Monthly Archives: September 2016

USA, Get Ready For My Backlist

I’ve had many enquiries from American friends asking if my backlist of around twenty books would become available there for Kindle, Kobo, etc. The volumes are being released in sets in the UK and Europe at the moment, with The Curse of Snakes and Calabash due in about three weeks. I’ve now signed a deal for […]

Stepping Into Dreams

What’s it like to be on a film set? Disappointing, mostly. Today’s sets are largely green-screened so that CGI can be added, but occasionally sets are built or locations are dressed. Today I was in Gerona, where a great many films have been shot – so many in fact that a museum is hosting an […]

A Writer’s Life: Why You Need A Good Editor

In today’s world has everywhere been written about? I’ve read novels set in North Korea and among ancient tribes. What about the modern state of how we live now in the UK, our relationships and confusions, and the way in which ‘career portfolios’ replace traditional jobs? US novelists write state-of-the-nation books very well, but we […]

The Mystery of George Langelaan

Although he was born in Paris in 1908, Langelaan was British, and lived a life far stranger than almost any of his fictions. By my reckoning, he didn’t get published until he was approaching fifty – so what was he doing in the intervening years? Well, he began as a newspaper writer until the start […]

Films With Moral Dilemmas

It’s a given these days that any film involving corporations, institutions or governments will present a black-and-white picture of good (independent, liberal, quirky, new age) against evil (fascist, secretive, dishonest, betraying) but once in a while we see ethical dilemmas explored in greater detail. Terrence Rattigan’s ‘The Winslow Boy’ has been filmed at least ten […]

Autumn Schedule: London Insights

  As summer ends I’ll shortly be heading home and spending some time with something I need to catch up on: London. There are a few experiences in the city that I haven’t tried for a while, so I’ll be visiting institutions, tourist attractions and secret places to see what London in the Phoney War […]

The (Un)Fashionable Author

I’ve always been a bit of a clothes-horse; at a time when most authors were exploring the world of corduroy I was wearing Dirk Bikkenberg. It helps that I’m a boring off-the-peg size and usually find the fit I want. It becomes particularly hard for older men to find anything that doesn’t make them look […]

English As Sheer Spoke

Tip of the hat to the BBC’s Matthew Anderson for finding this tip on the unspoken rules of English grammar. All contrary examples accepted!

Are Bryant & May Becoming Fashionable?

An article in today’s Observer by Sarah Hughes staggered me a bit this morning. Newspapers love to look for two snowstorms and suggest the next big thing will be the Ice Age, but the idea that ‘cosies’ are the hot new thing (nice coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s first book) is a […]

Inventing Creepy-Crawlies

When I was a little boy, living near Greenwich Park in a suburban London street, we were surrounded by creepy-crawlies, the best being the prehistoric but weirdly adorable stag beetle. You could tie cotton to its legs and make it drag things. Then came daddy-long-legs (legses?), and you could pull all its legs off to […]