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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Kindle - Dream or Disaster?

Seen a new novel you like the sound of?  Want  to read it now? Wait no longer - with Kindle you can.
That's the sort of copy I turned out regularly in the eighties when I worked for a small advertising agency. All of it was glib and no-one, I suspect, believed a word of it. So for some time now I  have remained unmoved by all the publicity generated by the Amazon Kindle.  Worse still, I  have treated the  e-book phenomenon with scorn, believing nothing could take the place of the trusty old book: the smell of new paper as you scan the pages, the lure of the cover as you hold it in your hands, the sight of your book shelves bulging with literary talent from every corner of the world... (sorry I'm back in advertising  land again)  How could this compare with the lowly Kindle?

But then, blog reader, (with apologies to Jane Eyre) I  bought one. (Or more accurately was given one as a present by my daughter.)

And now, I simply take a different view. I can read the latest books wherever I go and edit my own work at the same time. I can browse through great literature as if  I were in a library,  without  even moving from my chair.  And best of all, I can buy a book at the touch of a button.

I remember the first time I had a feature published in a mainstream magazine; I rushed into the newsagent and bought four copies, one of which I have to this day. It was real, tangible, something I could keep to hand on to the next generation.  These days my house is full of vintage books which reveal so much through their  smell,  feel, and texture. They are full of photographs -a mysterious sepia print or a delicate tapestry-passed down to us from another age.  How dull life would be without them.

So I still don't believe that e-books will ever entirely replace the real thing , but  I hope for now that the two can sit side by side in a rapidly changing world. 

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Occupying Love

Stop Press!  I've just finished the final draft of my new book 'Occupying Love' and I've dedicated it to my favourite Guernseyman - Harry Brown.  Read on to find out what it's all about...

When Lydia Le Page is trapped in the Channel Islands  at the start of the German Occupation, she transforms from a feisty young student with a promising career ahead of her, to an enemy collaborator burdened with a terrible secret.
It is Guernsey in 1940 and the island people have been robbed of their children and hounded out of their own homes.
Crushed by the death of her father after an argument with a German officer, Lydia vows to seek her revenge.  She discovers an ally in Martin Martell,  the enigmatic  rector of Torteval Church, who persuades her to join the Resistance. Inexplicably drawn to each other, though loathe to admit it, neither is aware of the other’s past.
Does he know she’ll be asked to seduce the Kommandant? And will they be able to put their feelings aside, or will he put a stop to it before it’s too late? As Martin is arrested, a terrifying secret  has yet to be revealed, one that could threaten the lives of  these two extraordinary people torn between desire and duty.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

What a 'privy' lege....

My photographs  of the exquisite vintage costume museum in Alstonefield, Derbyshire, produced plenty of interest this week, but I should add that  some of the displays do have a lighter side. My favourite scene (above) has to be of the man reading his newspaper while sitting on the outside 'privy.'

My compliments to owner Notty Hornblower for showing us the 'other' side of life. If you want to know more or would like to donate clothes or memorabilia to the museum please contact:

Friday, 4 November 2011

If I could turn back time...

One of the pleasures of writing historical fiction is getting  into character. Growing up in the sixties I longed to go back to the days of majestic staircases and sumptuous ballgowns, though the reality may have been quite different. 'Be careful what you wish for,' my mother used  to say, 'Or you might end up as a scullery maid.'

I spent a wonderful day yesterday at Hope House Costume Museum and Restoration Workshop in Alstonefield, near Ashbourne, Derbyshire, run by longstanding family friend Notty Hornblower.This beautiful museum is the realisation of a lifelong dream for Notty who has gathered together a unique collection of outfits and

accessories dating from 1790 to the 1970's. My favourite display  is 'Brides  Revisited' showing exquisite vintage wedding dresses, hand-stitched veils and  bejewelled satin shoes dating back to the turn of the century, some with the original photographs of their owners wearing them on their special day.

Notty has appeared on BBC's Antiques Roadshow, ITV's Heart of the Country and various other TV channels, as well as being regularly featured in several lifestyle magazines. Most importantly, her love for all things vintage has benefited  many different charities.

If you want to know more visit