This Saturday, October 16, I will be at the Frinton Literary Festival. I’ll be the guest speaker at the Philomena Dwyer Literary Lunch – hope to see you there!
DAUGHTER OF THE HOUSE and THE ILLUSIONISTS are available in paperback – £7.99.
BORDER CROSSING, the story of the Peking to Paris rally as enjoyed (endured?) by my co-driver Phil Bowen and me, is available as an e-book or in PoD.
All my novels are or will soon be available in print under the same imprint, and in e-book as well. Long may books continue to be read and enjoyed – in whatever form.
The Illusionists, The Kashmir Shawl, Constance, Daughter of the House and Iris and Ruby are also now available in the US, published by Overlook Press and available on Amazon.com. Look out for Lovers and Newcomers, coming very soon.
Other titles will be released over the coming months.
I’m currently reading your book “Constance” and was wondering where you get the names for your characters. The mother is called “Hilda”, on page 113 “Hilda answered a telephone call that wasn’t from her sister Sadie”. My mother’s name was Sadie, and I though isn’t that coincidence. Then I read the next sentence, “It was Mrs Polanski, the piano teacher.” My mother and aunt’s surname was Polanski. I just thought that was a conindince too far. Do you just pull the names out of thin area, or are they something you have come across in your research?
By the way I’m thoroughly enjoying the book; I have read others over the years and will certainly be reading more in the future.
Hi Claire, glad to hear to you are enjoying the books.
That is quite a coincidence. But it is only that – I pick names out of the air, with no real thought for where they come from.
In this case ‘Hilda’ and ‘Sadie’ just sounded of their time and not too modern, and we once had a neighbour called Mrs Polanski so I think that’s where that one came from.
For central characters I try to choose a name that I like, because I have to live with it for months, and also – crucially – is easy to type. Hence Nina, Dinah, Alice etc. I had an Olivia once and it was a nightmare – I kept getting Oliva and Olivai and Olaiva. I won’t be going there again! At present I’m with an Eliza and a Nancy. Eliza was going to be Grace, until I read a review of someone else’s novel along the lines of ‘the heroine is named Grace, of course, as in every other piece of historical fiction’, so I did an about turn on that! I was at school with a great girl called Eliza, so it’s a happy association.
It’s all pretty random, but naming names is one of the fun bits.
Hello Rosie, After reading “The Kashmir Shawl”, which I just bought in Waterstones a few weeks before going away to the F.East on holiday (we used to live in Singapore in the late ’80’s), this February, I was drawn to it because I had a great short holiday in Kashmir, staying on a houseboat on Lake Dal, just before returning to the UK in 1987 – it all came back to me and the memories are very clear – when I finally pass away, my 2 daughters might not know that the tiny silk rug I bought came from Srinagar.. I also went to boarding school in N.Wales and now I see that you were at Howell’s as well (but a bit later..) – both my Mum, and 2 aunts were there under Miss Robinson as head – mine was Mollie K Stone and Nerys Kerfoot Hughes (one of the liver birds) was just a year older – I still keep in touch with one friend and am meeting up with her in a few weeks – we had a reunion of our year in London last March – I was in St.Pat’s house – I have driven into the school occasionally, when my husband and I are out walking but there is never anyone about as it is the weekend. So there are some strange coincidences.. Such is life…. Diana Payne
I’m drinking up my second of your fab novels (can’t put it down) & want to follow you on Twitter but can’t find you. Please share your Twitterness. Merci
No Twitteration, I’m afraid, Clare. There’s only so much one can do in the day!
I’m so pleased you like the novels.
Can you please tell me why your books are not available in India easily…
I have only read 4 of your previous titles (Constance, Iris & Ruby, Sun at Midnight & The Kashmir Shawl. Couldn’t find the rest anywhere! Not even in any on-line shopping portal…! Can you please do something about it, so that your readers in India can also get the access to read your stories.
I will look into this Dee and get back to you.
Hello again Dee. I have now spoken to my publishers’ overseas sales department about your difficulties in finding the books. If you could let us know your exact location, a representative of HarperCollins India (based in Delhi) will be glad to help directly. More broadly, Flipkart.com is your premier online retailer and the physical book listings are certainly hard to follow, although e-books come up more readily. Moves are now afoot to improve my Flipkart listings, so I hope it will soon be much easier to find what you want. I hope this helps – do let me know, and thank you so much for your interest in my novels.
Hi Rosie, it was such a pleasant surprise to hear from you again!! I am residing in Calcutta, India presently. I am glad to know that e-book version of your stories are more easily available. I will definitely try them. You won’t believe I came across one of your book (Constance) two & a half year ago accidentally for the first time and since then became such a great admirer of your writing. Thank you so much once again for all the trouble. Love & Best wishes, Dee.
OK Dee, I’ll let the publishers know you are in Calcutta and see what they have to suggest about physical books. In the meantime, I suggest e-books from Flipkart.com
Good luck and best wishes.
Love all your books avid fan read on my nexus tablet more to read what a life you live and share with books!
I have just finished The Kashmir Shawl and was fascinated by it and the description of Kashmir. I loved the book and really could not put it down. However as I did not know what the Indian words were, I had to make an educated guess. Have you ever thought of putting a glossary of the Indian words at the beginning of the book? Just a suggestion. Looking forward to reading more of your books.
Hi – so pleased to hear you enjoyed the book, Janice. It’s quite difficult to strike a balance between over-explaining terms and being baffling, and so your suggestion of a glossary is a really good one. I’ll try to arrange this if there is a new edition.
Hi I have just finished reading The Potter’s House and am so utterly confused by the ending. Did Kirsty die in the earthquake – was Andreas an angel – if she was a ghost what was the point of her being on the island. I loved the book almost to the end when I could just not figure out what was going on.
Shirley, apologies for my slow reply to your question and thank you for getting in touch. I’m sorry the story confused you, and here goes with the explanation.
Andreas was indeed Kitty’s guardian angel, and his gift was to show her the life she would have had if she hadn’t suffered a life-changing event in her early years (her brother’s death. remember the falling statue?). SO: yes, she did die in the earthquake. And Olivia’s life is her alternative existence. In other words, Kitty and Olivia are the same person, and they almost merge or cross over on Halemni. Hence the unease surrounding the potter’s house. And the way that Kitty can hear the ghosts of children in the old village is explained because she is of their world, not the corporeal one.
I do hope this now makes sense. All the indications are there in the text, but they are perhaps not as underlined as they should be because you are not the first reader to be confused.
Enjoy your reading.
Hi rosie. I too read the Potters house.I loved it in particular as I have not long been home from a lovely greek island holiday. I just couldn t wait to get to the end wishing all along it would be a happy one. I did think that maybe kitty had died in the earthquake as she alone could see the spirits on the hills. Never thought of Andreas as a guardian angel.I just cannot believe I had the book over a year ago and it was my second go at reading it.I am passing it to my daughter now and I hopes she enjoys it as much as myself.Have also read The kasmir shawl. Fabulous ….
Hello Christine, thank you for getting in touch. Maybe I should have given one or two more clues in The Potter’s House… but everything is there, really.
Hope your daughter likes is too.
I was also confused, having not been able to put the book down since having taken it from the free loans shelf at a Menorcan hotel!! So…..how did Kitty have ‘relations’ with Max if she was in spirit????
Dear Rosie, I have also just finished The Potters House and loved it, and also am chewing on the ‘logistics’ of it. Again SPOILER ALERT!
Am I right, only one of their life stories can exist in the same world? So when you say almost at the end ‘ In a parallel place ‘ Peter and Lisa arrive at a country hotel etc, that Peter and Lisa and indeed Cary can only exist in a parallel world to that of Olivia and her family? Again I loved the honesty and detail of the relationships . Great read, thanks
Sorry, can’t quite leave it there, I mean both a ghost and anyway a parallel world?
Will there be a sequel to Daughter Of The House? It was a great book.
Hello Janet, thank you for your message and apologies for such a late response. I have been away in Central America, just travelling although there are always ideas along the way. Without wanting to set up a spoiler, could you think of the book as two different stories about the same woman, Kitty/Olivia? One life was derailed by any early tragedy, the other progressed happily. What happens on Halemni is an interval in time and space where the two individuals’ paths cross – and it is not necessarily the ‘real’ world. Does that help at all??
Never say never, Janet. There is a project in outline, set in Corsica during WWII, but….
times have changed, and so has the book business, and I am a busy and committed granny to 3 little girls right now. But there are many years of potential work ahead.
I am so pleased to hear that you enjoyed Daughter of the House.
I’ve just read 4 of your books back to back after starting with Sun at Midnight and am half way through The Kashmir Shawl.
Sun at Midnight
Iris & Ruby
The Kashmir Shawl
Daughter of the House
have now ordered Moon Island, The Potters House and Sunrise.
As an avid reader of 60 odd years I don’t know why I’m so late to the party but am SO glad I came. Your books make one want to visit the places in them ( well maybe not Antarctica ) and the characters so well drawn.
Thank you for many hours of thrilling reading.
Hello Louise, thank you so much for this kind message and I am delighted to hear that you have discovered my books AND are enjoying them! Back to back reading is a real compliment.
I’m not writing these days (mostly because I have 4 little granddaughters all under 8 years, and they are wonderfully entertaining and time-consuming. I worked very hard when my own children were tiny and I feel that I missed a lot of their growing up. This feels like the most amazing second chance! What a conundrum life is for working mothers). So it’s doubly pleasing to know that my books are still out there, and even finding new readers. If you can, and are willing, do recommend them to others?
This is to wish you the best, and enjoy your reading!