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Showing posts from February, 2011

Good Romance Writing

It's Valentine's Day as I write this (although it probably won't be by the time you read it) so my thoughts are naturally turning to romance, and romance writing in particular.

My new book, Honeymoon Heist, is a romance in a sense, although the couple in question are married. One of the discussion questions at the end of the book is "Can a novel still be a romance or love story when the couple are married?" Over the weekend I got my own answer to that question when I read one of the most touching and romantic scenes I have ever had the pleasure to cry over.

The book was "Tea Time for the Traditionally Built" by Alexander McCall Smith. Thanks to my book club (yet another reason to love book clubs) I have recently discovered the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, and this particular chapter really summed up, for me, just how masterful the author is.

The heroine, Precious Ramotswe, is married to Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, a mechanic. Having read the first fe…

What's in a Name?

Sorry about the really, really unoriginal blog title there, but I just couldn't think of a better one. Because I am blogging about the names of my books.

Did you know I'm the Author of In the Shadow of the Mountain, Home at Haven, Easterfield and The Honeymooners? No? Those are all the original titles of my first four novels. If you actually know the titles of my books you'll notice that all of them, except Easterfield, have been changed prior to publication.

The name of a book is very important. It might be the only part the bookshop browser ever sees, and, like a newspaper headline, it needs to be intriguing enough to catch their attention. Not only that, but it should also sum up the spirit of the book, perhaps evoke a feeling or even another book, and hint at the plot at the same time.

Publishers are excellent at choosing titles, and I particularly like the title they picked for Honeymoon Heist. My favourite of those they listed as possible options was The Getaway but hav…

Dying on the First Page

Last weekend my family and I went to see the new Disney film, Tangled. It was great, as I fully expected it to be, but I spent the first few minutes wondering which movie the film was acknowledging with the great opening line - "This is the story of how I died."

I'd heard that before I knew, spoken in a woman's voice. My eldest daughter told me it was Twilight but in fact she was wrong. (Twilight begins - "I had never given much thought to how I would die.") A lot of Googling later and I had my answer. It wasn't a film at all, but a feature-length and much-awaiting climactic episode of Doctor Who which saw the Doctor's assistant, Rose Tyler, transported to an alternate reality. And the opening words, spoken by Rose as narrator, are "This is the story of how I died."

Another book I read recently, Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, opens with the death of the complex and difficult character who features as a ghost for much of the rest…