"Grief feels like love. Sometimes you press on that tender spot, because it’s as close as you can get to the person who is otherwise gone.” – Kate Brody
Posts tagged "UK"
Barmaids and landladies in fiction

Barmaids and landladies in fiction

My new psychological thriller What We Did in the Storm is set on the beautiful Isles of Scilly, pitching dark secrets and even darker deeds against stunning scenery. My lead character happens to be a barmaid working on the island, so I blithely suggested compiling a Top Ten list of fictional barmaids and landladies. Easy,...
The essential art of rewriting

The essential art of rewriting

I am always nervous about giving advice to aspiring novelists. My instinct is not to advise at all but to ask them, quite earnestly, if they are sure that this is what they want to do. If the answer is “I think so…” then I am tempted to steer them towards a different course. The...
Locked-room mysteries

Locked-room mysteries

Back in the day, a ‘locked-room mystery’ meant exactly that – a murder behind not only closed, but locked doors, ostensibly impossible to commit, and thus a mechanical conundrum to unpick. Think Gaston Leroux’s Le mystère de la chambre jaune (1907), or even Arthur Conan Doyle’s personal favourite of all his Sherlock Holmes stories, ‘The Adventure...
Ami Rao: All life is here

Ami Rao: All life is here

Ami Rao’s Boundary Road is an inventively structured, deftly observed and uncompromisingly raw snapshot of contemporary multicultural London in which two young passengers on the Number 13 bus from central to north London have fleeting encounter whilst lost in their own pasts. Aron is making a new start as an assistant in a suit shop,...
Liminal spaces and impossible things

Liminal spaces and impossible things

I’ve been obsessed with and seduced by the notion of liminal space since childhood. It began with The Chronicles of Narnia. As an eight-year-old I devoured The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and, long after the story started to fade the obsession with wardrobes remained. My paternal grandmother lived in a large, spooky Victorian...
The sparks of an obsession

The sparks of an obsession

I WAS EIGHT WHEN I REALISED that stories were not simply magic; that they didn’t arrive into the world already formed. Like puppies or babies or films. Two months before that birthday, the very first non-Congress government had swept to power in India, and with it, the end of the Emergency which had suspended civil...
Connecting with lost souls

Connecting with lost souls

My third novel Hazardous Spirits is set in Edinburgh in 1923. The story follows Evelyn Hazard, whose husband Robert wakes up one day and announces that he can speak to the spirits of the dead. Like many strange tales, the idea for this novel originated during an unusual blind date. I arrived late to the...
from Please Do Not Touch This Exhibit

from Please Do Not Touch This Exhibit

When I started writing the poems in Please Do Not Touch This Exhibit, it had been four years since my first IVF appointment. I wrote the collection over the following two years, not knowing what the end would be; I’d aimed to finish the book by winter 2022, realising I might be pregnant by then,...
A semblance of order

A semblance of order

Ana Sampson’s latest poetry anthology Gods and Monsters, illustrated by Chris Riddell and with a foreword by Natalie Haynes, draws together classic and brand-new mythological poems from around the world. With retellings and reimaginings of Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Norse, Celtic, Aztec, Japanese and Inuit myths, it includes poems from Neil Gaiman, W.B. Yeats, Kae Tempest,...
Getting on: Later-life female friendship

Getting on: Later-life female friendship

‘The first time I saw you, do you know what I thought?’ Janet steels herself. ‘I thought, that woman looks like she ploughs her own furrow. You stood out from everyone else – no one else in our street strides around with their pockets clanking with tools. I couldn’t take my eyes off you! I...
A time to write

A time to write

It’s difficult to cast my mind back to the early days of the pandemic, even though it wasn’t so long ago. Maybe because it’s a stressful time that most of us would rather forget, or maybe since many of our deeply rooted memories have to do with human interaction, it is difficult to understand, to...
from The Dogs

from The Dogs

This book came about from an encounter. Every day for over ten years, I passed a dog tethered in a yard on Low Lane near where I lived. He was guarding a pile of scrap metal. His only shelter was a corrugated sheet. He had a bowl of rainwater and his leash allowed him little...