The mortification of the author photo

I’ve tried, but I can’t put it off any longer – it’s time for a new author photo. I hate them. Childbirth would be preferable and I think I probably look better in the throes of that than I do squinting and squirming into a camera lens. I worked in a newspaper office once and it was curious to see how many people there were wandering around the building who resembled … Read the full entry

I pack my husband’s holiday books – is that wrong?

I remember once discovering that a friend did her husband’s holiday packing for him. The toothbrush, the pants, the shaving foam, the extra-strength anti-perspirant. The works. I was shocked. It seemed both controlling and subservient to be taking over such a basic adult task. My friend seemed to be infantalising her husband and belittling her own time to take over what is a boring but essential task. Yes she was … Read the full entry

Are you and your house absolutely stuffed?

There’s a great neologism ‘suffocation’ to describe the way so many of us feel overwhelmed by all the things that silt up our houses and, by extension, our brains. It’s part of what I was trying to address in The Pile of Stuff, the way that it can become symbolic of the lack of control we feel generally. I’ve written a piece about this for this month’s Woman & Home. I think many of … Read the full entry

From comfy slippers to taxi shoes - publicising books From comfy slippers to taxi shoes – publicising books

The contrast between writing books and publicizing them is like the difference in wearing comfy slippers and vertiginous heels. And I mean that literally as much as metaphorically. Writing is about being alone or, if like me you work in a library or cafe, alone among others. Your only company is your characters and, as mine are never straightforwardly heroic or sympathetic, this is not the jolliest of parties. Well-meaning … Read the full entry

The, ahem, creative process The, ahem, creative process

Back in March I wrote a guest blog for Jon Rance, a very talented novelist who not only writes clever books, he’s also clearly much better at blog creation and updating than I am. (That’s his book cover on the right). It expresses quite well the way that I feel about the ‘creative process’ in that, in my case, it feels anything but. The more ruthless, uptight and organised I … Read the full entry

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