Nothing to see here: just The Bookshop Detective as a Staff Recommendation at the Sheen Bookshop. The review says: "The author develops a lovely sense of place and really makes you want to visit a bookshop!" How fabulous is that? Rush to hewsonbooks.co.uk to grab a copy or order it from here or any other bricks and mortar shop.
Jan Ellis on the radio!
I've been so lucky to have the support of BBC Bristol's Upload programme from the beginnning. Presenter – and the man behind the Upload idea – is Adam Crowther. Last night (4 May 2021) I had a blast chatting to Adam about all kinds of writerly things, including how your characters can have unexpected hidden lives!
Listen to the show from the beginning or move along the bar to about 16:50 for my bit. (Available for 29 days.) https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p09f2t10
Nikki Copleston and I received a warm welcome from book lovers at Somerton Library this October. Topics ranged from how characters go rogue, to the importance of setting and dialogue. Discussions are underway for a writing workshop at the library next spring, so watch this space!
My melancholy ghost story appeared in the December issue of Wells Voice. The tale involved a young woman, a baby and a well. What could possibly go wrong? Click on the image to read the tale.
If you enjoy it, you might also like to read A Mendip Tale, a spooky story set in the hills above my house. It was great fun to write!
Supporting local bookshops
You might have noticed that I've added links to Bookshop.org to my website. It's a site that allows bricks and mortar bookshops to have a presence online. The aim is to divert money from a certain online behemoth... If you buy a book from a shop's curated list, they will receive 30% of the cover price as opposed to nothing if you buy from Amazon. However, the best solution is always to buy directly from a shop if you can, so they then get all of the profit, which is typically about 50% of the cover price. So now you know!
Back on the Beeb
I was delighted to discover that Adam Crowther had selected another of my extracts to feature on his evening show on BBC Radio Bristol on 28 September.
In it, Eleanor and Daniel enjoy a boating trip with difference...
The programme is available to listen to until the end of October. Scrowl along to 1:42 to hear Harry Styles warbling followed by your truly reading the snippet from A Summer of Surprises.
Life on stand-by
The very annoying virus has put paid to a number of jolly events, including speaking gigs in Truro and Rochester, and a trip to the Crime Fest in Harrogate with some of my crime-writing buddies. It also saw the cancellation of London Book Fair this spring and my colleagues and I won't be making the annual pilgrimage to Frankfurt in October.
It's all been pretty quiet on the writing front, though I'm amazed to see that some lovely booksellers are still recommending my stories to their customers. If you do want to read my books, please buy them from a real shop: Jeff Bezos doesn't need any more of our hard-earned cash.
How to be a Writer
I was delighted to join fellow RNA 'Weston-to-Wells' members at a special event at the beginning of February, at which we discussed our very different routes to publication and advised would-be writers how to take the next steps. It was only Weston Writers' Nights second event, so the organisers were thrilled to have 50 people attend!
Visit Weston Writer's Nights for more information about future sessions with this exciting, creative enterprise.
I continue co-hosting our monthly 'Book Corner' session with Sonja Price and Nikki Copleston during Allan Trinder's Community Show. In August the programme featured an extract from A Summer of Surprises in which Connie decides to liven up a protest march in sleepy Combemouth, much to Eleanor's alarm. Our last event was In March 2020, when I shared YA novels recommended by booksellers.
I had my first solo gig at Wells Library – woohoo! As well as reading from the books, I discussed what life was like in the publishing industry in the 1980s and revealed my brushes with the likes of Nelson Mandela and footballer Mark Lawrenson.
After my sessions on Glastonbury FM, I was delighted to have an extract fom A Summer of Surprises and An Unexpected Affair played on BBC Upload on 13 February as an antidote to Valentine's Day. It's one of my melancholy passages in which Daniel reminisces about his first love – ex-wife Freya.
Since then, BBC Upload have aired a couple more extracts, including one of Kate's comically bad dates from A London Affair.
Books From Scotland
My publisher – Waverley Books – is based in Glasgow, so I was lucky enough to have my stories featured on the Books From Scotland website, just before Christmas 2018.
In the February edition of the blog, I revealed why I love writing about bookshops and tell all about my accidental journey into fiction.
From Head to Page
My fellow Stellar Scribes and I have run our popular creative writing session at various local venues, including Wells, Street and Chard libraries. Our most recent event – in Yeovil – was very well attended and we plan to run a creative writing workshop there next spring.
We have more events coming up, which is great for keeping the creative juices flowing!