Countdown to The Madness of July

Here at Head of Zeus, we're gearing up for the launch of James Naughtie's debut novel The Madness of July which comes out later this month. 

A sophisticated political thriller set during the Cold War, the novel draws on Naughtie's decades of experience as a political insider in Westminster and Washington. Listen to him introduce the plot and characters here:

Amandababble: Happy Febraury

Back in Blighty this week and once again its good to be home! Quite horrified by all the flooding, even beautiful Bristol has had areas of water damage around the swollen river etc, although nothing compared to what’s occurred on the Somerset Levels. My hearts and prayers are with everyone affected. It’s an awful thing to happen in your home, truly devastating. 

Portuguesebabble week 2

Okay, apologies in advance for the prolific use of the F word in this blog, the word we don’t use in front of the children and some of our more sensitive friends - FAT. That was just the first; there will be more to follow. Anyone of a delicate disposition when it comes to talking about being FAT, those who prefer ‘Big Boned’, ‘Well Built’ or simply disguise the topic by talking about ‘lovely faces’ and ‘it’s what’s inside that counts’ can look away now and incidentally what’s inside if there is FAT outside, is FAT!

Portuguesebabble

Bom dia! I write from the foot of a misty mountain where the sun is creeping from behind its black curtain and birds are singing while the odd late star lingers, it is quite beautiful... But let me rewind to last Sunday, which feels like a month away.

Polar Opposites: Jane Lythell talks about the two women in The Lie of You

I was on holiday in Portugal with my daughter after a difficult few weeks at work. A colleague had been behaving in a way that made me feel undermined and unhappy and I needed the break in the sun badly. After a few days I started to relax and as I was swimming in the hotel pool a speech popped fully formed into my head. It was one woman speaking with huge malevolence about another woman who seemed to have it all. I hauled myself out of the pool, grabbed my notebook and wrote this speech down.

Hitting the road again!

Is there anyone left in the UK that doesn’t have a cold, the flu or a shivery snotty bug? If yes, please be my friend as everyone else I have encountered in the last seven days has been spluttering at me with a huge, red nose, swollen eyes and the energy level of a sloth! And I really don’t want to catch it!

Well and truly back in the swing of things here, I frowned at three people, stood silently in a very long queue and am wearing so many layers I can’t stretch my arms above my head because it’s so c…c…c… cold!

Back home!

I’m in ENGLAND!!!!! Yes, I am at my mum’s where the wind is blowing and the rain is lashing the house. We have flood and tide surge warnings in place and the ground is muddy and the air bl**dy freezing! The boiler is on the blink, the traffic horrendous, telly is rubbish and I have a laundry mountain that resembles Everest (without the frozen sick) BUT I am so so happy to be here!

Like a favourite chipped mug, a warm jumper with a hole in it or an old pillow with a dent where your head lies, this country is far from perfect but it’s my country and I LOVE IT!

Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts

I have always loved sagas. Most especially working class family sagas
.

When I first came into publishing, there was only one name in the genre – Catherine Cookson. We used to have meetings about her. What was her magic? Surely we could find someone else who could copy her formula. It couldnʼt be that difficult.


But it was that difficult – for one very simple reason. Great saga writers are born, not made. The magic of Catherine Cookson sprang from the heart, not the head, from living the lives of her heroines, not from researching them.