What I’ve Learned Writing Six Books (and counting)

   New writers often ask me: does it get easier after the first book? And of course in some ways it does. Doing something difficult once gives you confidence and permission to do it again. But ask a novelist who’s published 22 books which was the hardest to write and I bet she’ll answer,...

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You Couldn’t Make It Up! On Plausibility

  Implausible. It’s not a word any writer wants to hear about their book. But with the market increasingly competitive, everyone wants their novel to be the high-concept book that everyone’s talking about. The bar for original, compelling, outlandish plots is getting higher by the year -...

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How I Make It Work

I’m usually up at about 5.30am. As a busy working mum, I think it’s so important to carve some time out of the day that’s just for me. Most days I flail dramatically into palpitating wakefulness before the sun rises, still wired from the litre of Pepsi Max I downed the previous day to...

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Ruth Rendell, 1930-2015

When I was very little I had a picture book called The Story Snail, about a lonely little boy who wanted to tell stories but didn’t know how to begin. He was befriended by a giant talking snail who told him one hundred wonderful stories, which the boy then shared with his new friends. When they...

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On Teaching

About once a year, someone stirs up the controversy over whether creative writing can ever really be taught. Enough has been written about this so all I’ll say is that while you can’t instil talent, you can definitely hone it and that, to paraphrase Monica from Friends, sometimes you need rules...

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The Long Goodbye

I’ve just finished the copy edits on my latest novel, The Ties That Bind, which will be published by Hodder next May. I feel that I ought to be ecstatic. I've worked on this book nearly every day for the best part of a year and I should be glad to see the back of it. But instead, I'm reluctant to...

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