The Unravelling: Mines and Daisies

I’ve written about families rocked by crime, about hidden secrets and domestic violence, where the criminals are close relatives or complete strangers, but I usually accept the normal assumption that they will be adults, even if children can be their victims. In The Unravelling I broke free to write about criminal intent among children. KarenContinue reading “The Unravelling: Mines and Daisies”

Long Shadows: historical minds

Although I write crime novels, I feel happiest writing historical fiction. History was always my favourite subject at school – not the history of kings, generals and politicians but the history of everyday life and the exploration of a past when people thought, felt and believed differently. When I wrote Shadows, I set it inContinue reading “Long Shadows: historical minds”

Believe It Or Not: paranormal fiction

When my father left the air force at the end of World War II with a bit of money in his pocket, he spent some of it on a complete set of the latest edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. I still have it, well worn, with some of the 24 spines barely legible any more.Continue reading “Believe It Or Not: paranormal fiction”

The House that Time Built

In case anyone hasn’t noticed, I like houses. I like to treat them as characters in my books, sometimes even the central character. Just as dogs are supposed to resemble their owners – or is it the other way round? – houses reflect the people that live in them. It’s something that has long beenContinue reading “The House that Time Built”

Back and Forth; prequels and sequels

I love reading book series. My shelves are filled with them, from Trollope’s Barchester Chronicles to Poldark via John le Carré’s Smiley books and Earthsea. There is something comforting about being able to follow one story as it winds on through the years, or one character who keeps marching on down different alleys. But thoughContinue reading “Back and Forth; prequels and sequels”

The Question Is…

I write novels which are more concerned with motivation and effect that with who, when and where, because, for me, characters provide the central element of a good story. Just to be conventional, I am willing to concede that a novel also needs a plot, to carry the reader from A to B, preferably byContinue reading “The Question Is…”

Gwen and Other Names

A choice of names for characters is always tricky. Never have too many characters with names starting with the same letter. And never use the same name twice, even though, in real life, you probably know half a dozen Janes and Jameses. Maybe go for names that have a certain significance, athough sometimes the author’sContinue reading “Gwen and Other Names”