On being a writer...

A celebration of the writing process, of being a writer, of all the weird things that pass through a writing brain...

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

we have a title

And about time. I can't describe the relief. It's like wandering in the dark and suddenly seeing the light - and oddly enough, it makes the whole book make sense, as if someone's given it an almighty tweak. And in the end it was an obvious choice. I thought to myself, let's go back to basics. What inspired this novel? Answer: The French Revolution.

There is a very wordy poem about the French Revolution, by Blake, and another, very famous by Wordsworth - Bliss was it on that dawn to be alive... And of course lots of fiction - including The Scarlet Pimpernel, and A Tale of Two Cities, which Dickens wrote whilst receiving chapters of Carlyle's history of the French Rev literally as they were penned. It suddenly occurred to me to go back to that opening chapter: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness....

So there it was, and is. Season of Light. Just the ticket. Full of enigma and promise.


  1. I will look forward to this, and meanwhile will be buying copies of your other books. I won the draw for The Crimson Rooms on Sarah Johnson's "Reading the Past" and thought it was one of the best books I had read in a very long time. I think your combination of a serious work with women's issues at its heart, an intriguing story with very well drawn characters, and a cracking good murder mystery is unique. I found it hard to put down, and it stole time from my own work! The passage where the lecturer tells the girls to make the most of their opportunity to change the world, rather than bemoan the lack of men, struck a real chord with me and made me see a different angle to the work I am doing at the moment on the history of my old school and the remarkable women (contemporaries of Evelyn Gifford)who changed my life and those of countless others. Coincidentally, I am reading and watching South Riding- with a heroine who reminds me of CF Mitchell, my old head teacher.

    Connie Jensen, Trifolium Books UK

  2. Connie,
    Thanks so much for taking the trouble to be in touch, and I'm so glad you enjoyed the book, and its many different strands. I agree about the parallels with South Riding - I used Holtby/Vera Brittain biography and writing in my research. I suspect many remarkable women were formed by the war and post-war years, but at a great cost.