Save the Modern Slavery Helpline

The Modern Slavery Helpline run by the charity Unseen UK is at risk of closing if new funding can't be raised. I'm re-sharing a blog I wrote recently for Unseen that explains why I support their work. If you want to help the appeal, the link to their website is below.


Book Review: The Rule Breaker's Guide to Step Up and Stand Out

Thanks to the publisher for sending me an advance copy of The Rule Breaker's Guide to Step Up and Stand Out by saxophonist, poet, speaker and performer, Georgia Varjas. Here is my review.


When Life Becomes Fiction

This article first appeared as a guest post as part of my blog tour for Lies Behind the Ruin. I'm grateful to Books, Life and Everything for hosting me and have included the link to the website.


Brexit: Deal or no deal? Read this if you’re planning to travel to Europe at Easter

Like it or loathe it, we need to talk about Brexit. The date has been a movable feast, but could sneak up on us. If that happens, would you be prepared? And what date is it anyway? The original date was 29th March but the government turned back from that cliff edge. The next date on the calendar for leaving (if there’s no deal) is 12th April. If a deal is voted through, the date would be 22nd May and, under that scenario we would be leaving with a deal, so there would be a transition period until 2020 giving us time to get our heads around new arrangements for travellers before they kick in.


Baptiste – a dark and gripping drama but something was missing…

My review of the BBC’s dark, gripping thriller Baptiste. Centre stage of this drama was a crowded place with characters jostling for their stories to be heard. But who’s story was this, anyway? Stay with me – I’ll explain.


Field of Dreams (Revisited)

Who would live in a house like this? In the summer of 2000, while on a camping holiday in France, my husband and I impulse-bought a dilapidated farm building. I’ve always wanted to use that experience in fiction and my new novel Lies Behind the Ruin opens with the Willshire family making a similar rash decision to purchase a French ruin. There the similarity ends. The Willshires’ story is one of darkness, loss and danger and you can read about it in Lies Behind the Ruin - available for pre-order now. Our experience, on the other hand, was reckless, but ultimately became a joy.


A Conversation with Author Helen Matthews (by G J Stevens)

Here's a link to an interview I did for the website of fellow author, G Stevens. He quizzed me on what I'd learned about book promotion and publicity.


'When I was one I had just begun' - celebrating my debut novel's first birthday

My debut novel After Leaving the Village reaches its first birthday on 12th October so I'm looking back and reflecting on what a whirlwind the year has been.


Enforced time out for writers

This blog is about trying to write while recovering from injury or illness, and my tips for rehab of a broken ankle. Maybe it will be useful for someone, somewhere.


Bookseller for a Day

Readers of my blog may remember it's been my lifelong ambition to work in, or perhaps own, a bookshop and I’ve written about this in a post called Flirting with Bookshops. Thanks to Leatherhead bookseller, Peter Snell I finally achieved my wish and took a day off from writing books to step behind the shop counter and sell them.


Getting your Book into Libraries

In these times of austerity, how can authors can get their books into libraries; why it's worth doing and a few tips on how writers can support libraries in return.


Helping Hands - (broadcast more than a decade ago on BBC Home Truths)

With her househusband gone, Helen Matthews has to rely on hired hands to look after her young persons... This article from 10+ years ago foreshadows the sub-plot digital detox theme of my novel 'After Leaving the Village'. Some of you may have read it. I am reposting because I have found a photo of the wonderful Brano.


Children and the Internet - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

This is an article I wrote for the online magazine Female First. It links to the sub-plot of my novel After Leaving the Village


Flirting with Bookshops

I woke up this morning and discovered it was National Bookshop Day. Is this an oxymoron, I wondered? Surely every day should be bookshop day? As a writer, I believe sustenance from reading is more important than eating. Bookshops exist to feed that addiction.


Author Platform - is it time to step up?

What I've learned about creating an author platform on social media. Mine is still a work in progress.


Albania - reasons to visit soon

As a travel destination Albania is an under-discovered gem. How many of your friends have been there? I’m guessing not many.


Albania - beyond the bunkers

If bunkers are your thing, Albania has them in abundance. But how many exactly?


The Writing Addiction - A Writer's Journey

I often write about travel but getting a novel published is also a journey. The road twists and turns, there are cliff edges and dead ends but the compulsion to write drives us on.


Tirana in Pictures

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. As a writer, I’m programmed to go for the words but today I'll keep quiet and let these photos tell their own story.


Berat: a window on Albania

Berat, the city of a thousand windows and a UNESCO world heritage site since 2008, could stand as a metaphor for Albania.


Varanasi: Death and Life on the Ganges

Mist shrouds the crumbling buildings, concealing plastic bottles and garbage dumped on the steps of Varanasi’s magnificent ghats...


India: Brief Encounters

India’s fastest train, the Shatabdi Express is running on Indian time: forty minutes late, but could arrive at any moment...


Jailhouse Rocks in Chiang Mai

Pink and gold clouds churn up the sky as dawn breaks over Chiang Mai...


Cuba and the Importance of Being Ernest

We’re in Havana on the trail of Ernest Hemingway. First stop is his drinking haunt, the Floridita, where he invented a new, stronger Daiquiri recipe...


Advocacy through Fiction: A Book Might Change Your Life (or Someone Else's)

Christmas is a good time to open our eyes and our hearts to the plight of others. In this article, I consider whether fiction has a role in advocacy.