Virtual Book Launch

23 Mar 2020

All physical book tour events are now cancelled, of course.

But we are going virtual, with a Twitter book launch party.

We’ll be drinking warm white wine, eating sausages on sticks and answering questions about writing fiction, getting published, creating characters and anything else you’re curious about.

There will also be a book giveaway, and discounted online book shopping with Blackwell’s Bookshop.

How I write

2 Mar 2020

Building the novel


I used to be afraid that I couldn’t ever write a novel because I could never think of a plot. What I didn’t realise was that authors don’t necessarily have to know the plot from the outset. I’m currently about 30,000 words into my fifth novel and while I’ve got the main characters and the locations, I still don’t really know what will happen. Instead of writing chronologically, I expand it all from the inside, going into scenes that I find interesting, and developing them – following the little shoots until they grow and blossom (or wither and die, at which point, I get out the shears). This process is both liberating and dreadful. It involves shutting down the critical voice, and trying to ignore the constant self-doubt. All being well, eventually I’ll have a first draft – an actual plot! – and then real work will begin: the editing, revising, rewriting, cutting and tightening that will make the CFD (crap first draft) into a novel.

Bad Mothers at Heffers, Cambridge

6 Feb 2020

You’re invited on a journey into the darker side of motherly love . . .

Motherhood in fiction is often portrayed as tender, blissful perfection but, as every mother knows, there are darker sides too – loss, despair, fear, exhaustion, confusion. Join leading suspense authors Sarah Vaughan and Lucy Atkins at Heffers as they discuss why they are drawn to the complicated reality of motherhood, and why this intensity and dysfunction is rich material for any writer.

23rd April 2020

Tickets for the event are priced at £6.00 in advance or £7.00 on the door, and can be purchased through this page, by calling 01223 463200 or in person at Heffers bookshop.

Buy Tickets here  

Event begins at 6.30 pm and ends at 8.00 pm

Crime & Wine

6 Feb 2020

Lucy Atkins, Sarah Vaughan and Cara Hunter at Waterstones, Oxford

Lucy and Sarah will be joined by Cara Hunter who will be chairing the discussion about Lucy and Sarah’s new novels Magpie Lane and Little Disasters. All three authors are masters of creating sophisticated and beautifully written suspense novels, so this is an event not to be missed!

20th May 2020 7pm-8pm Buy Tickets here

‘The Art of Intrigue’ Oxford Literary Festival 2020

6 Feb 2020

What keeps readers reading? What makes some novels impossible to put down?

Spy novelist Mick Herron and suspense novelist Lucy Atkins discuss the ins and outs of hooking readers and creating complex, character-driven thrillers in this one hour discussion. Part of Oxford Literary Festival.

10am Thursday 2nd April 2020

Buy tickets here

Creative Writing Masterclass

6 Feb 2020

Lucy Atkins and Mick Herron at Chipping Norton Literary Festival

24th April 2020

Buy tickets here

Award-winning authors, Lucy Atkins and Mick Herron, lead this comprehensive, invaluable creative writing masterclass.

11:00 – 13:00
1. To plan or not to plan? (& how to do both). Beginnings and endings. Plotting basics.
2. Settings: why they matter, how to choose one, the difference a setting makes.

13:00 – 14:00

14:00 – 16:00
3. Creating believable characters: how to develop both main characters and extras. Using detail, interactions, backstory & dialogue to build characterisation.
4. Page turning techniques: how to keep the reader reading. How to create intrigue, and raise the stakes.

MAGPIE LANE – coming 2nd April 2020

19 Nov 2019

Full of hidden chambers, and some of them are haunted . . .part thriller, part love story, wholly beguiling. I was glued to every page

Mick Herron

When the eight year old daughter of an Oxford College Master vanishes in the middle of the night, police turn to the Scottish nanny, Dee, for answers. As Dee looks back on her time in the Master’s Lodging – an eerie and ancient house – a picture of a high achieving but dysfunctional family emerges: Nick, the fiercely intelligent and powerful father; his beautiful Danish wife Mariah, pregnant with their child; and the lost little girl, Felicity, almost mute, seeing ghosts, grieving her dead mother. . .

Roaming Oxford’s secret passages and hidden graveyards, Magpie Lane explores the true meaning of family, and what it is to be denied one.

Food & Conversation at Northcote

13 Aug 2019

Friday 16th August, 2019

Mick Herron: An Evening of Espionage

4 Jun 2019

I’m pleased to say that on 27th June I get to ask Mick Herron, author of the bestselling Slough House spy series, about his writing habits, whether he and Jackson Lamb share many characteristics, and, perhaps most importantly, how much farting is too much. Mick & I have had many cups of coffee in Blackwell’s whilst trying not to meet our deadlines. He is obviously way worse at this than me since Joe Country is his 6th Slough House novel. Book a place here

Waterstones Oxford Crime & Wine Event

4 Jun 2019

On 13th June 2019 I’ll be talking to two excellent novelists in Oxford: Sadie Jones (The Snakes) and Kate Hamer (Crushed), about writing suspenseful fiction, and tackling dark, complex themes. Book tickets here

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