Britain Reverts To Tradition


The National Retail Sales Index makes for far more interesting reading than you might imagine. Its findings are picked over and analysed for retail trends. Prices have been steadily rising while the phenomenon known as shrinkflation has cut the size of many products for consumers, maintaining profits for producers. There are other signs of retrenchment, […]

‘The Shape Of Water’; Ravishing, Heart-Stopping, Kleenex Destroying


No Spoilers Guillermo Del Toro and I have a bit of a history; I was there for his first film, he optioned one of my books and for a brief, glorious time we worked together. The Mexican director has the seemingly Latin ability of being able to make a cinematic point within the context of […]

Past, Present, First, Third…


One of the hardest decisions you have to make whenever you start writing a book is choosing your voice. Do you write it in the first person or the third? (A handful of books have been written in the second person but they’re awkwardly self-conscious to read.) If you choose the third person, you get […]

Are The Days Of Bookshop Readings Ending?

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There was a time when it was very common for the bigger UK authors to tour American bookshops. Over here I spent part of every year touring UK bookstores giving talks, conducting Q&As and signing, but never got offered a US tour. Knowing you can’t pull a big crowd certainly stops you from getting a big […]

A Dazzling, Cerebral Vision Of The Future


NO SPOILERS The figures are in; Americans do not love ‘Blade Runner 2049’. They clearly prefer to see a film about a monster clown living in a drain. The opening weekend for the noir SF sequel was dismal. However it has had a huge opening in the UK and will make back its cost internationally. In an […]

No Known Address


I was tooling through the online version of ‘A Topographical Dictionary of London and Its Environs’ by James Elmes (as you do), which lists all of the streets and squares, alleys and wharves now largely lost to London, and my reading coincided with an article in Red Herrings, the ‘Confidential Monthly Bulletin of the Crime […]

Think Literacy Levels Are Fine? Read This


Ah, England, home of Shakespeare! Also, a land where people apparently can’t string two words together, a country with a literacy rate that places us 44th in the world order, rather a long way behind, say, Latvia and Moldova, not quite as low as Tunisia or Papua New Guinea. The source for literacy rates is here although […]

Don’t Forget This: It’s Out Now!


  The journey of writing a book doesn’t end on its publication day. It’s where the real journey begins. And I feel this is doubly so for ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’, which is out today. Once there were popular novels almost everyone owned. Mum had Georgette Heyer, Dad had Eric Ambler, I had Dennis […]

London’s Other Theatre World

It’s autumn; the season when you can’t get into a play. So here’s another way of looking at it. One of the things that makes British theatre special is the way in which shows can still start small, filtering from tiny tryouts to larger venues. Productions can begin at a grass roots level in Scotland, […]

Jack And Stephen


When you type in ‘Whitechapel’, an American deathcore band from Knoxville, Tennessee pops up in Google instead of the real Whitechapel, ‘deathcore’ being a type of thrashy music performed by middle-aged men who like to pretend they’re edgy. But Gentle Author‘s stash of rare market photos in the press yesterday reminded me that the actual […]