What would Elizabeth Bennet have eaten? - photo of flummery dessert

“What would Elizabeth Bennet have eaten?” should not really be a question dwelt upon by an historical fiction author writing about the 17th century. However Elizabeth Bennet is my spirit animal. I’m a huge Jane Austen fan. When I head to La Muse Writers Retreat in France the DVD of Pride and Prejudice always accompanies […]

Jericho Writers Review - pen, book and clock

Getting your book published is tough. In the UK there are many events where you can get information, but it’s harder when you don’t live in London. As a resident of York, I’m always on the look-out for good online resources. I first came across best-selling author Harry Bingham, head of Jericho Writers online members […]

Bernard Cornwell - tips from a master of historical fiction

Bernard Cornwell has written over 55 novels and sold more than 20 million books worldwide. 20 million. Just let that sink in. He’s one of my favourite novelists. I devoured the Sharpe series and am now into his Uhtred Saxon/Dane epic. UK appearances are rare as he lives in America. So I jumped at the […]

Invisible Agents review - Pieter de Hooch woman giving coin to servant

Review: Invisible Agents: Women and Espionage in Seventeenth-Century Britain by Dr Nadine Akkerman Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ A book on the real-life equivalents of my novel’s Royalist she-spy is Christmas come early. When I saw that even the dedication was written in code, I knew I was in for a treat. In safe hands The Interregnum – […]

Review of RSC's 2016/17 The Rover by Aphra Behn

While researching my dissertation on Aphra Behn, I found her short-lived career as a spy fascinating. When I picked up The Rover its alternative title of The Banish’d Cavaliers made me wonder – what did those flamboyant losers of the English Civil Wars get up to when Oliver Cromwell was in power? And so the […]

Twitter pitches - Pieter Aertsen's Marketseller

For any unpublished author with a Twitter account, #PitchCB is the stuff of legend. On the fourth Friday of every month, the UK literary agents of Curtis Brown invite Twitter pitches. Here are the guidelines. On 22 April 2016, I joined the hoards – probably about 300 of us – with this: 1653. Oliver Cromwell’s […]

Writing Retreat option - La Muse in France

“I do not know of any creative soul who does not dream of calm, cool, grass-growing days in which to work without interruption.” When I read this glorious sentence from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, I sighed in agreement. I find it tough to switch from my ‘Business Head’ of being a copywriter to my ‘Book […]