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In The Spotlight Guest Blog Author Juliet Greenwood….

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Interview with

LINDSAY ASHFORD

AUTHOR OF

‘THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF MISS AUSTEN’

 This week fellow Honno author Lindsay Ashford’s ‘The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen’ is the Radio 4 Woman’s Hour serial.

I loved the book, and can’t wait to hear the radio version.

And congratulations to Lindsay for winning her Mastermind heat this week. Exciting times, indeed!

 

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This interview with was originally posted in 2011, when ‘The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen’ was published. 

Today, on December 16th, Jane Austen’s birthday, it’s my great pleasure to interview Lindsay Ashford, acclaimed crime-novelist and journalist, and author of ‘The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen’, recently published by Honno Press.  ‘The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen’ is also the first of Honno’s books to be available for download as an ebook. 

Most appropriately, I chatted to Lindsay while she was in Chawton House in Hertfordshire, the former home of Jane Austen’s brother, and so a place familiar to Jane Austen herself, and now home to a unique collection of books focusing on women’s writing in English from 1600 – 1830. The Chawton House Library also works closely with Jane Austen’s House Museum. So a perfect setting!

Lindsay Ashford is best known for her popular gritty contemporary crime series featuring forensic psychologist Megan Rhys. So I began by asking what had inspired her to delve into the past to write a historical mystery? Lindsay explained that it was when her partner was offered the chance to work for Chawton Library that she began to spend time there, as they divided their time between Chawton and their home in Wales.

 Gradually, she became fascinated by the letters and archive material in the library and found herself being draw into the world of Jane Austen’s family. While reading Jane’s letters, she came across Jane’s description of her final illness: ‘I am considerably better now and am recovering my looks a little, which have been bad enough, black and white and every wrong colour.’

For a writer who has studied criminology and researched the symptoms of arsenic poisoning for her Megan Rhys books, alarms bells immediately began to ring.… But it was only when, not long afterwards, she met the former president of the Jane Austen Society of North America, who told her that a lock of hair which is now in a nearby museum had been tested for arsenic by its former owners and come up as positive, that the kernel of a story began to stir. The writer’s mind began working on ‘what if’. Just supposing Jane Austen had been murdered rather than died of ignorance of the effects of arsenic in treatments for rheumatism, then who in her immediate circle might have wanted her out of the way, and why? And so ‘The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen’ was born.

I then asked Lindsay what she found as a challenge in writing a historical fiction book rather than a modern urban thriller and was this research process very different from when she is researching her Megan Rhys books, such as ‘Frozen’ and ‘The Killer Inside‘?

 Lindsay explained that she found it more relaxing in one way undertaking the historical research. Keeping up with all the latest forensic tecniques, when so many people are so knowledgeable about them nowadays (thanks to all the police ‘procedurals’ in print and on TV) is demanding when researching her Megan Rhys books. On the other hand, writing a novel in a historical setting meant making sure every detail of setting and language rang true, which meant checking everything to make sure there were no glaring mistakes.

Lindsay tells ‘The  Mysterious Death of Miss Austen’ very much in her own style. As Jane Austen’s own writing is so much a part of our psyche, I wondered if Lindsay had found it difficult not to imitate her style, or unconsciously lift bits from her books, especially as there are shades of so many of her well-known characters in the novel. Lindsay explained that she had not really read much Jane Austen since she was at school, when she had really been too young to appreciate the perceptiveness and humour. When she first arrived at Chawton, she read all of the novels and so came to them with a fresh eye. Something she feels was definitely an advantage when she began researching Jane Austen’s family for ‘The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen’.

Fortunately, after living with Jane Austen as a character in her head, Lindsay can switch off from all her research and still very much enjoy all Jane Austen’s novels now. Lindsay’s favourite is ‘Persuasion’ and Anne Elliot is her favourite heroine. When I asked Lindsay if she had a favourite hero, she confessed to having a soft spot for Greg Wise as the caddish Willoughby in Emma Thompson’s film version of ‘Sense and Sensibility’. And I’m definitely not going to argue with that!

Lindsay says she would like to tackle another historical mystery at some point, possibly set in the Regency period – but probably not with real historical characters so closely involved. Which sounds intriguing.

And lastly, I asked Lindsay about her experience of working with the wonderful editors at Honno Press, and if she had any tips for aspiring writers. Lindsay confessed that – like most published writers – she has a draw full of rejections for her work, alongside novels that will never see the light of day. Again like many published writers, it was only when she began to work with an editor that she began to truly perfect her craft. For her, she says, an editor is an impartial eye that will tell you just as it is. It will not be kind, like friends and family will be tempted to be, but a good editor will give a new writer the benefit of years of experience. Lindsay’s advice is to listen and learn. Even an experienced writer still needs the input of an editor, as every writer gets so close to their story it’s quite impossible to see it with a clear eye. Even for ‘The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen’, it took about four drafts to get the book right and the best it can be. There’s always room to learn!

And so thank you to Lindsay Ashford for being interviewed for my blog!

About Lindsay:

Lindsay Ashford became the first woman to graduate from Queens’ College, Cambridge in its 550 year history. She gained a degree in Criminology. Lindsay Ashford was then employed as a reporter for the BBC before becoming a freelance journalist, writing for a number of national magazines and newspapers.

 In 1996, Lindsay took a crime writing course run by the Arvon Foundation. Her first book, Frozen, was published by Honno in 2003. ‘Strange Blood’, also featuring forensic psychologist Megan Rhys was shortlisted for the 2006 Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. She wrote The Rubber Woman for the Quick Reads series in 2007.

 ‘The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen’ is published by Honno Press.

You can find Lindsay at her website:

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Today I have great pleasure in welcoming fellow Honno author, Jo Verity, to the blog.

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Jo is an award-winning writer of short stories, novels and poetry. Her stories and articles have been  broadcast on Radio 4, and she has been a finalist in the Mslexia International Short Story Competition . In 2003, she was the winner of the Richard & Judy Short Story prize.

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A very warm welcome to the blog, Jo.  Can I start by asking how you began writing? Did you always want to be a writer?

I’ve always been a reader but, until 1999, it had never crossed my mind that I might be a writer.

That year, I’d planned to fly to Budapest to link up with Ruth, an American acquaintance – an eccentric Jewish zen-buddhist sculptor whom I’d first met in Prague when I was Inter-railing several years earlier – but, at the last moment, she cried off. At the time I was working as a medical graphic artist at the Dental School in Cardiff. I’d booked a week’s leave and I decided to use the week to get to grips with my new PC – a daunting task for a non-techie in those days. I needed a document to practice saving, copying etc. and my husband, bless him, suggested I ‘write something’. I was cheesed off at missing my trip, cross with Ruth for letting me down, and I got this off my chest by writing a story with her as my central character. By the end of that week I knew I wanted to write – but I never dreamed I would get ‘stuff’ published.

2. Do you feel there were advantages to not having your first novel published until you were older? Did you feel you benefitted from more life experience, or were you afraid you had started too late?

My first novel – ‘Everything in the Garden’ was published in 2005. I’d been writing for 6 years by then which is probably pretty average for novelists. The fact that I started writing late (I jo-verity-656477782was 54) seemed like no big deal. It certainly didn’t cross my mind that it was ‘too late’. And there were many advantages. My free time was pretty much my own to do with as I pleased. As a daughter, wife, mother and grandmother, I’d seen life from lots of angles. Having first-hand experience of the events that shape everyone’s life has enabled me to write (perceptively, I hope) about birth, death, marriage and parenthood. All that ‘ordinary stuff’ that becomes suddenly extraordinary when it affects us.

51E3FaUFqUL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX385_SY500_CR,0,0,385,500_SH20_OU02_I choose my protagonists carefully. It’s horses for courses. For instance I would be crazy to attempt to write a novel from a teenager’s point of view. On the other hand, if you want to know what it’s like being responsible for a teenager, you might like to read ‘Not Funny, Not Clever’.

There is one disadvantage to being an older writer. I don’t want to sound bitter here but I’ve come to the conclusion that some agents and publishers are age-ist. To them the author is a commodity. And it’s easier to market a glamorous young thing than a ‘more mature’ person.

3. Do you prefer writing novels or short stories? Or do you enjoy the different discipline each brings?

I love writing both. I recently finished writing a novel – ‘Left and Leaving’ – and before embarking on the next, I’m writing a short story as a sort of palate cleanser cum brain shaker-upper. It’s a mistake (for me, anyway) to try and do both at the same time because I need to stick so closelyto my characters – take my eye off them for a moment and they might wander off.

A novel is a long haul. You have to like your characters because you’re going to spend a couple of years with them. When I start writing a novel I begin with a character or two and a ‘what if’. (In ‘Bells’ it was ‘what if’ a reliable husband stumbles out of his banal routine and into the life he feels he should be living.) I never plot my novels. I let my characters dictate where the story goes and who we might meet on the way. I definitely have no idea how it will end. This keeps it fresh for me, but this organic way of writing means that my characters often lead me down blind alleys and I have to back-track. It makes writing slow. I’m delighted if I can produce five hundred new words in a day.

Short stories are totally different. You have pretty much to have the whole thing in your head before you start. In a few thousand words you must transport the reader to a different world; give them a glimpse of something that might illuminate their own life. There has to be a point to it. There’s no room for waffle. Every word must earn its place. It can be great fun, too, as it allows you to play around with structure and style.

4. And finally, I have to ask what it felt like to win the Richard and Judy short story competition in 2003, and do you feel it helped your writing career. And on a more frivolous note – did you get to meet them?

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 My writing career has been shaped by two pieces of what seemed like bad luck. Firstly, my cancelled holiday and secondly a bout of food poisoning. Were it not for the latter I wouldn’t have been off work lying under the duvet watching the Richard & Judy Show. It was the last call for entries to their short story competition. I happened to have recently finished a story which I thought was okay so I stuck it in the post and forgot about it. Three months later, I got a call saying that my story – ‘Rapid Eye Movement’ – had made it to the last fifteen and inviting me to the show when the winner would be announced. I was thrilled to get that far and had no idea that my story had been judged best (of 17,000!). When Judy read out my name, my only thought was that I was going to have to speak ON LIVE TV. That part is all a bit of a blur. I do remember afterwards, in the green Room, chatting to the judges – Martina Cole, Tony Parsons and Suzy Feay, the then literary editor of The Independent on Sunday. I was incredibly excited to know that three such respected members of the literary world rated something I’d written. I got to meet Richard and Judy, of course, who were EXACTLY as they come over on the TV. Judy would fit in fine with a crowd of women on a shopping weekend. And Richard was, how shall I put it, pretty sure of himself. 

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My prize was a trophy and publication of my story in the Independent.

The best thing about winning was confirmation that someone thought I could write. I naively assumed I would be inundated with offers from agents wanting to take me on. But after a few weeks I accepted that that wasn’t going to happen. Around then I received a letter from Honno Welsh Women’s Press. Had I, by any chance, written anything longer? (‘Short stories by unknown writers don’t sell.’) I had, that very week, finished the first draft of ‘Everything in the Garden’ which Honno published in 2005.

Thank  you for your insight, Jo, which was fascinating. And good luck with your latest novel, ‘Left and Leaving’

51yBOE8soUL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX385_SY500_CR,0,0,385,500_SH20_OU02_“Humane and subtle, a keenly observed exploration of the way we live now… I am amazed that Verity’s work is still such a secret. A great read
Stephen May, author of Life, Death, Prizes

The fifth novel from Richard and Judy Award winner Jo Verity, author of Sweets from Morocco a “pitch perfect evocation of childhood and sibling relationships
Marcel Theroux

Photographer Gil is on an extended grey gap-year, working in
the London hospital to which Vivian brings Irene for emergency
treatment; together they try to establish calm amid the chaos.
Irene is thrilled with her ‘guardian angels’, they less so with her ongoing interest in their lives.

Gil has a girlfriend, living in the same building as him, and a troublesome family back home. Thirty-something Vivian has a high- flying boyfriend, an irascible father and a demanding job. But they keep finding reasons to spend time together in the run up to Christmas. And still there is Irene, intent on filling the holes in her life…

Marooned in Tooting by a sudden snowstorm, Vivian and Gil are forced to spend the holiday confronting secrets and responsibilities they’ve been complacent about for too long.

Wales Book of the Month January 2014

Praise for Left and Leaving

her best yet. It is beautifully written… both rewarding and inspiring and I would recommend it unreservedly.
Ian Kirkpatrick

Humane and subtle, a keenly observed exploration of the way we live now… I am amazed that Verity’s work is still such a secret. A great read
Stephen May, author of Life, Death, Prizes

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Making Rosehip Syrup from a War Time Recipe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Rosehips October 2013Rosehip syrup was used in both world wars as a source of vitamin C and a soothing home remedy for coughs and colds, so as the first rosehips appeared this autumn I was eager to try out the kind of recipe that Elin, the heroine of ‘We That Are Left‘, might have made during the 1914 – 18 war.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With most of my recipes for the book I’ve tried to be as authentic as possible, with many coming from newpapers of the time. But many are also traditional ones that would have been passed down generations of women to keep their families safe and healthy in a world where a visit to the doctor cost money that poorer families simply could not spare. Many older people I spoke to still remember rosehip syrup as a remedy from their childhood. Some remembered gathering the hips, and all remembered the delicious taste as it was spooned into them – much nicer (and of course far cheaper) than shop bought medicine!

There are plenty of recipes still out there. In the end I went with this one from the BBC  ‘Woman’s Hour’ website, which is the one given out by the Ministry of Food in 1943 during the Second World War. You can find the link HERE

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo first I needed to gather 2lbs (900gm) of hips. These would have been crushed, but I used a food processor and a potato masher. They were then put into 3 pints (1.7 litres) of boiling water. I brought it back to the boil then left it for around 15 – 20 mins. The smell was exquisite! My whole house was suffused with a warm, fruity, slightly fluffy scent. I sat there with a cup of tea just breathing it in.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The next part is to strain this through a jelly bag or muslin. It has to be that fine to strain out the hairs that can be an irritant. I got my straining bag from a kitchen shop in Conwy for just a few pounds. The bag is hung up and left to drip. A rusty coloured cloudy liquid appears in the pan underneath. When it’s all done, you can put the rosehips back in a pan and add 852 ml of boiling water and do the whole thing again to get the last bit of goodness out.

Then it was a matter of boiling it all down and until it thickens, then adding just over 1lb (560gr) of sugar and boiling for about 5 mins more. Then it’s ready to bottle.

I’m not sure it’s an exact science. I’d like to keep on experimenting to see the best taste for me. The first batch was delicious and the colour was beautiful, but it was very sweet. Which I suppose is the point, as it needs to keep and it is a syrup to be used in small doses. I haven’t tried it on icecream yet, but it was very soothing when I came down with a cold, and I have to say I recovered very quickly. I did put a small amount in hot water, which was very comforting.

I’m off to find more rosehips, and rosehip syrup is definitely on my list of autumn treats!

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I’ve had a nice write-up in the local paper this week.

Bangor and Anglesey Mail 23rd October 2013

Okay, so the Bangor and Anglesey Mail isn’t exactly world wide coverage, but I know it’s some of the best publicity I can have. I’m always surprised at how many people have read (and remember!) even the smallest bit of information about me that finds its way in there.  I always think I lead this quiet, slightly eccentric, hermit life, quite forgetting I’ve lived and worked all over the North Wales coast for more than twenty years. In small communities like these, it’s surprising just how many people know me, or know of me.  And because I am local, I’m flying the flag for local pride, too. So even those who don’t know me are rooting for me.

I still have this faint (but excruciating) feeling that I’m boasting and everyone’s going to run a mile. But of course local papers love stories, and especially good news stories. It was something I learnt when I was running a small charity. It was easier then, because it wasn’t directly about me, but I’ve learnt to apply it to publicising my books. It’s a fair exchange. I send in an article, with a selection of photographs, the reporter has an easy life and something good to put in the paper. Plus you make sure you get all the facts right. Everyone is happy.

So hurrah for local reporters and local papers!

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And while I’m being shameless, if you would like to vote for Eden’s Garden in The People’s Book Prize, please vote here: 

Thank You!

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No, it doesn’t get any easier.

When I said my final goodbyes to my characters in Eden’s Garden I was sad and bereft. I grieved for weeks. Of course they were still with me – they still are – but I knew I would never live in their heads and breath with them they way I had done over such a long time.

Well, that’s it, then, I told myself. Part of the learning experience. Part of the overwhelming, author-changing, life-changing experience of working closely with an editor. It was one of those ‘firsts’ that would never feel so intense again.

How wrong could I be!

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Last week I sent my final edits for We That Are Left into the ether. Phew. It’s a bit unnerving seeing your gorgeous cover up on Amazon, and therefore REALLY coming out next February, as you tousle with the last bits that won’t fall into place, and (with the usual writerly utter lack of confidence) are quite convinced they never will and then you’ll be found out, and who were you fooling anyway? (This, I should add, is two minutes after you have been busily penning your acceptance speech for the Booker…)

So I sat down with my gin and tonic (well, you have to make room for the sloes in the bottle) to celebrate. And this wave of utter anguish came over me, even worse than for Eden’s Garden. I ended up swallowing two gins (my equivalent of getting roaring drunk these days) while listening to Freddie Mercury singing ‘These Were the Days of Our Lives’. Phoebe did her best to be sympathetic, having obviously decided that being an author’s dog was seriously hard work at times.

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I felt a bit of a fool for a while. Then I realised. It’s not just that I have lived with my characters for the past eighteen months. Thanks to my Literature Wales Writers’ Bursary, I was able to spend three months full time with them, too. We That Are Left begins in 1914 and ends in 1925, so I’ve been through an entire war with them. I’ve lived the danger and the fear and the horrible uncertainty, and I’ve been to some pretty dark places with some of them. And while my characters are fictional, they have been borne of real experiences. My dad was born in 1915 and had memories that stretched back to the Great War. It’s that far, and yet that close. That still brings a tingle to my toes.

Writing about the women of WW1 also brought it home. It brought up inevitable questions of how would I feel, and how would I cope if the unthinkable happened?

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But it’s not all doom and gloom. Having learnt so much more about the lives of the courageous, skilled and indominable women who kept a country going and proved themselves as managers, organisers, drivers, farm workers, ambulance drivers and surgeons, I am more aware than ever of the debt I owe to them. I can vote, I was able to go take a degree, I was able to have a career. No one questions my right to be myself, rather than merely the meek and solicitous helpmate of a husband.

I’m still grieving a little, but my characters are still with me, in a different way. And now I can be excited at the thought of the book being out so soon. Meanwhile, I’ve some fun bits to do. Part of my research for the book was to find and cook the recipes of WW1. The recipes that are actually in the book are a closely guarded secret, but there are plenty of others, gleaned from newspapers of the time, that I am going to try. With results posted here first.

So watch this space for the shortages of wartime in World War One to bite, just as they did in the Second World War. The Edwardians were heavy on meat and suet, which is a bit of a challenge to a life-long vegetarian. But there’s vegetarian suet, and meat was eventually in short supply. I’m not sure about the horse meat and the rabbit pie, but fruit and vegetables I can deal with. The one with the two raw egg  yolks (freshly laid or no) whisked with sugar then stirred into hot tea has been voted a definite no-no. And as for the hog’s lard …..

But that is for another day. I’m off to source some vegetarian suet and see if the rosehips are ready yet for rosehip syrup to keep those coughs and colds away!

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Today I’m being interviewed on Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog, talking about my new book We That Are Left, which was finished with the aid of  a Writers’ Bursary from Literature Wales. Plus the excitement of  being in the running for The People’s Book Prize with Eden’s Garden.

Thank you Carol for a great interview!

You can pop on over and read my interview here:

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I love making plum jam. It’s the simplest to make, and the most delicious.

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Even though I’ve stone sheep field walls round my garden, I’m quite high up on a mountain where fruit doesn’t do too well, but a friend further down in the valley has a lovely plum tree in her garden. I don’t know what variety they are, but they are tart and very tasty. In previous years I’ve made a spiced chutney with them, which is delicious, but this year, after such a glorious summer, they were unusually sweet. So plum jam it was. I gathered the fruit with the help of Phoebe, who has a sweet tooth and hoovered up any that fell to the ground with great efficiency.  (Never question a dog about what they do with the stones)

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After half an hour or so of cooking

The recipe is wonderfully simple. Weigh out the plums, weigh out the same amount of sugar, add the juice of a lemon or so if desired (but no water), and away you go.

There are two methods of stoning plums. When I’ve made jam with big juicy Victoria plums I’ve stoned them before cooking. Because these ones are small with tight flesh even this year (they are almost a damson on years when the sun barely shines) I cooked them whole, then scooped out the stones (which conveniently rise to the surface) before adding the sugar.

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Nearly there ….

The cooking method is also simple. I’ve got a thermometer, but for this jam it wasn’t necessary. It’s just a case of boiling, stirring tomake sure nothing burns. After a bit I experimented to see it had reached the setting point by putting a bit on a saucer and letting it cool. If it wrinkles when you push it, it’s done. I wiggle it around a bit as well (and taste it, of course). It was still a bit thin, so kept on for another ten minutes or so. This time I could see it had darkened and grown more translucent and I was pretty sure it was ready. Another test (and taste), and I let it cool a little before spooning it into sterilised jars, sealing them, and leaving it all to set.

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Looking good!

There was, of course, a little over that didn’t fill a complete jar. So what was a girl to do? There’s nothing quite like fresh sourdough bread, brought straight back from the baker just down the hill and still warm, spread with real butter and a dollop of fresh, still slightly warm, plum jam. Actually, I cheat and put slightly less sugar when I’m making jam. Well, it’s not going to last long enough to go mouldy, and that tart edge to the taste is utterly and totally and zingingly delicious.

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Jam. Did someone mention jam? Any stray plums required to be hoovered up?

Bread and butter and jam for tea. The best.

Elin, my heroine in ‘We That Are Left’, turns her hand, as so many women did,  to making jams and preserves from the produce of a kitchen garden during the Great War. By 1914 new imports of jars of jam and tins of fruit had made preserving seem old fashioned to many. But like in the Second World War, when the imports didn’t make it through, and food became expensive, there was a return to the old country ways. I used to make jams years ago, before that thing called life took over. Making them again has been a reminder that there’s nothing quite like capturing the goodness of a summer’s day and hiding it away to be rediscovered in the winter months.

So hurrah for plum jam!

Right, so I’ve got the gin for the next experiment. Those sloes had better be ready soon ….

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TPBPPostersmlThe People’s Book Prize, Autumn 2013

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Just as I was getting excited about the cover of ‘We That Are Left’ and it was sinking in that I have a new book out in 2014, when ‘Eden’s Garden’ jumped back into my life with a bang. Not only was it chosen for the 99p Amazon Summer Sale, racing up the charts to the heady heights of number 5 in the ‘Cultural History’ category, but it has also been chosen to be in the running for The People’s Book Prize!

Tatiana Wilson, the founder of The People’s Book Prize, (whose Patron is Frederick Forsyth CBE, no less) came up with the idea  as it is her ambition that new authors are given equal opportunity in the marketplace, based purely on their talent and ability.  A perfect vehicle to discover writers’ talent voted by the public, raise the profile of libraries and celebrate reading.

I am honoured and fearsomely excited, and I shall now throw modesty to the winds and and hustle for your votes.

If you enjoyed  ‘Eden’s Garden’ and would like to vote for it, please follow this link to ‘Eden’s Garden’ in  The People’s book prize: 

It’s wonderfully straightforward. You just have to register your email address below the information about me and the book, just to make sure you don’t cheat and vote for me 100 times (as If I’d do such a thing :-) , and then you are there.

If you haven’t found a copy of ‘Eden’s Garden’ yet, never fear: until September 5th the Kindle edition  is still 99p until September 5th, and you can buy it here:

Thank you!

And good luck to all the other awesomely great books in the running.

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We That Are Left

To be published by Honno Press, February 2014

we that are left draft 6aug13 smAt last the cover for ‘We That Are Left’ has arrived.

It’s very beautiful, and I love it. It captures the spirit of the book, which is set in Cornwall, the isle of Anglesey and France during World War One. The story starts in 1914, so it’s very exciting that it’s going to be published in 2014.

It was to finish writing ‘We That Are Left’ that I was awarded a three month Literature Wales Writers’ Bursary earlier this year – wonderful privilege and an experience I will never forget.

There will be more information appearing about the book soon. For one thing, I need to try out more of the recipes and remedies my heroine, Elin, learns to use as she finds herself taking over responsibility for Hiram Hall, a small manor house in Cornwall, as the men go off to war.  I’ve already tried her recipe for Elderflower Champagne, so now need to decide what to try next. I seem to have acquired a number of willing volunteers to sample the results ….

So, is it to be hog’s lard (don’t ask), rose petals, or raspberries next? Watch this space!

Cheers!

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