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…”

Apples and Other Memories

My novel, The Unravelling, begins with Karen Rothwell driving home from work on a miserable night. An apple drops from her bag and rolls into a gutter. That is enough to spark memories of a girl she hasn’t thought about for 35 years. I don’t think I have been blocking out any memories, all theseContinue reading “Apples and Other Memories”

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”

So Clear, So Obvious

There’s a difference between writing history and writing historical fiction, but sometimes the two can overlap. Write about a real historical character and the author has to do all the research that an academic historian would. The facts are there and cannot be changed. The difference is that the author of fiction is free toContinue reading “So Clear, So Obvious”

What’s in a Genre?

When I first moved from seriously obsessive scribbling to trying to get someone else to appreciate what I’d written, the first question confronting me was ‘what genre do I write in?’ People want to know. At least publishers want to know, and agents and librarians and book shop owners, not to mention readers. This canContinue reading “What’s in a Genre?”

Crime with a Welsh Twist

Everyone knows Scandi Noir. Scottish Crime Writing is a phenomenon that makes its voice heard loudly. Not so many people know about Welsh crime writing, though they have probably watched Welsh crime dramas like Hinterland and Keeping Faith. But there are a lot of Welsh crime writers (like me) and we have a Presence: weContinue reading “Crime with a Welsh Twist”

Being over-nice about words

There are some words that literally drive me mad. Well no, not literally. Figuratively. They annoy me, but that doesn’t mean I have literally been declared insane as a result or have had to seek psychiatric help. The first of them is ‘Literally,’ which does not mean figuratively. It means the opposite of figuratively, andContinue reading “Being over-nice about words”

Swimming with the Editing Current

This was a post I wrote years ago, after a particularly harrowing session of editing. If you want to write, there are rules you have to follow. Apparently. What I want to know is, who set these rules? And what will happen to me if I disobey them? I would really like to disobey them,Continue reading “Swimming with the Editing Current”