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November 25, 2019

This Autumn Richard, Raine and I went (briefly) to Crickhowell Literary Festival. I had no idea we were in such a rich area for Welsh mythology, which has become part of our consciousness and literature. It's random finds like this that keep my imagination lively: I re...

September 16, 2019

On Saturday I went back to the school where I taught English for the longest, and happiest, time. Perhaps you've done this too, as staff or pupil. Did you dread it? I almost didn't go, but then I was also excited. What surprised me was the number of pupils who said I h...

September 1, 2019

I was about to interview the owners of independent bookshops to try and help support them. Towns stay alive as long as they are going strong, along with libraries and post offices. Then I recently met several authors who also run bookshops. It seemed to me to be a bril...

August 26, 2019

I've been asked a lot this summer about where the slightly archaic words come from that I use in The Book of Bera as vernacular Old Norse. Well, here's one of the speakers. Nana was born in Wales and died soon after this photo was taken, when many of her phrases seemed...

July 20, 2019

On 20 July 1969, like so many people then, my family clustered round a television set and peered at a dusty moon. But what I remember most is the colour poster on my bedroom wall of Earthrise. Only now do I realise this is what I describe in Obsidian, published 50 year...

April 26, 2019

On Good Friday we lost our dear old Labrador, Teddy. This photo was taken ten minutes before he lost the use of his back legs. He was my rock and always had my back. I never managed to have babies so I can understand people thinking dogs are my children: but they are m...

April 17, 2019

Risky substance, apparently, dragonglass. I only found out yesterday that George RR Martin's black stone, forged in a dragon's stomach, is obsidian. It's so deadly, it might kill the White Walkers, apparently. I make a different, no less dangerous use of it, in my book...

April 9, 2019

Iceland Writers Retreat 2019 was as good as my first time and more than I hoped for, in a second visit. I can see why some writers go every year.

The faculty included writers of quality who also happen to be excellent teachers, like Priya Basil, Louis de Bernieres, Tes...

March 29, 2019

This is the most often-asked question and I will be talking about it at the upcoming Portsmouth Book Festival Writing & Publishing Weekend, details can be found at the end of this post.

Anyone else use this book? When I started to write seriously, with lesson plans for...

January 23, 2019

I'm often asked to talk about research, as I am again in March as part of the Portsmouth Book Festival. I like to surprise people by demonstrating that we're more in touch with the past than we suppose. My mum was brought up by her grandparents, who were Victorians. It...

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