June 2024 Newsletter

Hi there

This pot of hastily planted nicotiana is just outside my front door. I’m very much of the ‘stick it all in together and see what happens’ school of bedding plants but I’m particularly taken by this one. The colour of those petals, just dusted with that vintage, faded pink, stops me in my tracks every day.

How are you? How was June? We had some sunshine here in the UK. It’s actually raining again as I type but I’m very grateful for the week of summer that I saw.

What am I writing?

Well, there’s big news on that front, for me anyway, as just yesterday I delivered the manuscript of next year’s Imogen book to my editor. Currently titled A Question of Loyalty, it’s about a stranger who turns up at a funeral claiming to be the sister of the deceased. I’ve had such fun writing it. Let’s hope the edit is as entertaining! (I’m sure you remember how little I enjoy editing.)

So, this morning I began to allow my head to fill with ideas for the next two books. First will be a new Izzy Bromley title and then the Imogen book for 2026. ( 2026! How is that a thing?!) I think I have great ideas for both and can’t wait to start but I will show some restraint because my characters don’t even have names yet! Sometimes I have to curb my enthusiasm rather than just diving straight in. A bit of thought at the outset of writing a new book is rarely wasted.

Where have I been?

I started the month in the French Riviera on a walking trip. We were up in Sainte-Agnès which is the highest village on the Mediterranean coast. It’s cut into the rock face and has spectacular views of both the sea and nearby Italy. Or so it should have. Not so much when I was there!

We kept climbing to the top of things for a view which we couldn’t see. I’m sure it’s very beautiful on a clear day. Matters improved a little as we dropped down to Menton on the coast and we kept telling ourselves it was so much easier to walk in the cooler cloud, but a few more blue skies wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Around Sainte-Agnès

Here are a couple snaps and as ever, if you’re interested in more then have a look at my Instagram feed HERE or my Facebook page HERE.

After that I spent a week writing in beautiful Wells-next-the-Sea. I had coffee with JM Dalgleish, a very successful crime writer who lives just up the coast and who isn’t nearly as scary as his headshot suggests, and also with Barbara Peirson, a wonderful artist who I ‘met’ on Instagram and now ‘know’ in real life. We had such an interesting conversation about creativity. I think I might have bombarded her with my questions. I find how humans create stuff endlessly fascinating.

You may recall my foray into ‘art’ on my retreat. (I wrote a post about my resulting switch in mindset which you can read HERE.) Well, I’ve signed up for a drawing course for the terminally terrified. It’s kind of book research for a forthcoming character but I’m hoping to learn a bit too. Watch this space for how I get on.

This last week I was in London at a writing conference and I came away with head full of inspiration and a notebook full of things to do! There’s nothing like being in a room full of likeminded people to kickstart your passion, particularly when being an author is such a very solitary occupation. It was great.

Book News!

Well, the big news this week is that Izzy Bromley #2 Table for Five came out and so far it seems to be going down well if the ratings and reviews are anything to go by. In case you don’t know, I also write as Izzy in between my Imogen books. Izzy’s stories are a little lighter but still have rich characters and interesting ideas to discuss. The new one is about being lonely in a busy world and how friends can be found in the most unlikely places.

It’s out in paperback, ebook and audiobook (with the fabulous Imogen Church narrating) – perfect for your summer hols!

What have I read?

I’ve read across genres this month but here are my four favourites.

This month’s book recommendations.

First is Babel by RF Kuang (who also wrote Yellowface.) This is part historical, part fantasy about the Babel Institute in Oxford, a translation hub which controls pretty much everything through the power of languages. The book is a commentary on etymology, colonialism and standing up for what you believe in. It made me think.

A little lighter is Lyrebird by Cecilia Ahern. A beautiful and solitary girl with a unique talent is plucked from her hideaway in south-west Ireland and thrust into the limelight. Can the magic that makes her so special survive the modern world? I love Cecilia Ahern’s writing and this is a charming read and has a bit of romance thrown in for good measure.

When my friend first told me that she was writing a murder mystery set on a gridlocked motorway I was intrigued. Now, two years later the book is out and I got to read it for myself. And I wasn’t disappointed. Dead Mile by Jo Furniss is a locked room mystery that’s set in the open air. The motorway traffic grinds to a halt and within minutes one of the drivers has been murdered in his car. But by whom and how? It kept me hooked. It’s tightly plotted and the poor police officer who is trying to investigate in increasingly challenging circumstances is a great character.

Finally this month, When we were Silent by Fiona McPhillips is about historical abuse of the girls in a school swimming team by their coaches. Set in the 1980s, with a mirroring plot in the present day, it struck a chord with me. Anyone growing up before #metoo can probably think of incidents that would no longer be acceptable today. I touched on this theme in one of my own books, Reluctantly Home. The book is about imbalance of power and what happens when that balance is restored. A compelling read.

And that’s your lot for this month. Congratulations to everyone who won a signed copy of Table for Five last month. I hope you enjoy reading it. If you do please post a review. (If you don’t then perhaps don’t! )

Next month I’m going to watch ballet in the open air in Dubrovnik -spoiler alert – it may involve my son – so call back next month to hear all about it.

Until then enjoy the summer. Why not load up your kindle for some relaxing reading? If you click the Follow button on my Amazon page (or the page of any author you enjoy) then you’ll get an email when any books are on special offer. Always good to know at this time of year.

Happy reading.