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I’ve seen the Future – London Author Fair, The Hospital Club, Covent Garden.



At first sight, the programme for the first ever London Author Fair looked interesting, yet so much looks interesting these days, particularly if you’re the type of writer who finds business fascinating.

So after weighing up the pros and cons, money invested, energy expended, and a whole day writing sucked away forever – I used the first ever London Author Fair as a totally, valid excuse to whiz to the capital and procrastinate with all the other authors in attendance. However, if I thought a lazy day, swanning about, taking leisurely notes was on the cards, I was in for a short, sharp, kick in the pants.

BF2The London Author Fair was high energy, full-on, non-stop and totally absorbing. With no less than 21 workshops – running con-currently – nine seminars and over 50 publishing professionals giving talks, hosting, teaching, sharing their expertise and industry knowledge; it was one of those days where I wanted to put everything on a memory stick and download it directly into my brain.

It managed to be a huge event and a one-to-one experience at the same time. I chatted with well- known literary agents, a couple of journalists, made friends with award-winning authors, learned about Discoverability – yes, there was some pretty amazing American input throughout – and generally had a brilliant day. All made even more pleasurable by the arrival of best-selling authoress and chum , Adele Parks, who spoke eloquently and realistically about the industry, making a staunch and much applauded defence of good books and good writing whatever the genre, length or format.

In short, the industry is not changing, it HAS changed; the task now is managing change; but fear not, I’ve seen the future, and it’s definitely author-shaped!




Getting Down With the Kids – World Book Day


Skool1I’d been thinking about doing something for World Book Day as it drew closer, remembering that last year it came upon me suddenly and being my first World Book Day as an author, I felt obliged to play some small part. I’d planned a busy ‘three centre’ day, which included collecting train tickets from Market Harborough, a business meeting in Birmingham and a nip to Lutterworth for emergency supplies. So having recently published my debut novel, I did no more than throw a few copies in a bag, vaguely hoping an opportunity would present itself.

I quickly realised dragging a bagful of hefty tomes around with me was folly, so made a swift decision to dole them out to the mismatched selection of females I was to encounter that day. This included the woman behind the glass at the station, a marketing director in a smart city hotel, a Waitrose check-out lady and finally a pretty dark-haired girl in the post office. The surprise, bemusement and delight each gift bestowed was thanks enough, and I considered my personal contribution to last year’s World Book Day a small success.

Having established this ‘new ‘ tradition – I was thrilled when a cousin – of whom I have many, being Irish – seconded me as ‘Author in Residence’ for World Book Day at the primary school where she works. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was dressed as their favourite fictional character. I hugged a beautiful Cat in the Hat (my cousin); bumped into any amount of Harry Potters and Hermiones; waved to Snow White; chatted studiously with the Lion from the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and was brought biscuits by War Horse.

After the most colourful assembly I’ve ever encountered, I was introduced to my Writer Stars – five shining examples of all that is good about the education system – and we got straight down to our Workshop. We were a publishing ‘house’; each student decided their genre, what their latest novel was to be called, then wrote a synopsis, a blurb, a dedication and most importantly came up with a pen name.

I then morphed into a Hollywood movie producer and they each pitched their book to me, with the rest of the team acting as a panel, X Factor style. To say I was impressed with their creative talent, grasp of language and vocabulary is an understatement, I was blown away. But it was their imagination that really shone; we encountered Russian princesses, broken families, war and fantasy heroes, horror, unrequited love and some very funny writing indeed. We had the greatest fun and I had the best of times, it was a privilege to be with these awesome and delightful young people. As I left, I gave books that had inspired me to the children, and my novels to the teachers, because you know, there’s nothing like the gift of a book, it comes with a free smile!



What She Said!

Lizzie and Adrienne’s Literary Lunch


In a trail blazing moment the New Romantics 4 hosted a literary lunch at The Belmont Hotel, Leicester. (See the poster on our EVENTS page) Adrienne secured the gig through a long-standing business connection and co-presented it with Lizzie. The event was part of Leicester’s 2013 Book Fest and fitted in well with the NR4’s aims to bring their books to the attention of a wider audience. The majority of the twenty-three ladies who attended the lunch were businesswomen – although one brave gentleman (Rodney!) and a fellow writer (Lilian) bought a ticket, too.

photo-10 Fortunately, Adrienne and Lizzie are no strangers to public speaking – so, the event held no terrors for them. Adrienne regularly gives talks to business leaders as part of her role as a MD and PR consultant; and after 34 years in education Lizzie declared that the audience was better behaved than the 350 primary children she regularly ‘entertained’ during school assembly.

The lunch consisted of a complementary drink and three courses followed by coffee – and the time simply whizzed by. The first talk was down to Adrienne and she described her reasons for becoming a writer. When it was Lizzie’s turn, she simply pointed to Adrienne and declared: “What she said!” – much to the amusement of the lunch guests. Between courses, Adrienne and Lizzie gave brief précis of their novels and then read an extract. This was followed by a question and answer session after a delicious dessert.

Their lunch guests were interested in all aspects of writing and were keen to know

  • where Lizzie and Adrienne they got their ideas from
  • if they’d be writing a sequel
  • were their heroes based on real men
  • how closely the heroines mirrored THEM !
  • what was their next novel called and when would it be published

photo-12To round off a very pleasant lunch, Lizzie and Adrienne read a further extract for their novels, posed questions and awarded a prize to the winning entries. There was a quick signing session of the guests’ complimentary copies of Tall, Dark and Kilted and The Hollow Heart (cleverly included in the cost of the luncheon) and then the hard working executives returned to their businesses. During a short de-briefing session, the literary lunch was pronounced a great success and it is hoped that June and Mags will host a similar event lunch sometime this autumn when the New Romantics 4 publish their second novels.


Tom for blog My first blog ever and I’m following Lizzie Lamb, Adrienne Vaughan and June Kearns!

Before I learnt to read, my youngest aunt loved to read to me, except when I asked to hear more of The Water Babies.  Aunt Ede preferred fairy tales or any Beatrix Potter.  I loved those too but I wanted to know what happened to Tom.  All her life Aunt read only romance so what she probably hated most in The Water Babies was the ending:

“And of course Tom married Ellie!”  My dear child, what a silly notion!

Water Babies for blogDespite most of it going over my head, I believe The Water Babies sowed the seeds of my yen to write fiction.  As you can see I still have that book.

I’ve loved books forever, couldn’t wait to learn to read, and I wrote, letters, a sort of diary to my absent mother.  As an only and adopted child, inherent loner and compulsive reader, I spent hours curled in a cavernous armchair, like most of my generation, immersed in Enid Blyton, Richmal Compton, the classics – Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, Three Musketeers, Little Women – how those March girls got on my wick. I thought, one day I would like to write a book.

What sort of book?

Read since Christmas 2012 No.1As you can see from the picture of my recent paperback reads, I don’t favour any particular genre.  On Kindle, since Christmas I’ve also read, Up Close by Henriette Gyland, Terry Tyler’s Dream On and the first two volumes of Peter May’s  Lewis trilogy.   None of these diverse books, in my opinion, are worthy of less than 5 stars, and I have just finished The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.  Set in the early 1980s, Eugenides shows not tells how, despite ‘deconstruction’, the novel today remains essentially the same as Austen’s.  Like any of Jane’s, and many other ‘literary’ works, it’s about the nature of human love.

So what sort of book, when I finally came to write it, is Last Bite of the Cherry?

Dark romance, Lizzie says.  My heroine, Monica says, “I don’t want to get married.  Not ever.  I want to live”.   Also a quote from one of my Amazon reviewers – “The three interwoven love stories keep up a fast pace which made it very hard to put down.”   And thanks to New Romantics 4 it’s out there being read.

ThistleAnd why the thistle, pleasant to look at yet prickly?  Symbolic of Last Bite of the Cherry and my next novel, Twins of a Gazelle.