Courtship and Marriage Corsican-Style

In Corsica, relations between the sexes have always been regulated by unbreakable codes of honour. I researched courtship and marriage customs on the island for The Corsican Widow, which is set there during the 18th century. The Corsican ideal of honour is central to the story.

This Book is Worth More than Rubies to Me

This book doesn’t look like much, I know, and the subject may seem a little abstruse – Everyday Life in Corsica in the 18th Century. But this was the only copy available outside faraway libraries; the very last one I could get hold of. Why is it so important to me? Because it’s invaluable for oneContinue reading “This Book is Worth More than Rubies to Me”

Views of #Corsica

Come with me on a photo journey through some of the places and views on Corsica that have inspired my writing during our six visits there. I have taken hundreds of photos on Corsica, but these are among my favourites. I can feel a seventh visit coming on…

Vendetta in Corsica: Myth and Reality

We’ve visited Corsica six times. L’Île de Beauté is a captivating place, with a savage beauty and a culture all its own and I strongly advise a visit. In 2014, we went to Olmeto, once the home of a woman who was the inspiration for Prosper Mérimée’s Colomba. His novel is about vendetta, an integralContinue reading “Vendetta in Corsica: Myth and Reality”

10 Thoughts about Blogging Part 1

I’ve been blogging for around six years and I maintain not one blog, but two. I’ll explain why below. When I first started, I barely knew what a blog was. The learning curve was vertiginous – and you learn new things all the time.

How was it for you?

  This blog has been a bit quiet recently, but there’s a reason for that. Along with countless others, I emerged from National Novel Writing Month on 30th November, having just about snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. I hit the requisite 50K words on 25th November, but I’m still feeling a bit shell-shocked.

Revisiting Inspiration on Corsica

  Should you go back to places that have a special significance in your memory, or where you have found inspiration? It can turn out to be disappointing. They might have changed beyond recognition, or the magic you experienced might simply have dissipated. So, it was with some misgivings that I recently revisited the Corsican village where IContinue reading “Revisiting Inspiration on Corsica”

My Biggest Lesson on my Book’s First Birthday

  Where does it go? Time, I mean. It’s not so long ago that I was slaving over a hot computer to write The House at Zaronza (actually, it will be three years in November). And surely it’s only yesterday that it was published? No, today it’s my novel’s first birthday. Now it enters theContinue reading “My Biggest Lesson on my Book’s First Birthday”

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

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 worldContinue reading “Location, Location, Location: the Importance of Setting in Fiction”

A #Corsican Easter Procession

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 ZaronzaContinue reading “A #Corsican Easter Procession”