The Life of an Agricultural Labourer in France in 1900

At the turn of the 20th century, the world of agricultural labour in France was a patchwork of different métiers and social positions. Wherever you were on the social hierarchy, your life was governed by the tasks associated with the different seasons.

The Transport Crisis in Paris 1900-14: an Unlikely-Sounding Problem

Research sometimes leads one in strange directions and comes up with surprising results. For my latest novel, I had to research the main methods of transport in France between 1897 and 1914. And I discovered something that had never occurred to me.

From Rural France to Paris: Les Bougnats

The odd-sounding combination of coal merchant and bistro owner was quite common in Paris during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These establishments were usually the métier of immigrants from the Auvergne and northern Aveyron, where the poor soil made farming a thankless task.

Overture Cover Reveal

I’ve reached a very exciting stage in the genesis of my latest novel, Overture. I can now reveal the cover, and the Kindle version is on pre-order on Amazon. As ever, my designer JD Smith has come up with a great cover design, which I believe really conveys the flavour of the Belle Epoque periodContinue reading “Overture Cover Reveal”

Emma Calvé: Forgotten Singing Star of the Belle Epoque

Have you heard of Emma Calvé? I hadn’t, until I read about her in a French novel. However, she was one of the brightest stars of her time in the singing world and had a highly-acclaimed international career. Hers is a fascinating rags-to-riches-to-rags story, which has inspired my latest novel, Overture. 

Fictional Versus Real Settings in Novels

A sense of place in fiction is very important to me, both in my own work and in the novels I read. Some of my favourite authors, such as Hannah Kent, Helen Dunmore and Tracy Chevalier, excel at weaving the setting seamlessly into the story. Novels are about people, of course, but they are theContinue reading “Fictional Versus Real Settings in Novels”

Another “spirited” title joins Jennifer C. Wilson’s Kindred Spirits series

It’s always a pleasure to welcome my friend and fellow author Jennifer C. Wilson to the blog. Jen specialises in writing “historical fiction with spirit” that speculates on what’s happened to the ghosts of well-known historical figures since their own era. She’s about to launch an addition to the Kindred Spirits series, in which theContinue reading “Another “spirited” title joins Jennifer C. Wilson’s Kindred Spirits series”

‘The Corsican Widow’ taking part in an autumn giveaway

Have you read The Corsican Widow yet? If not, for a limited time, you can enter this autumn giveaway to win the book plus 25+ other Book Club Fiction novels from a great collection of authors, including Patricia Sands, Kate Braithwaite and Laura Bradbury. In this contest organised by BookSweeps, there’s also a chance toContinue reading “‘The Corsican Widow’ taking part in an autumn giveaway”

‘The Corsican Widow’ reduced for a short time

  My second novel in the Tales of Corsica series, The Corsican Widow, is taking part in an Amazon Kindle Countdown deal today and over the weekend. *Please note that this applies only to the US and UK Kindle stores.* It will remain at the full price in other Kindle stores. The countdown starts todayContinue reading “‘The Corsican Widow’ reduced for a short time”

Eleven o’clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month

  “But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me. I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you areContinue reading “Eleven o’clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month”