writing and how did it grow into your sole career? 

It began way, way back.  I’ve always loved books and I guess writing was a natural progression.  I can remember writing stories in junior school and reading them to my friends.  So I imagine it was at that early stage that the seed was planted.  I’ve written on and off all my adult life but never really thought seriously about getting published until about ten years ago.   After completing my first full length novel I submitted to various publishers without success. Deciding to self-publish, when Tomorrow Comes became my first in a series of five connected books following the loves and lives of four girls growing up in the West Country in the 1960s.  This was followed by Summer Moved On and Watercolours in the Rain, two connected contemporary romances set in south Devon. Keeping to my mix of rural and small-town locations I set my next book on the north coast of Cornwall in the fictitious fishing port of Carrenporth.



























Although as an independent author I enjoy being in control and setting my own pace, it’s always been a dream of mine to get a publishing deal.  In February 2018 after completing my Cornish novel, The Boys of Summer, I decided to submit it to Choc Lit. I heard back from them on 17th May 2018, the day before my birthday, with the offer of a contract.  I couldn’t have received a better birthday present!  The Boys of Summer, with its new title A Cornish Affair, has just been published under their Ruby Fiction imprint.

So what’s next?

Well, I’m currently writing another Cornish romance, this time set on the south coast.  And when that’s completed there are two other projects in the pipeline.  One is a sequel to the current book I’m writing, the other a completely new story.  My usual worry after I’ve finished a book is what comes next. On this occasion there are no worries, I’m spoilt for choice.

What do you read when you are not writing?

I have a very broad taste - favourites are romance, historical fiction, thrillers and contemporary fiction.   I do try to fit in as much reading as I can around my writing.  I like to review too, but that’s not always possible.  Memorable reads from this year are The Man I Fell in Love with and The Truth About You Me and Us by Kate Field, The Forgotten Village by Lorna Cook, The Mother in Law by Sally Hepworth and The Pagan Lord by Bernard Cornwell.

In your writing life, what have been your most memorable moments?

One has to be lunch with author Lesley Pearse and the other that all important e-mail the day before my birthday last year.

Congratulations, Jo.  I hope it leads to bigger and better things!

A Cornish Affair

Even in your hometown, you can feel like an outsider …  

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.
The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.
But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …

 Available on Amazon : Kobo : Nook: Google Play and Apple iBook Store

*

Jo Lambert lives on the eastern edge of Bath with her husband, one small grey feline called Mollie and a green MGB GT. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors.  She has been writing since 2008. Her first five books, a set of linked romantic sagas following the lives of several families in West Somerset, was followed in 2015 by Summer Moved On, a contemporary romance set in South Devon. A sequel, Watercolours in th Rain followed in 2017,
 In June 2018 Jo signed to Choc Lit and her debut A Cornish Affair, set in North Cornwall, has just been published. Jo is currently working on another coastal romance, this time set in South Cornwall.

When she isn't writing she reads and reviews. She also has an active blog.  Jo loves travel, red wine and rock music and she often takes the odd photograph or two.


Where to find Jo

Website:     http://jolambertbooks.com
Blog:           http://jolambertwriter.blog
Twitter:     @jolambertwriter
Instagram: jolambertwriter185



Friday, June 7, 2019

What do you think of when you hear the word treasure?

In celebrating the cover-reveal of my new book Buried Treasure I'm prompted to reflect on what treasure means to us. 



I have two opposing elements in my personality, the realist and the dreamer. They were both present, even when young.  I was a prosaic, feet on the ground sort of child.  I wasn’t the cleverest, prettiest or most popular girl in the class.  In fact, to be entirely honest, I was awkward, a bit of a loner and an outsider. I wasn’t unhappy and there were advantages to being on the sidelines.  I was an observer.




The contradictory aspect to my make-up is that I believed in fairies, Santa Claus (until quite late on) and crocks of gold at the end of rainbows. I couldn’t help but dream how wonderful it would be if by chance I came upon a magic wand or a fairy godmother.  Then I would be transformed.  I would be the focus of admiration and envy.  How I longed to be envied.





The idea of discovering treasure was the most desirable thing I could possibly imagine. And where to find it was simple. All you needed was a magic lamp to transport you to Aladdin’s cave, that dark rocky place in a desert, illuminated just by the brilliance radiating from the gold and silver coins, the precious gems, the caskets and jewellery piled in breathtaking heaps on the cavern floor.  The only fly in the ointment - the rather disturbing presence of a giant, bare chested genii.







A little later, as my reading expanded, the fairy-tale image was superseded by the possibility of finding a pirates’ map.  A scroll of old manuscript on which a desert island was depicted, with a dotted trail leading from the sea’s edge to a red X marking the spot where the treasure chest had been buried.





The Count of Monte Cristo, was soon added to my list.  On holiday in Cornwall, I was always disappearing into caves in the hope that a treasure chest might still be tucked, undiscovered somewhere in the depths, behind a boulder.

When we were asked to produce a project in my final year at junior school, I decided upon archaeology, probably the nearest science to treasure-hunting that I could imagine. (My family also has a connection to the Mildenhall Treasure. The hoard of Roman silver tableware discovered – in his account - by my Uncle Sydney Ford).  I was very proud to win the project prize - a book token for W H Smiths – and I still have my project somewhere in the house.



My son, Tom, standing beside the Mildenhall Treasure 
My precis of the incredibly broad and complex subject ranged from cave paintings, through the Romans at Verulaneum, to Tutankhamen.  I still find it easy to imagine the visceral thrill that must have gripped Howard Carter and his team as they peered through that first hole punctured in the wall and saw the treasures inside King Tut’s tomb.
Forget the so-called Dark Ages in the history of the British Isles.  I'd probably not even heard of Celts and Anglo-Saxons, and Vikings were just those men with funny hats.




Archaeology remains a fascination, although I'm wise enough to know that looking for treasure (or indeed finding any) is not really the point. I have gone on digs and I have provided archaeological illustrations for several books, either written by, or contributed to by my son Thomas Williams. So, it was an obvious subject when I came to write my seventh book.



Although the title  accurately reflects a material element of my new book, it is also a bit of a tease.  BURIED TREASURE may largely be centred around archaeology, but the title is also a metaphor about the damage that burying the past can inflict on the present.  It is easier to suppress hurt and humiliation, and erect barriers against the world, but it is only by trusting again, and exposing your mistakes to the light, that you can rediscover the best of yourself.

 BURIED TREASURE 

isn't always what it seems

Their backgrounds could hardly be further apart, their expectations in life more different. And there is nothing in the first meeting between the conference planner and the university lecturer which suggests they should expect or even want to connect again. But they have more in common than they could ever have imagined.  Both have unresolved issues from the past which have marked them; both have an archaeological puzzle they want to solve. Their stories intertwine and they discover together that treasure isn’t always what it seems. 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Interview with Lynne McVernon

Thank you for inviting me to your Author Q and A, Lynne

Please give a thumbnail introduction of yourself.

The garden of my cottage


I live in Gloucestershire, with my husband.  My career was in advertising as an illustrator. I still do some illustration, these days for books.

I’ve been writing seriously since my son, Thomas Williams, was little. Now grown up he’s a successful author in his own right and, as his early influencer, I claim all the credit. 

I’m now published by Accent Press.
 Illustration from The Tale of King Harald - by Thomas Williams


What first inspired you to write? 

What or who!  It was my older sister. In her teenage years she was a Georgette Heyer fan and decided to write her own Regency Romance. I was impressed and decided to write my own ‘book’.

My sister and me at around the time we both began writing

What was your first piece of creative writing? How old were you?

At the time I was ten or thereabouts. Although I no longer have it, I can still remember my plot.   My understanding of the history of costume (something I later learnt about in art school) was unsurprisingly hazy. I was familiar with the Empire line through my sister’s enthusiasm for that period, but I thought it was a bit boring. I was far more attracted to the full-skirted Cinderella type frock. So, my own book was set in an unspecified ‘olden days’ when women wore bonnets and crinolines.

If I ever came up with a title, I’m afraid I don’t remember it, nor any of the names I gave my characters.
Accompanied by two other older ladies (possibly mother and a governess?) my sixteen-year-old heroine went on a boat excursion to visit an off-shore lighthouse. There must have been a boatman to pilot it, but I can no longer recall anything at all about him if indeed I gave him an identity.   While on the lighthouse a storm blew up and the ladies were trapped there by the turbulent seas.

My hero was the son of the lighthouse keeper, also sixteen. (Sixteen was the optimum age for romance in my young mind.) Despite warnings not to attempt this, he nobly went out at the height of the storm to make sure the ladies’ boat was well secured. Of course, he slipped on the wet rocks, and was brought back into the lighthouse only half conscious and seriously injured.  Or was he?

The poor chap lay, heroically broken, on the chaise longue (in a lighthouse???)  Instantly going into Florence Nightingale mode to tend to him, my heroine was probably mopping his fevered brow, when he opened his eyes and smiled in a rascally way. He’d been exaggerating his injuries in order to get up close and personal!


I’m afraid I can’t supply a resolution to this tale. Unable to conjure the flirtatious banter required, or any way of conveying a growing attachment between hero and heroine, my imagination and energy failed at this point. Bear in mind that up until this time, my understanding of romantic relationships was confined to the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals that I’d avidly devour whenever they came on the TV on weekend afternoons.

Which writers do you particularly admire?

I love crime fiction and psychological thrillers, but don’t care much for cosy crime. I adore the Kate Atkinson ‘Jackson Brodie’ series, Mark Billingham, Belinda Bauer and Sabine Durrant.  And the new (to me) author, Gillian McAllister.

The historical crime author I love is C J Sansom.  His Shardlake series, set in the Henry the Eighth’s reign and just after, is absolutely incomparable.   And I don’t usually like historical fiction!

For humour and a wonderfully intelligent and witty insights into life and relationships, I love David Nicholls.

In ‘Women’s Fictions’ I am not much of a romance reader, but I love those books about relationships that are a bit more edgy.  Authors such as Lisa Jewell, Marian Keyes and Jo Jo Moyes.  Jo Jo’s books, which are typically more challenging, is the author I most closely identify with.


What do you love about writing?

Creating a believable world, and the characters to inhabit it.  I still sometimes experience a moment of wonder, thinking: None of this existed before I dreamt it up! 

What do you hate about writing?

I am not a plotter.  I have to begin by developing a scenario in which my primary characters meet, then create a back-story for each of them - initially to explain why they are there - and then to begin to establish their motivation. What happens next is often a complete blank.  Insights into my characters, and inspiration about how their developing stories interact, only occur to me once I am embarked on the story.  It means I can’t write a rough draft quickly.  The initial draft progresses slowly, in fits and starts, with loads of editing and toing and froing back and forth through the script. There usually comes a point where I become more certain of where I am going and caught up in the wonder I talked about in the previous question. In other words, until that magic moment, beginning a new novel is like wading through treacle!

Describe your ‘portfolio’ of writing 

Though I have been writing for a long time I don’t have that many published works to my name.

JUST BEFORE DAWN and DESIRES and DREAMS were published by Love Stories. JBD was also published in a Polish version.  The rather strange cover pictures a close-up of a woman's face with what looks lie a cocktail umbrella stuck on her nose!

I independently self-published TORN, LIFE CLASS and FLY or FALL.
The latter three books were then republished by Accent Press.
All three have won a Chill with a Book award. http://www.chillwithabook.com/

I had a short story, Holiday Romance published in TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY the anthology of short stories, by members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.


What is your proudest achievement?

When my first book – JUST BEFORE DAWN - was published.  Though I’d continued to write as a teenager, I’d not taken the hobby seriously.  I was not clever or educated enough to aspire to be a real writer. I stopped when I went from school to art college. I only started writing again, this time with the serious intention of trying to find a publisher, in order to give myself an income  which would enable me to stay at home with my son.
But what started simply as an attempt to make a contribution to the family budget, morphed into an obsession.  This was JUST BEFORE DAWN, the first book I had ever finished. Within four months of completion I was in talks with Love Stories, a small new publisher whose ambition was to fill a niche for more unconventional and edgy romantic fiction than was supplied by Mills and Boon.  Love Stories also published my second book, DESIRES & DREAMS within a year. Sadly, Love Stories went to out of business unable to fight the big boys in the industry.

Looking back, I am even more proud, given how hard I found it to repeat the trick.

What is your current project?

My current project is set in the world of costume design.  I can’t say a lot about it, as I am only a quarter of the way through, and if you read my “What do you hate about writing?” answer, you will know that even I don’t quite know yet how it is going to pan out.  But my last book, which is waiting in the wings to be published, is BURIED TREASURE. I have had great fun designing the cover.


One of the images I played around with
To give you a flavour, I’ll first give a bit of background that led to the writing of the book.
I’ve been involved for many years in the organisation of biannual conferences held at Queens’ College, Cambridge. I also have personal experience of, and interest in, archaeology.  My great uncle Sydney Ford uncovered the hoard of silver Roman table-ware, known as the Mildenhall Treasure, on his Suffolk farm. It is one of the most famous UK discoveries housed in the British Museum.   My son, Thomas Williams is a curator at the British Museum and the author of Viking Britain (for which I also provided illustrations), and of the upcoming Viking London, published by William Collins.

Given all the above I decided it would be fun to weave together these threads and create the story that became........


BURIED TREASURE
it's not always what it seems 
Educating Rita meets Time Team, when the conference planner meets the university lecturer. Their backgrounds could hardly be further apart, their expectations in life more different, and, more importantly there is no wish or reason on either side that they should ever connect again. But they have more in common than they could ever have imagined.  Each have unresolved issues from the past which have marked them. Each has an archaeological puzzle they want to solve. They’re stories intertwine and they discover together that treasure isn’t always what it seems. 

The official cover reveal is happening on June 8.  Until then, watch this place.