The Londoner: Don’t Do That, Do This!

London, city of fabulous fun, city of really duff nights out – what’s the difference between the two? Simple – planning. So many friends come over asking where to meet and what to do that I feel like publishing a book about it. If you’re new to the city, it can be a daunting place. […]

Christopher & Peter

After I wrote the horror romp ‘Hell Train’ I never really went back to it. I don’t think it was a huge success (although there’s a nice German edition), partly because I went with a small publishing house, partly because it was a bit too clever for the market. The plot concerns a writer hired […]

Books VS Socks

And so I finish my week of writing articles with something a tad more light-hearted. \In 1946, George Orwell wrote an entertaining essay entitled ‘Books V Cigarettes’, in which he totted up the cost and pleasure of both and came down firmly on the side of books. After setting out to buy socks and returning […]

This Year’s Hottest Novel Is [Untitled]

A book never sells on its title alone, but a good one can really help. The mass-market success of the rudimentary thriller The Girl on the Train is down to its perfect title, two nouns and a clear image, destined to be bought by every girl who ever caught a train. Titles are probably more […]

Writing: Here Comes The Hard Part

You’ll notice this week all the posts are about writing. That’s because I have been chained to my desk (a former Franco voting desk covered in ink stains and hundreds of bits of paper) trying to produce an idea from thin air. If there’s one element that confounds would-be writers it’s this; the making-things-up-from-nothing bit. […]

First Line, First Page

It’s the fear you hear from many writers. ‘I don’t know how to start’. But getting it right as you set out is important because the opening sets the tone for what follows. You can’t load a momentous or shocking opening into the first sentence very easily without it looking overly melodramatic. The first line […]

What’s Your Style?

Can you tell if a writer has a particular style? I didn’t think I had one until my agent pointed it out. I’d always assumed that most writers don’t have just one style but an infinite number ready for use. Good writers can pastiche and mimic. Great ones perform miracles of assimilation that make you believe […]

Bryant & May: Heading Into Trouble

It’s about time we had an update. So, Bryant & May Vol 16, ‘Hall of Mirrors’, is still in hardback, and the first LK Fox novel, ‘Little Boy Found’, is still an e-book. I’ve just finished touring the hardback of ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’ and will shortly be working on the paperback release. As […]

‘A Good Idea Has A Thousand Fathers’

How often have you read a book and become convinced that you’ve read it somewhere before? Sometimes a particular scene will resonate and I’ll go searching for another version of it. In his immense volume ‘The Seven Basic Plots’ Christopher Booker argued that  there are only seven archetypal themes which recur throughout every kind of […]

The Friday Song Is On Tuesday

‘The Scottsboro Boys’ was angry and contentious when it appeared in 2010 – shockingly so as the real-life miscarriage of justice that wrecked (and indeed, took) the lives of nine young black men falsely accused of rape was one of the last collaborations between John Kander and Fred Ebb before the latter’s death. The Scottsboro […]