Thursday 27 March 2014


I have entered three competitions this month.  The first one was for stories up to 750 words run by Writing Magazine.  The second was for short stories up to 2,000 words run by Mslexia.  The final one was for 500 word stories run by Flash 500.  I won’t know the outcome for a couple of months.  I'm really enjoying writing flash fiction at the moment.  My aim is to try and enter a couple of competitions each month as well as continuing with The Salvesen Sisters.  I'll keep you updated on progress!

Friday 14 March 2014

Old Photos

My little sister kindly offered to read draft 5 of The Gift – thanks Nic for your helpful feedback, which I will incorporate into the final draft.  While draft 5 was being read I decided to have another look at The Salvesen Sisters as I suddenly had lots of ideas.  I had also received positive feedback on the first chapter (see The Salvesen Sisters tab), which was encouraging and a great help.  The plot is coming along nicely.  I have set myself a target of 1,000 words a day as this seems a realistic goal!  While I was rummaging through old photos, which incidentally I love to do, I was lucky to find this old album, which I think belonged to Agnes Salvesen – you will recall that Agnes, my husband's great aunt, travelled to Asia in 1913 and it is the diary of her journey that has inspired me to write this story.  The last photo is of Agnes in Yokohama taken in 1917. I have some old postcards too, but sadly the writing is too faint to read.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Joanna Trollope OBE

I went to hear Joanna Trollope OBE give a talk and book reading at the Connaught Theatre in Worthing last night (thanks to my little sister for getting the tickets and coming with me).  I confess that I haven’t read any of her books, but I enjoyed her talk and she gave an entertaining insight into life as a writer.  It was interesting to see that there were quite a few men as well as women in the audience.  Joanna writes contemporary fiction and she was there to promote her latest book, Balancing Act.  Her first books to be published were historical romance novels written under the pseudonym Caroline Harvey (both her parent’s first names apparently).  A member of the audience asked why she stopped writing historical fiction and she replied along the lines that contemporary fiction gave her more scope and she liked writing about modern life and its challenges.  She has recently written a contemporary reworking of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, which sounds interesting.  She read two extracts from her latest novel Balancing Act, about Susie Moran who runs a successful pottery company along with her daughters.  The novel is set in Stoke-on-Trent and Joanna said that she visited the Emma Bridgewater factory there to gain an insight into the pottery business.  I guess the internet is all very well, but it’s hard to capture the essence of a place without visiting it for real.  So now I'm thinking - do I need to visit the countries I am writing about in The Salvesen Sisters? There again, Yokohama today will be very different to Yokohama in 1913 and there is no chance of me boarding the Trans Siberian Express  anytime soon so I guess I will make do with old photos, postcards, books and, of course, the internet!