Pieces of string and the importance of length

Back when I was at university there was a story doing the rounds about a tutor’s response to the question ‘how long should an undergraduate essay be?’. ‘As long as girl’s skirt,’ he is alleged to have answered, ‘long enough to cover the essentials, short enough to be interesting.’  This might have been what passed for wit back in 1988 when women were still banned from wearing trousers in lots … Read the full entry

Just Like Proper Grown-ups out today in paperback

Paperback publication is a strange one – in a way much more important than hardback since it’s when the copies will be sold in greater numbers. But given that it follows on some months afterwards, it can feel anticlimactic. You’ve concentrated most of your efforts to self-promote around hardback time and, if you have one, your party is then. So with the paperback it’s all down to the hardworking sales … Read the full entry

Just Like Proper Grown-ups out in paperback

Yes, on the 28 February Just Like Proper Grown-ups will be out in paperback at all good retailers and all that at a very reasonable £6.99 (and no doubt some bargain offers out there too). I’m currently writing a slightly embarrassing piece to push it (I’ll remain coy though I don’t know why since it will be out there next week for all to see). I’m having my photo taken this … Read the full entry

The comforts of a coming-of-age novel The comforts of a coming-of-age novel

The team behind the building of my website have launched a new website called Nudge with lots of great content including a section on books. I’ve written a piece for them on a few of my favourite coming-of-age novels here, which to me are always about bookish young girls dreaming of a more glamorous life. Even writing about them made me feel nostalgic, both for being a bookish young girl and also … Read the full entry

Some reviews for Just Like Proper Grown-ups

Back from holiday, back to school, back to trying to update my blog on a relatively regular basis… Wendy Holden in the Daily Mail wrote a pretty positive review of the book (‘deliciously rude’ apparently, not sure my parents would agree). And The Lady, too, thought it was a ‘hugely witty read’. Another review, also good phew, can be found here at Fabulous. Since that’s behind a paywall, here’s a … Read the full entry

My new book out today…

To update the last post written a week ago about how my book is out ‘next week’, it’s now upon us. Just Like Proper Grown-ups is published today and available in all good bookshops, Amazon etc. It feels a little anti-climactic because, let’s face it, at the moment you’re nothing if you’re not an Olympian. I’d like to draw parallels between the athlete’s dedication and hard graft and the way that … Read the full entry

My new book is out next week and here's the cover My new book is out next week and here’s the cover

In the excitement of the Olympics and the summer holidays, I’ve almost forgotten that my book Just Like Proper Grown-ups is out in hardcover on the 16th August. It can be pre-ordered on Amazon and available in all good bookshops and all that. It’s so easy to get distracted when I finished it exactly a year ago and am already in the thick of the next one. The publishing schedule … Read the full entry

Fixabook’s thoughts on the paperback cover

Fixabook.com is a brilliant site authored by two graphic designers with a ferocious interest in book design and covers. All publishers are beware of their merciless eye for a much-aped trend. They’ve turned their gaze towards the paperback cover for The Pile. I’m thrilled to report that, essentially, they love it. Here are their thoughts, generally welcoming it as a fresh approach to the genre: ‘At long, long last… a women’s … Read the full entry

Book groups and their scrutiny

I was compiling my kids’ school’s PTA newsletter this morning including an item on a local author and friend’s novel being the chosen work for this month’s parent book club.* My first response was envy given that book clubs are such a great way of selling lots of copies of your book. Why wasn’t mine chosen, stalwart parent that I am? Then of course this was followed by relief, since … Read the full entry

Confessional writing (my own and other people’s)

There’s been a lot written about ‘confessional writing’ recently (which usually involves yet more confessing as well as referencing previous confessions). There were Yvonne Roberts and Lucy Cavendish in the Guardian last Saturday, and then in its sister paper, the Observer, the following day a similar piece in which the topic was discussed by Christa D’Souza and Tim Lott. This was all in response to  Rachel Cusk’s book Aftermath in which she discusses … Read the full entry

Paperback publication day is here Paperback publication day is here

Today is the day of the paperback release of The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs. It is not marked by a launch party and a new frock, rather by looking after my children since it’s half-term week. In fact, paperback publication is odd, like a renewal of wedding vows without any sort of party, but in many ways it’s more important than its hardback equivalent since it’s … Read the full entry