Books

Forgotten Authors: The Addiction That Can’t Be Cured

Benighted

Readers sometimes ask, ‘Do your characters live with you 24 hours a day?’ to which I (and I suspect most regularly published authors) answer, ‘No, they live in my computer.’ When I turn my mind to stories I do so seated at a desk, although ideas sometimes run in the background if I’m particularly stuck […]

The Pleasure Of Past Horrors

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This weekend sees the return of London’s paperback fair, an event which has seen growing numbers of fans and collectors discovering the delights of the humble MMP. The desire to fetishise old analogue items continues apace, with vinyl, reel-to-reel tape recorders, board games and the mass market paperbacks all undergoing big revivals. This doesn’t mean […]

Bryant & May Return In A Month

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  ARTHUR BRYANT: ‘These hippies are selfish and irresponsible. I’ll tell you what made our nation the bastion of patrician morality it is today; the ability to be profoundly miserable. It’s one of our greatest strengths, to be ranked beside shutting the boozers at ten thirty and regarding the waterproof mackintosh as an acceptable item […]

London’s Cinema Of Sin Is Coming Back

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A million people walked (or often fell) through the doors of London’s Scala cinema between June 1978-June 1993. Most of them staggered out. Now my old friend Jane Giles, who was the life and soul of the 24 hour party that was London’s Scala Cinema, has written a book on this scurrilous subject, which promises […]

A Few Good Scares

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Having reviewed books on and off for twenty years I’ve inevitably built up a spectacular stack of them, mostly good – I don’t see a point of reviewing books you disliked because press space is valuable. The one exception I was forced to make was for a surprisingly weak Stephen King tome about farting aliens, […]

The Working Mother Writers

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While I was selecting  the authors who have now vanished from family bookshelves, I couldn’t help noticing how many women writers gave up because the demands of looking after a parent or children prevented them from putting their thoughts on paper. For many, writing was one of the few ‘respectable’ jobs for a young woman, […]

When Authors Hide Secrets Part 1

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When I began writing ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’, I quickly learned to decode newspaper articles about writers. There were men who were ‘intensely private’ and women who ‘never married’. The words ‘sapphic’ and ‘bachelor’ tended to crop up, used knowingly. These writers were devoted to their mothers and never gave personal interviews. They lived […]

Where Can You Find Forgotten Authors?

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The same question keeps coming up when I do Q&As; Where can I find more forgotten authors? Luckily, books seem to be going through a boom time in the UK, with many new bookshops opening.Electronic reading has found its rightful place, as a useful travelling companion, and has increased the sales of physical books. There […]

Scatterbrain

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I received an online comment from someone who admired my ‘eclectic mind’, to which I replied that I was simply a scatterbrain. The brain is a selective organ. Some receive data but don’t sense atmospheres, others over-empathise without understanding facts. It seems that when we are young we’re generally emotional and impulsive, and as we […]

From The Slush Pile II

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A few more gems from the stack of unsolicited manuscripts that reach publishers, giving an insight into how the minds of some would-be writers work… ‘You didn’t have to be an in-law to hate her guts,’ said Chester, ‘no pun intended.’ His pen poised, John hesitated over the white breast of the page. Immediately after […]