For the longest time, I didn’t have a writing base. I use a laptop so I have the freedom to roam around and write wherever I want – but it’s not always practical. Sure, it’s super comfy to laze around on the sofa or the bed, or set up shop at the dining table but it’s not the most ideal situation. Not for me, anyway.
So, my lovely hubby took me off to IKEA for the day (it was actually Valentine’s Day, because we’ve been together for 400 years and V-Day is a load of old nonsense!) and he treated me to a whole new “office.”
It’s peaceful, it’s calm and it’s mighty pretty. I’ve been told it’s “too clinical” but I love it and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have everything that I need – the computer, pens and paper to hand and a picture of my lovely dad back in the day when he was a badass boxer, God rest him. Plus, I’m right by the French doors so when it’s warm (you know, those three days of the year when you don’t have to wear sixteen layers) I can open them up and enjoy the sunshine!
I’m about to make a start on BOOK THREE – I’m so excited – so I know my new little nook will be hugely beneficial for me in the creation of another Viola Pumpernickel mystery!
With book two in the Viola Pumpernickel Mysteries out in the world (it’s called VP and the Ruby Dancer – check it out in my bookshop!), I’ve started thinking about the elusive third book in the series…VP and the Purple Pickpocket. It is still in the “thinking phase,” however so I am yet to put pen to paper – or should I say, finger to keyboard! That’s one of the joys of being self-published, I don’t have anyone jabbing me in the ribs, telling me to get it written. However, I don’t have anyone jabbing me in the ribs, telling me to get it written…and I am VERY easily distracted!
I gave myself a complete break over the half term from writing – which is so rare it’s untrue. I can’t remember the last time I went a whole week without writing something. In that time, I was able to really think about what I wanted to do next – I will continue writing the Viola Pumpernickel books, of course, and they will remain my priority but I’ve had so many other ideas spring into my mind over the last five years that I have them all scribbled down in many, many notebooks scattered all over the house.
I do know that my next project will be a book aimed at adults. I couldn’t bring myself to write something new for children – I would feel as if I were betraying Viola somehow! I’m not going to reveal too much about my new ideas just yet but I am very excited and I hope they are as well-received as Viola has been. I’m not even sure which format they will take – I want to go back to my theatrical roots at some point and write for the stage again, or maybe even the screen (Hollywood, are you there?!) – there are so many options available for writers in this day and age which is just incredible. I miss the buzz of writing for the stage and seeing my characters come to life every night. It’s truly an amazing thing for a writer and not something many get to see.
Whatever I do, I give you my word it will feature my usual twist in the tale and will be full of surprises! So, keep your eyes peeled – something new this way comes…!
Christmas is almost here and I, for one, am feeling all festive! I’ve had several emails and messages from parents asking if I can sign a copy of their children’s book for Christmas – which I am trying my best to fulfill but time is running out so if you’re wanting me to sign a copy, please get in touch ASAP!
Viola is the perfect stocking filler and if you hurry, you can still get a copy from Amazon in time for the big day. Don’t wait too long – shipping can take longer the nearer we get.
Have a super duper day!
Yes, yes, I know it’s only mid November but when it comes to Christmas, it’s never too early to start planning presents!
I was lucky enough to have a stall at the Our Maxwell Christmas Fayre in Thakeham on 17th November 2019. There were so many lovely stalls – children’s clothes, a manicure stand, a sweet shop and of course, a grotto – and everyone who came along left with a smile on their face and a nice slice of cake in their tummies.
In Viola’s World, I managed to sell out of all copies of the first book which is just incredible and really cements in my mind that I was right to redesign my cover. People are far more interested in Viola now than they were before and I couldn’t be happier – especially knowing that book two is on its way. What an exciting time for Viola and her gang!
Our Maxwell is a charity for a lovely little boy called Maxwell who has a rare medical condition called thymidine kinase 2 deficiency syndrome (or TK2d). It is a genetic disorder that causes progressive weakness of the body’s muscles (myopathy). His family are just incredible people who are working hard to raise awareness about this condition. They’re never seen without a smile and a huge positive vibe – they are true superheroes.
More information Maxwell and his story can be found here: Our Maxwell
Our Maxwell works very closely with the Charlie Gard Foundation – because Mito Matters.
On a very cold and windy day in October 2019, the lovely people of Look for a Book Sussex and Beat the Street set up two fab days to get kids up and about and reading. It was a free event and I was lucky enough to be invited along to meet the kids and give them a reading or two from my book.
I’m always honoured to be asked along to any event to talk about Viola. I adore her and I hope that by sharing her with as many people as I can, they will love her too.
So, back to the event. Even though I think I got hypothermia, it was a great day! The kids were so excited to look for the books that were hidden all over Southwick Rec Ground (the first day was held in Durrington), play Park Bingo and enjoy fruit kebabs. Then, they joined me under the tree for a short extract from the book. One lad told me that he loved it so much he wanted to only read “big books” like mine from now on! I also really enjoyed talking about the Victorian times with a young girl from a local school. They are currently learning about the Victorian era and she was really excited about telling me everything that she had learnt. Keep it up – you’ll be an author one day, I’m sure!
A really lovely day and I hope that both initiatives grow from strength to strength. Both groups are on Facebook so check them out.
“I CAME THIRD! I CAME THIRD! I CAME THIRD!”
Now that’s off my chest, I can explain what the devil I am talking about.
In March 2019, I was invited to the Weald Book Awards 2019 where little old Viola Pumpernickel had been shortlisted for Book of the Year – a pretty awesome accolade, I think you’ll agree. I still think they’ve got the wrong book, but that’s another story. Literally.
Anyway, at the awards do (held at the Weald School in West Sussex), I finally met the gorgeous authors Vashti Hardy (Brightstorm) and Will Mabbitt (The Embassy of the Dead) who were just as lovely as I hoped they would be.
The children had read all the shortlisted books (seven in total) and had voted for their favourites. At the end of the evening, they announced the top three – my book (eek!), Alex Bell’s “Polar Bear Explorer’s Club” and the winner – Vashti’s “Brightstorm.”
I am still gobsmacked and I am telling everyone within a 5 mile radius! So, thank you to EVERYONE who read my book and voted for it. You’re all gorgeous!
Now, if you don’t mind, I am rather busy…
“I CAME THIRD! I CAME THIRD! I CAME THIRD!”
I was invited along to St. Wilfred’s Primary School in Angmering to help them celebrate their World Book Week on Thursday 31 January 2019. I was so honoured to come along and meet the kids and introduce them to Viola Pumpernickel!
All the children – and teachers – were dressed up as their favourite literary character and it was so nice to see such a wide range. One of the children, who had just taken part in my workshop, handed me with this note with the biggest smile on her face! Apparently, my book is better than Mary Poppins! I disagree whole-heartedly but I am touched and humbled all the same!
Thanks, St. Wilfred’s – it was such a lovely day (despite being freeeeeeezing cold outside!).
I had an absolute blast at the Local Author Fair at Crawley Library on Saturday 13th October. I met so many inspirational writers – both children’s fiction and adult fiction – and of course, some wonderful members of the public.
Getting the word out about Viola Pumpernickel is hard work – I thought writing the book would be the tricky part – but having something like this organised by a library, is just fantastic and something we need to have more of. There are constant rumours swirling that libraries are being closed because people don’t use them anymore but I can say without any hesitation that my visit today proved otherwise. There were so many people at the library, either for storytelling or just browsing, and it was a really lovely thing to see. My daughter loves coming with me to my local library and looking at all the fantastic books.
We MUST keep using the libraries or we WILL lose them. Go on – get to your nearest one soon and prove that we love them just as much today as we always have!
Eek! I am so excited (and shocked!) to be not only nominated for the Weald Book Award 2019 but to make the shortlist! It’s a fantastic award because the teachers read a lot of books and create a list of their favourite books for the students to then read and vote on. It means a lot to be included in this list.
Viola Pumpernickel is, I hope, a role model for the next generation. She is fearless, brave, strong and feisty – qualities that we all possess but sometimes are told to hide. Viola doesn’t conform to the traditional rules of Victorian London; that girls should be seen and not heard. She stands up for what she believes is right and doesn’t allow anyone to be mistreated. To think that just one person feels as passionately about her as I do is wonderful!
I am among some truly fantastic books so I know I’ve made this list by accident – I am under no illusion that I will win but it is incredibly exciting to be mentioned in the same breath as The Ice Garden, Embassy of the Dead, Kick, The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club, Brightstorm and The 1,000 Year Old Boy!
When I wrote VPATEL, I had NO IDEA that it would be so well received. Of course, I had hoped that it would be liked and would get more positive reviews than not, but I couldn’t have predicted that it would be nominated for such a fantastic award – especially as a self-published author!
So thank you to the Weald School and every single teacher and student who read my little book and liked it enough to say a few nice words about it! Viola loves you!