Guildford Book Festival Readers’ Day

8 Sep 2017

Guildford Readers' DAy imageI’ll be appearing at Guildford Book Festival on Saturday 14th October, for ‘Readers’ Day’, alongside authors Rachel Joyce, Polly Clark, Fiona Barton, Veronica Henry and Penny Vincenzi, and chaired by novelist Fanny Blake.

Here’s the Festival’s description of what’s in store:

If you are an avid reader of fiction what better way to spend the day than in the company of some of Britain’s best-loved authors sharing their stories, their experiences and their inspirations, and all under one roof.

Hosted by Fanny Blake*, Books Editor of Woman & Home magazine, and a former publisher and author of more than a dozen fiction and non-fiction books, this interactive and enjoyable day for book lovers has been a popular feature of the Festival for many years. Early booking is essential for this event.

The event will take place in the Festival Marquee with lunch served in the cafe/bar area by WeFiFo chef. 

More information about this or the rest of the festival click here: Guildford Book Festival Readers’ Day

 

Thriller Queens in the Library

6 Sep 2017

 

 

 

Hillingdon Libraries event

Come to Hillingdon to talk to me, Sabine Durrant and Colette MacBeth about dark things.

27th September at 7.30pm

 

Cheltenham Literature Festival

6 Sep 2017

On 15th October, I’ll be at Cheltenham Literature Festival, interviewing author Sarah Moss, about her latest novel The Tidal Zone, and also crime author Minette Walters, who’s most recent book is The Last Hours. Tickets are on sale here:  Buy Tickets for Cheltenham Lit Fest

 

How to Write a Novel (Psychologies Magazine Column)

31 Aug 2017

 

 

goldsboro window

Click on the links below to read my first six Psychologies Magazine ‘How to Write a Novel’ columns. They are short and basic but maybe they’ll give you a few ideas:

Month 1: How to Write a Novel

Month 2: Don’t Lose the Plot 

Month 3 Make Time to Write 

Month 4 Looking for Trouble

Month 5: How to Cut 

Month 6: Tricks of the Trade

 

 

 

 

 

Wantage Literary Festival

31 Aug 2017

Come and talk to me about writing! Screen Shot 2017-08-31 at 19.08.44

I’ll be at the Wantage Betjeman Literary Festival on 22 October, 2017 talking about the Night Visitor as well as how to write a thriller, how to get your book published. Come and ask me lots of questions about your writing and mine.  Buy a ticket here Wantage Tickets

 

Inspiration for the Victorian Gothic manor in The Night Visitor

11 Aug 2017

Spooks, memories and visitors

Henry Fuseli - The Nightmare

When I was a teenager, growing up in a village near Lewes in East Sussex, I had a friend whose house was very different from everyone else’s. For a start, it had about five times as many bedrooms. It also had tall iron gates, a long, tree lined driveway and a haunted Minstrel’s Gallery. This place – which I now know to be a Victorian Gothic Manor – looked very grand on the outside. It had tall grey flint walls and grand, mullioned windows, but the inside told a different story. The house was in coming undone.

My friend’s family was not landed gentry, far from it. Her father, a drinker, keen on the races, had won the house some time in the 1970s in a bet. It was crumbling and damp, with rattling casement windows and no central heating. There was no money to fix anything. I got the sense that nobody really cared because the family was breaking down. The house was not just physically gloomy, but unhappy and troubled in a more profound, less tangible way. And I felt, instinctively, that it was not just the container of the family’s sorrows, but – somehow, inexplicably – feeding them.

I would go there from time to time during the secondary school years. I’d marvel at the grandeur of those iron gates and that long driveway; we’d climb the sweeping staircase to what is, in my memory, an endless procession of dark and musty rooms with plasterwork damp to the touch, old quilts, a pervading chill and flitting shadows. It was thrilling for a teenager. I remember one party – twenty drunk fourteen year olds screaming across the unkempt lawns, only to end up crammed into the (surprisingly tiny) kitchen, too spooked to venture further into the house.

My friend, a tall, loyal, bright girl with a hint of wildness behind the eyes, confided to me once that she sometimes had a ‘visitor’ in the middle of the night. She would wake in the small hours to find a shrouded and malevolent old lady sitting on her, pinning her to the mattress. She was paralyzed when this happened, she said, unable to even cry out for help. This terrifying apparition, she was convinced, meant to choke her.

The friend and I lost touch when I went off to university. Her life, I heard, did not unfold as happily as mine, she has had troubles. Her family broke up and the Manor was sold. But thirty years on, I found it again, in my imagination, a huge, neglected flinty beast set in an idyllic spot beneath the South Downs, a stone’s throw from the spot where Virginia Woolf drowned herself. The Manor – which I called Ileford –  became a key setting in my novel, the symbol of how the most grand and imposing façade can conceal rotten secrets. My friend’s ‘night visitor’ came to life again too. But that’s another story.

I still long for the Sussex countryside – the chalk paths up to the South Downs, pheasants panicking across country lanes in the early morning mist, and my hometown, Lewes, slotted in the cleft of the hills. I live in Oxford, now, and people tell me I’m lucky to be here but I still long to move ‘home’. I did go back to the Manor while researching my novel. I went up to the iron gates, held them and peeked through but I could see very little. I thought about going up the drive, knocking on the door and introducing myself, trying to explain who I was, what I was doing. In the end, I didn’t dare.

 

The Night Visitor launch photos

8 Jun 2017

with beetlesBook Launch night visitor launch crowd night visitor launch crowd 2 night visitor launch noodles 2 night visitor launch signing night visitor launch ted and prosecco night visitor launch with Helen nightvisitor cupcakes There were two parties to launch The Night Visitor. One in Blackwell’s Oxford, and another just a week later in Goldsboro Books, London. Night Visitor_launch invite_LondonIMG_1867 IMG_1848
IMG_1845 Quercus editor Stef Bierwerth
IMG_1844goldsboro cupcakes

Charleston Literary Festival 2017

30 May 2017

On Saturday I interviewed novelist Sarah Perry at the Charleston Literary Festival in Sussex, about The Essex Serpent. I grew up nearby in the nearby town of Lewes and it meant so much to me to be back on home turf. Here are some pictures of the weekend, which happens at the beautiful Charleston Farmhouse, home of Vanessa Bell (Virginia Woolf’s sister) and a Bloomsbury Group hub. The church is in the nearby village of Berwick and was decorated by Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Quentin Bell – it’s quite extraordinary.  Sarah’s event was packed but most of all I wish I’d taken a picture for you of the green room, which is the original farmhouse kitchen, with a decorated colander lampshade, and a scrubbed pine table groaning with scones and clotted cream, Victoria sponges, ginger biscuits, pots of tea…Hard to leave.

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Run up to publication of The Night Visitor

18 Apr 2017

The-Night-Visitor_Twitter-Cards_Cannon

 

The Night Visitor with its smart new jacket heads out into the world for reviews and endorsements….just over a fortnight till publication.

Oxford Literary Festival 2017

23 Feb 2017

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 18.01.15I’ll be interviewing some terrific authors at the Oxford Literary Festival next month (and seeing a few as an audience member too – Elif Shafak, Paul Auster among others).  We’ll be in the beautiful Corpus Christi College, which is having its 500th birthday and has opened its doors to the festival to celebrate.

I’ll be talking to Jo Cannon, author of the Sunday Times bestselling novel The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, a beautiful book, just out in paperback.

Then there’s Clover Stroud, whose memoir of her mother’s catastrophic riding accident, The Wild Other, is extraordinary and captivating.

I’ll be interviewing Victoria Hislop about her new book, Cartes Postales From Greece (she’s bringing a slide show!)

and finally I’ll be talking to the famous Louise Doughty about her fascinating new novel, Black Water. Louise’s previous book, Apple Tree Yard, was recently made into a gripping BBC Drama (I’m sure we’ll talk about that too).

Tickets are on sale HERE now, for these and other Festival events.

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