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”

In Praise of Dots…

“He threw his manly arms around her, carried her to the bed and …” That was how scenes involving people, you know, DOING IT, used to end. Dot dot dot. Leaving school girls giggling and fantasising about what the dots actually implied. Then baldly honest liberation intervened, the dots disappeared and we readers were draggedContinue reading “In Praise of Dots…”

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”

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?”