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.

Happy New Year!

As an entrepreneur of sorts I love this time of year. A few days off at Christmas have recharged the batteries and allowed us to seek absolution for all the things that went wrong last year. And the master plan for 2014 remains pristine, intact, unruffled by reality. Here’s the gist of it.


We have left the shores of Australia and have made our way to New Zealand! Kia Ora!

On our last day in Queensland the boys decided to fill their time sensibly. How, I hear you ask? A trip to the Great Barrier Reef? Crocodile Tour? A BBQ? No, they opted for the more traditional past time of seeing what objects they could throw into the ceiling fan for best effect, and then rated it in terms of potential injury, distance travelled… you get the idea.

Dot Simpson

When I wrote my first novel Poppy Day, I couldn’t have predicted the way people would fall in love with Dot, Poppy’s Nan. This funny, lively lady, living her latter years in a nursing home under the fog of dementia, struck a chord with many. Her precious moments of lucidity and sage advice were valued as much by Poppy as they were my readers who, like myself, have experience of this cruel disease.

Australiababble: Seeing the sights

My new favourite mode of transport: Ferrari? Harley? No. From now on, I shall whenever possible be travelling by open top bus. They are awesome! And what better way to see a city? We bought 24-hour tickets and went crazy – hopping on and off at will. My favourite stop was Kings Cross, which does the best day-to-night make over I have ever seen. If Kings Cross were a woman, she would wear demure clothing and subtle make-up by day, but as soon as the sun goes down, she puts on her red lippy, whips off her cardigan, dons her heels and dances on the bar. You go girl!

Australiababble: We're in Australia!

I’m in AUSTRALIA!!!! Wooohooo! Arrived yesterday morning (I think) and it’s now the day after (I think) – I actually have no concept of day or time, but it doesn’t matter – I made it and after my initial 24 hour explore I am love with this city! I have loved places before and undoubtedly will again, but what I wasn’t prepared for and have rarely experienced, is that Sydney loves me back!

Australiababble: And we're off!

So, standing here in the lounge in my pyjamas with the ironing board and a mountain of clean but crumpled laundry filling the room. The kids are on the computer thingy, demanding bacon and my husband is ankle deep in paperwork, just a normal Sunday really, only it isn’t. For tomorrow we are off to AUSTRALIA!!!

I am beyond excited and more than a little apprehensive.  All those hours on a plane? Really? I am planning a strategy that involves movie watching and lots of wine.