Location, Location, Location: the Importance of Setting in Fiction

The Old Town in Ajaccio, Corsica
The Old Town in Ajaccio, Corsica

Location, Location, Location: the Importance of Setting in Fiction

Novels are clearly about people and their stories. But I have always been a great believer in the importance of setting in fiction. It influences characters in so many ways and can tell you a lot about them. You also have to create a believable world for your readers to see in their mind’s eye.

This was reinforced for me when the author Tracey Warr gave a workshop at our local Parisot Writing Group this week.Continue reading “Location, Location, Location: the Importance of Setting in Fiction”

On the Chaise Longue with Vanessa: Meet Author @LizaPerrat

On the Chaise Longue with Vanessa: Meet Author @LizaPerrat

Author Liza Perrat
Author Liza Perrat

Today I’m delighted to welcome an author who also lives in France, but on the other side near Lyon. Liza Perrat and I know each other only virtually, but somehow I feel I  know her better than that already! She is the author of two terrific historical novels set in France. I eagerly await the third in the trilogy, which is due out this summer. Liza tells us more about them below.

Continue reading “On the Chaise Longue with Vanessa: Meet Author @LizaPerrat”

A Reminder about the @Writersabroad Anthology 2015

Just a little reminder. If you are, or have been at any time, an ex-pat (i.e. living away from your country of origin), and on top of that you are a writer…you still have more than three weeks to submit a short story or a poem for the Writers Abroad Anthology 2015.Continue reading “A Reminder about the @Writersabroad Anthology 2015”

BLUESTOCKINGS: The Victorian Campaign for Female Education – Guest post by @carolJhedges

Bedford College plaque
Bedford College plaque

Today’s guest on the chaise longue is novelist Carol Hedges. She’s written a number of very successful books, the latest of which are Victorian crime thrillers. A passionate environmental campaigner and devoted grandmother, Carol is also noted for her clever wit and punning Tweets. And she always has something interesting to say. Here she is on women’s education – a subject close to my own heart.

Continue reading “BLUESTOCKINGS: The Victorian Campaign for Female Education – Guest post by @carolJhedges”

10 Things Not to Say to an Author


A tongue in cheek post today, but with a grain of truth. Readers I meet at parties or other events usually have very interesting and perceptive things to say about books and writing. I love having the opportunity to talk with them, which doesn’t happen often living down here in la France profonde. You learn so much from it, and they are an excellent sounding board.Continue reading “10 Things Not to Say to an Author”

What Happened to the Art of Letter Writing?

The noble art of letter writing seems to have gone into freefall. I think this is a shame, although I am the first to admit that I rarely find time these days to write more than the tersest of emails. As a literary device, letters are a gift for authors, as I know from my own experience. But are their days numbered?Continue reading “What Happened to the Art of Letter Writing?”

The Role of the Editor: Guest Post by Sue Barnard

Author and editor, Sue Barnard
Author and editor, Sue Barnard

I’m delighted to welcome my friend and fellow Crooked Cat author, Sue Barnard, to the chaise longue this week. Not only is Sue an author in her own right, but she’s also an editor. More precisely, she is my editor. And a cracking job she did, too, of The House at Zaronza. She saved me from many a howler and smartened up my prose no end. 

Continue reading “The Role of the Editor: Guest Post by Sue Barnard”


So you think you want to be a published author…? Karen paints a worst case scenario, but we all have to find these things out through our own experience. Like her, though, je ne regrette rien.

Jane Bwye

I am delighted to welcome back a valued friend, Karen Charlton, from my Authonomy days. Her  little piece is so, so true. And the strange thing is, we all have to learn every one of these lessons by personal experience; sometimes more than once.

karen author photo cream (3) (528x640)In a recent survey carried out by YouGov and published in The Independent newspaper, 60% of UK adults declared that being a writer is their ‘dream job.’  14,294 adults were interviewed for this survey. I can only assume – that they all assume – that being an author is both stress-free and lucrative.

In response to this article about the YouGov survey I stuck my tongue in my cheek and jotted down a few observations about the truth behind a publishing contract – especially with a small publishing house. This list of observations is gathered from my own experience and that of fellow authors. I…

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A #Corsican Easter Procession

Sartène, where U Catenacciu takes place Pierre Bona, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Religion in Corsica is just as important as in the rest of France – if not more so. You get the sense, though, that the Roman Catholic faith overlays deeper currents of belief, stretching back beyond the birth of Christianity. It’s more elemental, like Corsican music.

There wasn’t a place in The House at Zaronza or The Corsican Widow for the procession I’m about to describe. But one day, I hope to introduce it into one of my Corsica novels or short stories.

Continue reading “A #Corsican Easter Procession”

On the Chaise Longue with Vanessa: Meet Novelist Cathie Dunn @cathiedunn

Cathie Dunn
Cathie Dunn

It’s my great pleasure today to welcome fellow Crooked Cat author and historical novelist Cathie Dunn to the chaise longue. She’s a versatile writer, who has written about different periods and places in history. She’s also very fond of cats, so Felix is in his element.

Continue reading “On the Chaise Longue with Vanessa: Meet Novelist Cathie Dunn @cathiedunn”